The Southern France Youth Institute, Inc. (SFYI) is a relatively new coed program for a maximum of 10 students per semester, ages 16-20, and either in the 11th or 12th grade of high school, seeking a semester abroad or taking a year off between high school and college. The campus is located in the historical village of Villeseque de Corbieres in the heart of the Cathare or castle country region of Southern France.
Program Director, Nicole Fons, PsyD, MFT, founded the school on the basis that academic, social and personal successes encourage a greater sense of self-confidence and self-worth. The goal is to provide American students with the opportunity to face and overcome the challenges of living in a foreign country, learning the language and adapting to a new cultural experience. SFYI accepts only those students willing to attend the program and who do not have a history of serious emotional or behavioral problems.
With a six to eight week waiting period for Visa’s, students must enroll by October 1 for the spring semester and June 1 for the fall semester. The academic component consists of two fully accredited independent study high school and college programs offered through a partnership with the University of Missouri Center for Distance Learning and Independent Study, www.cdis.missouri.edu, that includes 180 courses, and Laurel Springs School, www.laurelsprings.com, in Ojai, CA, with a full online and text based curriculum for high school students.
Students must complete their coursework for high school graduation and may choose from a wide range of honors classes in math, English, social studies and science. Students comfortable with the French language can attend a local French high school and audit a portion of a course. SFYI provides tutoring, mentoring, individual counseling and the appropriate supervision. All teachers, stateside and in France, are fully certified and offer a 1:3 staff to student ratio.
The students participate in musical, athletic, social and artistic activities with local community organizations. Physical fitness and nutrition are also key aspects to the program. While at SFYI, the students will travel to Spain, Italy and throughout France to learn about the culture, art and music.