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Langues et cultures

Language learning is not only a recognized necessity for higher education: it is a key vehicle for several soft skills, and is now also seen by neuroscientists as a major intellectual catalyst! The small Languages Department therefore plays an active part in the life of the school, and more broadly, the Institut. A team of more than 20 teachers provides the teaching for all three years of the Engineering and the Masters’ curriculum, in 7 languages, on 3 campuses. In practice, this is organized as follows: 

A lively class

Languages : gateway to international communication

Main foreign language: English (LV1) .

As the inescapable means of communication within all the scientific community, English has to be mastered thoroughly both in speaking and in writing. Thus it looms large on the curriculum and proficiency has to be certified by the end of the 3 years, usually by means of a TOEIC certification (785 pass mark).

In the first year, an additional course is offered to those students who have done little English and who need to catch up. As fluency must be achieved by the end of the 1st year, the second year approach is more professional, concentrating on job applications, case studies, intercultural issues and special subjects, like scientific writing or ethics. For the more advanced groups, innovative approaches such as creative writing can be experimented with, especially through Paris-Saclay-University languages platforms, namely AGORA.

The third year is organized around special subjects and certification. Proficiency is expected by that stage and the course is extended to some students in the University Paris-Saclay Master’s courses. 

Second foreign language: German, Spanish, Japanese Chinese or Swedish (LV2)

Because international experience through prolonged periods abroad is a necessary part of the engineering course, and for students’ outlook to be rich and diversified, learning a second language is required, except for Apprentices. Once chosen, the subject is kept for two years, enabling even beginners to achieve a fair level of fluency. Students going to Bordeaux and St Etienne are offered the possibility of a language change, the choice being broader on those campuses, where agreements with Télécom Saint Etienne and Université Bordeaux Montaigne materialize cooperation in the second languages.

French as a Foreign Language (FLE)

For international students, French is offered, at two levels; initiation/ elementary, upper intermediate and advanced. As well as being a requirement of the Erasmus programme, this is important for our international students – or researchers – to deepen their understanding of both language and culture. As far as possible, outings are organized, sometimes in conjunction with the Paris-Saclay cultural programme.

The course is open to all within the establishment: the idea is to communicate, share and expand horizons.

One school, three campuses 

The curriculum is coordinated across all three sites. In English, teaching follows a similar pattern and the assessment rules are the same, namely compulsory attendance and continuous assessment. In second languages, the school works with partners and coordination is ensured across the team.  Everything is done to encourage students to make the most of this opportunity to learn or perfect languages – thus opening their mind to the world.

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