What is the OIB course of study?

There are only a few OIB sections in France, and Magendie's is the only one in the South West of France (to have more information on lycée Magendie, click here). It is also the only public one in France, which means it is free.

The OIB course is a three year course of study which offers a bilingual education to the students. At the end of the three years, the students sit a special baccaulauréat : the Baccalauréat à Option Internationale (BOI or OIB).

The OIB bac does not have a different status from a "regular" bac, since OIB is just considered as an option. Therefore, it can be combined with the ES (economic and sociological), L (literary) and S (scientific) "series".

Nevertheless, it does present important differences:
- There are no regular English and History & Geography tests.
- In return, the students sit four other tests : two for "Langue & Littérature - Américain " (American Language and Literature), and two others for "Histoire & Géographie - Américain" (American History and Geography), a written exam and an oral for each of these two subjects.

The syllabus which the students are responsible for at the bac is presented below.

What is the OIB curriculum?

Two main subjects are at the center of the OIB course : Literature and History. They replace the classes of English and French History the students normally have. However, OIB students also attend to regular French History classes, which enables them to have a dual perspective on this subject.
Therefore, the schedule of an OIB student is heavier than that of a "regular" student, with approximately eight hours in English, i.e. six more than a lycée student normally has. So in spite of all the advantages OIB offers, an OIB student should not be allergic to work!

In literature, a varied set of works is studied. Some are written by American novelists or poets (Thoreau, Frost, Tennesse Williams, Hemingway, Arthur Miller...) and some are not (Sophocles, Shakespeare, Conrad, Kafka, Beckett...). Literature studies open the students to Anglo-Saxon culture (but not only!) and in that sense it is a good complement to french literature (in which almost exclusively french writers are seen).

Again in History, a lot of American history is studied, but not only. Some geography is taught as well, but the emphasis is put on history.
Learning History both from a french point of view (in regular classes) and from an American point of view (in OIB classes) enables the students to develop their critical sense. Moreover, modern history is studied in much greater detail in OIB than in regular classes.

What is the difference between the OIB section and the European section?

A few points make these two sections quite different, so you should be attentive to these if you are not sure which of the two is more suitable for you :

- The European section is a good alternative to OIB for students who are not bilingual but who have a very good level in English and want to improve it. Subsequently, the OIB section is more suitable for native speakers than the Euro section. At the same time, the OIB section is not exclusively intended for native speakers.

- In OIB, English is not studied as an end so much as it is in the Euro section. English language is not taught as a foreign language in OIB (although there are indeed a few hours of grammar and language), it is more used as a means to study Literature and History.

- The Baccalauréat à Option Internationale (OIB) and the Baccalauréat à Mention Européenne are quite different. Unlike OIB students (see above), the Euro candidates do not sit specific tests with important coefficients. The obtaining of the Mention Européenne (European honour) depends on the candidates' grades in the English test.

Who are OIB teachers?

Most OIB teachers are American (or have lived in the United States) and graduated both in the States and in France. They are bilingual but the classes are taught exclusively in english.

OIB teachers teach under the aegis of l'Éducation Nationale. Although some of them are entirely devoted to OIB classes, most of them also give regular english classes in the lycée or in "classe préparatoire" (in lycée Montaigne concerning Magendie's OIB teachers).

Here are some pictures of OIB teachers in Magendie, commented on by OIB students :
Mrs Canadas, head of the OIB section and literature teacher

Mr Raskauskas, history teacher (dancing with Mrs Bernard, grammar teacher)

Mrs Sullivan, literature teacher

Mrs Abéla, history and geography teacher

Who are OIB students?

The OIB section applies to students who have a great motivation, and who are either english native speakers or french students who have an excellent level in english.

Tuition in OIB in Magendie is free, but it a test must be taken to determine whether the candidates have a sufficient level in english to keep up with OIB studies (except for those who already followed an OIB section previously).
The test consists of two essays of 400 words each (you will find the entrance tests dates on Magendie website).
Unfortunately the places in OIB are limited, and if the outcome of the test is positive the candidates have to undergo a second selection based on the students' past year grades.

The atmosphere in OIB classes is always very pleasant and beneficial for the students. The cohesion of the class is ensured by a constant will to be faithful to the "OIB spirit"!
In OIB, learning is associated with having fun. All along the year, the students organize different parties (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas...) which are part of the OIB spirit. Going in OIB is sure a guarantee to have three years of great fun in high school!

Why OIB?

For all the reasons given above! To put it in a nutshell, OIB is certainly a way to improve one's level in english, but above all OIB means an opening to a different way of thinking, a different culture, as well as an opening to prestigious British and American universities.
That's what OIB is, an opening. It is also an opening to classmates from all over the world and an invitation to enjoy as much as possible one of the most important periods in life!

Here is the "testimony" of an OIB student:

"Three years in OIB are three exhausting years, but the experience is really worth it! The OIB course offers the opportunity to study in a unique environment. The existence of an "OIB spirit", which I didn’t believe in before entering the section, is absolutely undeniable.

If I had to describe that spirit, I would say it is a mix of infinite tolerance, a thirst for knowledge, a hunger to have the most fun, and sometimes of a bit of madness!

The result is something so powerful the students get to hit off right away. You should see them in class, working altogether, see them at parties, laughing altogether. It is much more than being just classmates.

I really loved those years, and I wish the new students the best times in OIB.

C. B.

For additionnal information on the OIB section in France, the OIB bac and the results of OIB students at the bac, click here.

For additionnal information on OIB subjects and the prospects of the OIB section, click here.

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