BSC Office of Communications

News from the Hilltop

April 5, 2010

Birmingham-Southern College Sklenar Center integrates study abroad for French majors

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Faculty at Birmingham-Southern College, in conjunction with the Sklenar Center for International Programs, has announced the integration of a semester study abroad for all French majors beginning this fall. Students will study at the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland, one of the BSC partner institutions in Europe, during the fall of their junior year.

The semester-long study abroad, which will now be required for all French majors at BSC and recommended for French minors, is made possible through a streamlined application process and no additional cost for tuition and fees. Students will enroll in three courses of their choice, and the courses must be taught in French. Students will have a much larger selection of courses than those offered as electives on campus at BSC.

“In order to truly learn a foreign language, one must at some point immerse in it,” said Dominique Linchet, professor of French at BSC. “We are making sure that our students have this opportunity.”

The Ellie and Herb Sklenar Center for International Programs at Birmingham-Southern, named in honor of the Birmingham businessman and civic leader and his wife, Ellie, for their longtime support of study abroad at the college, was officially dedicated in a campus ceremony last year. Herb Sklenar is retired chair and chief executive officer of Vulcan Materials Co. He is a current member and past chair of the BSC Board of Trustees.

The Sklenar Center offers study/travel opportunities in all regions of the world, including some 14 exchange or partnership programs with colleges and universities in 13 foreign countries. All BSC students are strongly encouraged to study abroad during their four-year academic careers. The center also advises the college's growing international student population.

According to Linchet, the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland is one of the best institutions of higher learning in Europe. With 110 nationalities represented on its campus, it is also one of the most cosmopolitan European universities. The town of Fribourg is bilingual French and German, and much of its architecture dates back to the middle ages.

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