Experiential Learning

Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and meaningful parts of your college experience, especially when it’s closely integrated with your on-campus studies. Your path to proficiency in any foreign language and culture is incomplete without putting what you’ve learned to practice in an authentic, immersive setting—whether for six weeks, a semester, or an entire academic year.

The Department of French & Italian has run programs in France and Italy for decades, and have expanded our offerings in recent years as Italy and France have steadily risen to the top of “Most Popular Study Abroad Destination” lists. Beginners in Italian may opt to spend six summer-term weeks in Rome or a spring semester in Florence. French students have an equally broad range of Pitt-developed summer programs to choose from: our flagship program in Nantes, France; a professional skills program in Paris, and an intermediate program closer to home in Québec, Canada. A semester-long program in Lyon, France is in the works.

If a non-Pitt program is better-suited to your needs, the French and Italian faculty have many years of experience with semester- and year-long programs. For your reference, we’ve compiled a list of recommended programs in Italy and the francophone world, but our advisors would love to meet with you to discuss options, selection priorities, and tips on how to fit it all into your time at Pitt. Click through to French- or Italian-program pages to find out more, and begin your journey today.

Internships in Pittsburgh and Abroad

Internships can help students actively engage with their fields of study, explore careers and professions, and make important intellectual and community connections. The Department of French & Italian regularly sponsors numerous internships around the Pittsburgh community relating to the fields of language education (FL and ESL), public history, translation/interpretation, government work, and cultural institutions. French and Italian majors often intern at local high schools. The Pitt in Florence program (as well as the Global Business Institute program through the CBA) and the International Internship Program in Paris offer students the possibility to apply their language and culture skills in professional settings abroad in a wide variety of fields.

Undergraduate Research

One of most valuable and unique features of a university such as Pitt is its exciting research environment. Students here have easy access to and involvement in faculty research, both as a mode of apprenticeship and understanding about the discipline of literary, linguistic, and  cultural studies, and (in later stages) as a mode of independent exploration and learning. A major advantage of being at a research university like Pitt is that you can work with leaders in their field on research projects. View our exhaustive list of Pitt resources to help you formalize this invaluable exposure to faculty research, obtain university credit and, in many cases, secure financial support. Grant funding is often available for projects. Consult with our advisors for help on how to begin the research process. 

Undergraduate Teaching Assistantships (UTA)

Qualified undergraduates are able to TA alongside a professor in a course they complete. This includes for courses in the language program and courses at the intermediate level. Students work under close supervision of their mentor to prepare lessons, lead small-group discussions, and mentor other students. Interested students should contact a professor with whom they have worked or talk to the undergraduate advisor who can facilitate a match. 

Testimonials from UTAs

"This semester, I was a TA for FR0221, 'Reading French: Literature, Media, Culture.' One of the most important aspects of this UTAship for me was the opportunity to see whether I would like to pursue teaching in the future. I gained a greater understanding of what it means to create assignments and conduct class discussions, and I realized just how difficult that can be! It also provided me with an opportunity to speak in French to students of different levels. I am planning to apply for the TAPIF program [to teach English in France], and this experience as a UTA allows me to improve my application, and it gives me a bit of assurance that if I were to be accepted, I would enjoy teaching. I am so very grateful for the chance to work closely with my professor, Professor Kaliane Ung, who gave me so much support in my studies and so many opportunities to contribute."

-Ana Eberts, French major