The United States Military Academy (USMA) best known as West Point is one of the most prestigious Army bases and academies in the world. It has been preparing students for military careers for over two centuries. Since 2006, cadets from West Point have been visiting the ILCF in Lyon for an intensive program to improve their French language skills.
This semester, six third-year students from West Point joined us. They have one year of training left before becoming officers.
A custom-made course
Here in Lyon, they follow intensive French courses (20 hours per week) with other ILCF students from over 70 countries. In order to improve immersion, they live in a homestay selected by UCLy’s housing department. As expected for future soldiers, the cadets also learn military French. This course, French for Specific Purposes, is taught by Stéphanie Rabin, Vice-Director of the ILCF.
The classes are adapted to the needs of the young soldiers' internship and are always prepared with professionals Stéphanie Rabin has been working alongside active officers to create the curriculum and adapt her teaching methods. This provides a lot of added value for our guests. After these classes, the students are better able to create close links with French soldiers and discover their traditions, values, and know-how.
Classes and field training
While in France, the USMA cadet program does not end with their Classes in UCLy. Since 2009, we have worked to allow students to acquire valuable experience alongside the French Army. The program includes official meetings with French soldiers as well as periods of immersion within French units, thanks to our collaboration with the General Staff of the Lyon Defense Zone.
Each cadet in training at our school is given the opportunity to train for a week in an elite regiment. This year, they are integrated into the 1st Spahis Regiment in Valence, the 7th Battalion of mountain infantrymen in Varces and the 92nd Infantry Regiment in Clermont-Ferrand.
A complete experience
In addition to this training program, our students have been invited to military events, such as visits to places of remembrance, conferences or ceremonies. They have visited the Army Medical School and the Mont Verdun Air Force Base. Earlier this month, they represented their country during a medal presentation ceremony to two French officers who distinguished themselves in Iraq alongside American forces. They will be attending the commemoration of the end of World War 2 in Europe, V-E Day, on the 8th of May.
At the initiative of the communication unit of the Military Governor of Lyon, three of the six students were received by news website Lyon Demain, to talk about their experience in France.