Language students will be learning the realities of business French by crossing the Channel to set up their own company.
Groups of six would-be entrepreneurs will visit estate agencies, other firms and shopping centres before promoting an imaginary business at a trade fair.
The week in Caen, Normandy, is a stand-alone Open University course, Entreprise: French for Business, which will benefit those wanting to develop their language skills for the world of commerce. The course aims to give its students an understanding of the world and culture of business in France and provide opportunities for contact with French business people.
"The students will work together through the week to develop their company," said course co-ordinator Vivien Bjork. "We will include at least a half-day with a French firm and the course will end with them staging an exhibition for a trade fair."
Those taking part are expected to have a reasonable knowledge of French, preferably to a good GCSE standard, and will need to be able to understand the gist of articles in non-technical newspapers as well as television and radio news items.
"It's not a course for beginners in French, but at the same time students won't necessarily have to be fluent," said Bjork. Preparatory work will assess students' language skills before their residential week, which will take place in July next year.
"Our tutors are experts in teaching languages rather than in business, management or financial studies, but we shall also be taking advantage of the expertise of Caen University students who are preparing a masters degree or PhD in such studies, and asking them to assist occasionally," said Bjork.
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