Applied Foreign Languages (LEA)

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The rationale of the Department of Applied Foreign Languages, Langues Etrangères Appliquées (LEA) in French, is to prepare talented students for careers in international business through a double qualification in languages and in management. Currently, the LEA department offers six languages: Arabic, English, German, Italian, Spanish, and French, the latter being the main language of instruction for the bachelor.

All degrees are delivered by Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4) and are exactly the same as those in Paris. Thanks to the vast network of corporate associates that LEA has cultivated locally, every year around 50 internships at various organisations are proposed to students as part of the curriculum and to facilitate their professional insertion.

The LEA Department also cooperates with Language institutes, such as the Goethe Institute, the British Council, foreign embassies such as the Spanish Embassy or the Italian Embassy. Every year, 3 to 4 weeks linguistic internships are organised in Spain (University of Salamanca), Italy (University of Siena) and in Germany (Brême Goethe Institute).

Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi offers an elite international undergraduate programme combining the study of two or more languages (we offer Italian, Arabic, English, German and Spanish) with an in-depth knowledge of the Business techniques in an international economic environment. Mastering several languages simultaneously enables to establish privileged relationships with business partners.

The programme helps students acquire a sound knowledge of the fundamental concepts of management (international marketing, financial management, human resource management, law, etc.) as well as, through courses in languages and civilisations, an intimate understanding of a multicultural environment.

Key objectives and outcomes of the bachelor in Applied Foreign Languages can be summed up as, besides the mastery of three languages (French, English, and one of Arabic, Spanish, German, or Italian):

  • A specific knowledge of the business vocabulary in these three languages in order to understand or edit any business document.
  • An in-depth knowledge of the main concepts and techniques of Management in an international context: Project Management, Financial Accounting and Management, International Marketing, Human Resource Management, International Business and Corporate Strategy, etc..
  • A thorough understanding of international legal issues and documents is nurtured, coupled with the training to think critically and independently analyse social and economic issues.
  • An understanding of the diverse cultural contexts and of their historical backgrounds with a specific emphasis on multi-cultural management.
  • The fundamental skills in Information Technology and in the skills necessary to do applied research and survey work.

Students will also be prepared to sit for language certification examinations such as the IELTS (English, with British Council), DAF (German, with the Goethe Institute), DELE (Spanish, with the Spanish Embassy), CILS (with the University of Siena and with the support of the Italian Embassy).

The Sorbonne Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Foreign Languages: International Business and Languages is awarded after a three-year-course. Students without a satisfactory command of French will start with a one-year intensive course in French as a Foreign Language (FLE).

The first year of the programme focuses predominantly on the learning of two languages the student chooses (one of Arabic, English, German, Italian, or Spanish), complemented by French, Economics and Law, and the option of a forth language or other courses. The following year improves on this with a more direct focus on business uses of language.

Following the trend, the final year develops into a global view of language, law, business, and economics: applying language to critical thinking, socio-economic analysis, cultural diversity, and the historical backgrounds of the geographic regions of each language.

Overall, the programme is divided over three years of study with the equivalent of 60 credits per year (following the European ECTS system).

L1 L2
  • French/communication techniques
  • English & Business Communication
  • Arabic, Spanish, German, or Italian
  • Computer skills
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Geography and civilisations
  • Business French
  • English & Business Communication
  • Business Arabic/Spanish/German/Italian
  • Advanced Computer Skills
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Business French
  • English: International Business & Managing Across Culture
  • Business Arabic/Spanish/German/Italian
  • Financial management (accounting, cost analysis, budgeting, financial resource optimisation)
  • International marketing management
  • International legal issues
  • International Economics
  • Computer-based business simulations


For a more detailed review of the syllabus and a look at the diverse options of elective courses, click here for full descriptions and a comprehensive table in pdf format.

The Bachelor in Applied Foreign Languages welcomes talented students coming from reputed high schools, be they Emirati high schools, French Lycées, the German School or other international schools following the British or the US system, etc. These students need to have good grades in languages or to show an excellent overall profile: apart from English (which is compulsory) and French (the students might have to attend a one year preliminary training in French before joining the programme).

Our graduates find plenty of workforce opportunity, after having excelled at high school and at Sorbonne AD. The double qualification in business techniques and languages, the invaluable experience provided by the corporate internships, the international exposure –notably thanks to the linguistic internships– are especially welcome in international companies based in UAE or in the region. Language careers are also opened to LEA graduates: interpretation, translation, and teaching. Graduates have worked for the United Nations, Etihad, Emirates, Total, and ADNOC, to name a few, most at managerial positions.

Further studies are recommended as the standard progression for bachelor degree, as is the custom in France. Some highlights recommended at PSUAD include the Master in International Business and Language, Master in Banking and Finance, and Teaching French for Arab Speakers. Many students also opt to go abroad, studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, or one of many other institutions (the ECTS facilitates admission in other European universities).

“Every day, there is a new experience on campus, either in class or simply in conversations with other students from different language groups. The intensive one or two-week long course for each curriculum, as well as a small number of students in class force me to immerse myself in my studies. Also, we live on an island where everyone knows everyone. Professors know students. This thorough learning climate surely widens my studies. Instead of a repetitive study in a familiar place, I am pleased to be now studying somewhere different from any other with a new learning atmosphere.”

Ryoma Matsumoto 3rd year student in Applied Foreign Languages

“I wanted a comprehensive education that would open me to the world. Thanks to my education at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, I can work in 4 languages: French, German, English and Arabic. This has been extremely useful and I am now working for the United Nations for development. Thus I can combine my ideals and a very good professional position.”

An Egyptian Bachelor and Master Graduate

“I have always been fond of luxury products and, to some extent, the choice of Sorbonne was for me a choice of ‘academic luxury’ with one of the most prestigious academic brands worldwide. After a Bachelor at Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and Master studies in International Business & Languages, I am now working in one of the most prominent companies of the Luxury sector in the Gulf region. The multilinualism and the cross-cultural  approach of the Bachelor in Applied Foreign Languages-International Business has indeed been an asset.”

Myriam Sbai, a former Bachelor graduate, now working in Chalhoub group

“When I first arrived at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, I wasn’t aware of my full potential nor the opportunities that would unfold before me. With programmes that truly answered my call, I realised that there is so much I can achieve. Through my professors and my courses, I was presented with various options to build my skills: conferences, career fairs, linguistic trips, internships and numerous social activities. All this helped me to start an interesting career that covers various sectors.

I have overcome a lot of enriching challenges, learned about so many other cultures, as well as reconnected with my own. The Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is the place where I met unique, amazing and inspirational people. It offered me an experience that will live with me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

In today’s era of globalisation, efficiency has become a keyword in the search for higher education options. This university’s versatile programmes present the best assets that any student seeking an international career would desire. It’s a prestigious institution that has successfully integrated over 700 years of tradition into a modern setting, with the added beauty of diverse cultures nurtured under one ceiling. A notable contribution to the UAE’s rich multicultural lifestyle, the Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is indeed a bridge between civilisations!”

Amany Elhendy: Applied Foreign Languages (English-German), 2010 graduate