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Immersion Opportunities

Click HERE for an article about the French Cannes Film Maymester.

Immersion in the French & Italian Department

Through Immersion Vanderbilt, students  have the option to have their international immersive experiences and projects recognized on the transcript. Students who are engaged in study abroad, overseas research, overseas internships, and other international opportunities have the potential to transform ideas into action, refine skills, and integrate knowledge with experience.

The French and Italian Departments offer several opportunities for Vanderbilt students to expand the boundaries of campus across the world to engage in immersive opportunities.

Italian Study Abroad Immersive Experience in Siena, Italy

CET Study Abroad in Siena, Italy, provides students with a total immersion in Italian language and culture in a semester-long program that fulfills all the requirements for Immersion (300 hours). (International Pathway)

Study Abroad


Students take an intensive Italian language class (i.e. two semesters of Italian, either at the beginning or intermediate level) and choose between family housing and living with students who attend the University for Foreigners of Siena. Through volunteering activities, community service, and/or interdisciplinary internships, students engage in meaningful relationships with locals and local institutions in an international context. During the semester, students submit biweekly journal entries in Italian commenting on cultural and linguistic observations as well as cross-cultural aspects. Alternatively, students work on a special “Immersion project” based on cross-cultural and cross-linguistic observations with the help of guidelines provided by instructors. Upon returning to campus, students critically reflect on their language learning process, cultural awareness, intercultural competence, and use of Italian in their future. They submit a paper and show their reflections on the experience abroad in a final presentation in front of Italian faculty members.

Jewish and Arab-Muslim Relations (France, North Africa, Israel)

Offered by the Department of French and Italian. (International Pathway, Research Pathway)

On campus, study abroad


There are a variety of faculty-led immersion projects possible that aim at comprehending one of the most entrenched conflicts of our epoch: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students could choose to learn about the conflict through a Maymester faculty-led study tour (10-15 students) or a set of courses including a study-abroad component that addresses a wide-ranging interrogation of the turbulent cohabitation of Jews and Arab-Muslims in France. The purpose would be to understand the rise of terrorism and why France has been the target of more ISIS terrorist attacks than any other country in Europe. Through a study of the history and culture of migration and diaspora between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, an immersion project of this type can focus on the interactions of the specific French and Francophone regions in the Mediterranean basin that are most integral to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict –most notably southern France, the Maghreb, but may also include Israel. Study in Nashville could include courses aimed at the conflict and its history, coupled with a study-abroad component that could include a study-tour of the Mediterranean basis from France (Marseilles) to North Africa (Tangiers) and Israel (Haifa), or be incorporated into the existing study abroad program in one of those areas. Haifa now has a direct-credit program for Vanderbilt students. Successful completion of the immersion project may involve a research paper, website, or other creative project that reflects student learning on the topic (video, blog, journalistic report, etc.).

French or Italian Semester Abroad

Offered by the Department of French and Italian. (International Pathway)

On campus, study abroad


A student may develop a study-abroad immersion project in France (or a Francophone country) or Italy under the guidance of any appropriate faculty member in the department upon completion of the usual prerequisites, if any, in the language of study. The immersion project would require admission to such a program, an approved plan of study while there that meets a specific educational goal (i.e., public health, art, or some other focus) and may involve an internship. Students are required to complete 6 hours of coursework in a study abroad institution and three hours of internship and portfolio production for this opportunity.


If you are interested in French study abroad either as a student who wishes to specialize in French or a student who has no previous experience with French, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Raisa Rexer. Students may go for fall, spring,  or summer.

We also offer programs of study in Italy — in Siena and Florence — during the fall and spring semesters. Please contact Andrea Mirabile for more information.

Click HERE for a Spring 2019 student’s study abroad testimonial.

For additional information contact the Global Education Office.

Maymesters Abroad

Maymesters abroad are regular Vanderbilt courses  taught by Vanderbilt faculty in another country. They are typically three to four weeks in length, and offered in the month of May. Maymesters offered by the College of Arts and Science are generally announced in November. For more information see  A&S Maymester Abroad Course Listings .

Summer 2020 Maymester programs offered by French and Italian faculty are:

FREN 3230  French Cinema from Paris to Cannes  

MHS 3310:  Comparative Study of Healthcare Systems



For additional information contact
the Global Education Office in the Student Life Building, Suite 115

at 615-343-3139