France: How Does it Work?
Institut Catholique de Paris
Area of Study
French Culture, Political Science
Advanced, High Advanced
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits2
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
"From daily life to the political life, everything you would want to know"
Objective: To discover how life in France operates, by visiting essential functionalities of the country; for example, a courtroom or the Senate.
-From the large political institutions to the various administrations, who does what?
-To be born, live and die in France: the population, French territory, the national budget, political life, work, pastimes, health, education, culture, transportation, etc.
-Written papers: based on field trips, or as commentary to a text; weekly review of course material
-A comparative oral presentation: "How do things function here and in my own country: What are the differences and similarities?" (For example: the education system).
-Comprehensive final exam
(Attendance on the field trips and in the classroom is required; participation factors into the student's grade)
Style of Instruction and Resources:
-Most class periods will center on a visit, or a film/documentary, that illustrates the chosen topic, for example: the town hall.
-Students will review explanatory tables and will be presented with government documents.
-Role playing may be utilized to reinforce certain notions acquired during the visits.
Tentative Weekly Schedule:
Session 1: Presentation of France: The territory; Administrative division; The stages of history.
Session 2: Health: health professions; Social Security and mutuals; prevention.
Session 3: Education and the organization of education: cycles; training ; the diplomas
Session 4: Work: Sectors of Activity; trade unions ; public service ; unemployment
Session 5: Leisure and cultural life: leisure activities; tourism ; The defense of heritage
Session 6: Political France (1): the institutions; powers
Session 7: Political France (2): political parties; the elections
Session 8: France Politics (concluded): A sitting in the Senate
Session 9: Immigration: Historical; Policies; integration
Session 10: Partial Testing + Transport: Automotive; National and local networks; The example of the RATP
Session 11: Justice: litigation, misdemeanors and crimes; The various courts: a sitting in the courthouse.
Session 12: The budget: revenues: taxes; Expenditure: the various budget items
Session 13: Final Test
Session 14: Summary Report: Role Play
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.