Study Abroad

I Learn about our programs and affiliated programs
II. How to obtain a letter of reference
III. How to transfer credits to William & Mary
IV. Obtaining a visa to study abroad


Our programs

William and Mary offers two programs in Montpellier, France:

We also send students to a semester in Paris, Strasbourg or Bruxelles with the I.F.E. This program gives students the opportunity to do research in Francophone Europe while completing an internship.

Students also have the possibility of spending a semester at the Political Institute (I.E.P) of Lille.

Finally, the College awards credit for studies undertaken through study abroad programs at other universities.

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How to ask for a letter of reference  


Think through the application first

Before you approach anyone for a letter of reference, identify the number of people that you will need, and the type of materials that you have to prepare. Doing so helps you figure out what each letter writer's role should be in relation to your application.


Use the application materials to help you choose letter writers

Application materials are your best ally in helping you choose the best letter writers. Some applications, for instance, encourage you to choose individuals who can speak to your writing or teaching abilities; others will ask about your French language skills; others may want to know about your research experience. Take these instructions seriously when choosing a recommender.


Seek a mix of letter writers, and identify their roles for them

Collectively, your letters should reflect a balanced picture. If the person recommending you is expected to comment on a specific point, be sure he or she knows this.


Choose people who know you well, and help them know you better

Avoid abruptly asking someone for a recommendation letter after class, in the hallway, or via email. Instead, make an appointment to discuss whatever you are applying for and the kind of help needed. If possible, give the letter writer some materials that will help him or her write the letter (e.g. your resume, or a draft of an application essay that you have prepared).


Ask your recommenders well in advance of the deadline

Ask for letters a minimum of three weeks before the deadline.  You are asking for a favor and you should respect your recommenders' time and busy schedules.


Respect a "no"

If someone seems to hesitate or says 'no', find another recommender. The person may be inappropriate, too busy, or may not know you well enough to write a strong letter.


Allow the letter to be confidential

On an application form, you will usually be asked to waive your right to see the letter of reference. Do so. The letter will be more convincing to the selection committee.


Provide the letter writer with a deadline and clear instructions on what to do with the letter

Be sure to tell the letter writer to whom the letter is to be addressed.  If the letter is going off campus, give him or her a stamped and addressed envelope. Fill in all the forms as best you can. Provide an exact deadline for the letter's completion, and gently remind the letter writer if necessary (a thank you note works wonders).  Note that for many of the awards administered by the Charles Center, the applicant is required to submit the letters in a sealed envelope along with the rest of the application.  Follow the instructions provided.


Begin to recognize yourself as a professional

When you apply for a job, graduate school, or a scholarship, you are stepping up a rung on a long academic or professional ladder. Act accordingly by taking yourself and your supporters seriously. Articulate specific goals for yourself. Respect and consider any coaching offered.


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How to transfer back to W&M the French & Francophone credits you obtain abroad


To obtain French & Francophone Studies credit at William and Mary for study abroad, you must choose a program affiliated with a French or Francophone university (non-university language programs such as the Alliance Francaise are not acceptable). Students are strongly advised to choose a program with an on-site director to help them with cultural adjustment, selection of courses, and any issues that may arise in daily life. French credit will be awarded only for courses taught in French (You are free to request credit from other W&M departments for English-language courses, but Modern Languages and Literatures takes no responsibility for the outcome) Students who are beyond the level of French 210 or 212 are strongly encouraged to limit the amount of language instruction taken abroad, choosing the majority of their courses in content subjects such as French literature, culture, society, and political institutions; normally a maximum of six credit hours per semester of advanced French language courses will be accepted for William & Mary credit. We strongly recommend immersion programs in which American students take course alongside their French / Francophone counterparts.

Please keep in mind that you are responsible for obtaining pre-approval and post-approval forms (available from a kiosk in front of Washington 210) in order to have your French credits transfer. Completed forms and supporting documentation must be turned in to the Modern Languages and Literatures office (Washington 210). Pre-approval forms allow you to begin to plan your study-abroad experience, but they are not binding. If you have questions or need advice about study abroad in a Francophone country, you should contact Prof. Fauvel or Prof. Kulick.

While you are abroad, be sure to collect the following materials to prepare the transfer process:

  • Syllabus and all course handouts
  • Coursework, notebooks, and assignments
  • Official documentation indicating the number of contact hours
  • Documentation demonstrating that your program was associated with an American and/or a French/Francophone university

You will also be required to present a copy of your William & Mary transcript (from Banner) and a copy of the transcript from the American and/or French/Francophone university

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Obtaining a visa to study abroad


The Reves Center helps with general information about the process of obtaining a visa to study abroad (e.g. info on deadlines, informational websites, etc.). It also provides students with a letter that verifies enrollment.

The student can easily take care of the rest of the process on his/her own. Most of the work is completed on-line at Once an application has been approved, the student can schedule an interview with the French Consulate (usually in D.C. if s/he has a William & Mary address).

American citizens planning on spending 90 days or less in France do not require a special visa.

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