Foreign Language Study: How to Prepare for It?

Foreign Language Study: How to Prepare for It?

Foreign language studies consist of two streams: LLCE (Foreign Languages, Literatures and Civilizations) and LEA (Applied Foreign Languages). Which course to choose and how to prepare well for your first year to succeed?

I. What you need to know before committing to this field

1. LLCE and LEA streams

LLCE and LEA licenses are prepared in 3 years (6 semesters) and validated by obtaining 180 ECTS. Lessons are in the form of lectures (CM) in an amphitheater and tutorials (TD). Some universities choose to award only TDs with smaller numbers than CMs, which should be preferred. Of course, above all speaking a foreign language implies an active participation in the class, it is almost impossible to participate in the CM because of the crowd. At least one internship is planned, usually in L3 at LLCE. It should be prepared in advance to ensure that the focus is on foreign languages.

Some UFRs offer training in regional languages ​​(e.g. Basque, Breton) and languages ​​of indigenous ethnic groups (e.g. Berber) in addition to the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world.

The LLCE course focuses on the study of humanities subjects in the chosen language (English, German, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Russian, etc.) and is intended for students in teaching professions (school teachers, languages ​​in secondary school. ), culture (publishing, translation, cultural management, communication in museums services etc). LLCE graduates are especially valued for their communication and writing skills.

The LEA stream includes the study of two or three foreign languages ​​(English/German, English/Spanish, Spanish/Arabic, etc.). It has a professionalization career with a shorter duration than the LLCE sector and aims to train for a career in international trade, tourism, communication and marketing. Those with an LEA license can go into specialized translation, the legal field, or public relations.

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2. Speak, write and travel

We do not register with an LLCE or LEA to learn one or more languages ​​(although it is possible to do so as an option as an absolute beginner). We do this to study subjects on our own in a foreign language. This means that students gain in-depth knowledge of literature, civilizations, grammar, linguistics, translation, etc. within the cultural domain of the target language. The work to be submitted is in the form of theses, oral presentations and abstract files. Foreign language courses therefore involve extensive reading and the development of intensive and systematic writing skills.

Working in one or more languages ​​implies assimilating their cultures. This is why students from the 2nd year are strongly encouraged to spend a semester or a year abroad through an exchange program as an exchange student (Erasmus), reader or helper.

II. Components of the final year program to be mastered (pre-requisite)

The LLCE and LEA courses offer a busy course programme: around 140 hours in L1 and 120 hours in L2 and L3 (not including internships). They are therefore not intended to offer a remedy. Language centers offer it to students in other disciplines. Therefore, you must fully validate at least level B2 of the Common European Framework for Languages ​​(independent user, advanced level or independent). The goal is to reach the C2 level (experienced user, mastery level) at the end of L3.

A strong public culture is expected as well as an unrelenting curiosity. For example, a student starting an English course needs to know important dates in the history of the English-speaking world (Great Britain, Ireland, USA, Commonwealth), major literary trends, and major lines of current events.

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III. Points to dig into during the summer to start the year off right (go ahead)

The summer before the first year is an excellent opportunity to spend time in the country or countries of the chosen language on the occasion of a cultural visit, a summer job or a pair of jobs.

Perfecting one’s knowledge of the culture or cultures concerned is desirable;

● read a major work in the target language (for example, Raymond Carver’s short stories for future students of English, Calvino’s novel in Italian, etc.);

● Watch movies and series in their original version (use the opportunity to practice without subtitles);

● revising the specialized vocabulary of the humanities;

● Regularly reads foreign newspapers.

Finally, while the memories of the baccalaureate are still fresh, it is a good idea to make sure that the dissertation method is good at the beginning of the academic year.

Useful resources (links, reading tips, etc.)

Common European Framework for Languages ​​(CEFRL)

Erasmus +

Interuniversity Mission for the Coordination of Franco-American Exchanges (MICEFA)

Office of Inter-University Cooperation

Presentation video of an LEA course (University of South Brittany)

A video presentation of a student’s English LLCE course

You must remember

Foreign language courses are intended for those who wish to acquire a strong knowledge in the humanities (literature, civilizations, translation, linguistics, grammar), while deepening the mastery and practice of the language(s) concerned. The choice of LLCE or LEA sector depends on the professional orientation expected at the time of registration. Those intending to work in education and culture prefer to enroll in LLCE training. Those destined for international trade, tourism, communication, marketing, specialized translation or public relations will go on to an LEA training. In both cases, a strong appetite for foreign cultures is required.

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