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CIEE: Paris, France - Contemporary French Studies Program
Paris, France
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Program Dates &
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Restrictions: CU applicants only
Fact Sheet:
 Lang. of Instruction:
English, French
 Lang. Courses Offered:
 Program Type:
Direct Enrollment
 Minimum GPA:
Housing: Homestay
 A&S Approved?:
Fields of Instruction: Anthropology, Architecture, Art History, Communication, Cultural Studies, Education, Film Studies, French Studies, Government (Political Science), History, Philosophy, Sociology, Theology
 Class Rank:
Study Abroad Advisor : Dr. Kristen Grace
Program Description:


The promise of beauty, glamour, luxury and taste – countless artists and scholars have been allured and inspired by Paris. And now it’s your turn.

Study abroad in Paris and you’ll achieve substantial, measurable improvement in French language skills and as well as a clear understanding of the political, social, and cultural complexity that characterizes contemporary France. A unique two-track program offers quality academic content for both low-intermediate and high-intermediate students, meaning in Paris, there’s a program to fit your particular interests and abilities.

In Paris you will:

  • Improve your French and discover Paris and contemporary French society in a program designed for  the intermediate student
  • A two-track program with a broad range of quality CIEE content courses in French for the high-intermediate student and in English for the low-intermediate student
  • Share housing with Parisians,  volunteer with French youth, dialog with French students
  • Practicum classes bring you into contact with French society
  • Audit a class at the Université de Paris if you meet the qualifications
The CIEE Difference


CIEE study abroad in Paris offers you a two-track academic program with a broad range of courses in French for the high-intermediate student, and in English for the low-intermediate student. That means that regardless of your major, interests and abilities, you’ll enjoy a program in Paris that is both challenging and stimulating .

Practicum classes for high-level students involve assistant teaching in French schools and volunteering with low-income French youth. Students with appropriate language skills may also have the opportunity to audit a course at the French University.


Extracurricular activities and group excursions are organized throughout the semester. Explore  neighborhood and take bike tours, and attend exhibits, film festivals, music and dance performances, and lectures. In addition to outings within Paris, there day and weekend trips to areas of interest in and around the city.


Total recommended credit for the semester is 15–17 semester/22.5–25.5 quarter hours and for the academic year 30–32 semester/45–48 quarter hours.

Recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course, unless otherwise indicated.

Program Requirements

Language in Context

Students take two required language courses (Grammar Intermediate I or II and Conversation Intermediate I or II) and three CIEE English-taught content courses. There will also be “Language Through Content” classes available: that is, thematic classes in French adapted to the students’ level for which French language credit is recommended.

Language and Culture

Students take two required language courses (Grammar Intermediate III and Conversation Intermediate III) and three CIEE French-taught content courses. Students with appropriate language skills may audit a course at the French University.

Participation in conversation exchange with French students is required for all study abroad students.

About Paris

Paris, France’s capital, is a major world metropolis. The Seine River traverses the city; its waterways, quays, and bridges are major thoroughfares, and also ways to see the city’s most famous monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum, and the Notre Dame cathedral. The city is known for its cafés (one for every 200 inhabitants); its parks (Bois de Boulougne, Jardin de Luxembourg, Bois de Vincennes); its street life and markets; and as a center for culture, art, fashion, gastronomy, and intellectual life.

Where You’ll Study

The CIEE Study Center in Paris, known as the Paris Center for Critical Studies, is on the rue du Sentier in the lively, central Sentier neighborhood, in the 2nd arrondissement. The Center is less than a minute away from the Grands Boulevards, a 10-minute walk to the Palais Royal, and a 15-minute walk to the Louvre. Courses taught by CIEE-hired faculty take place in the Center. Students auditing classes at the Université de Paris will do so at either the Université de Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle, a 30-minute bus-ride away, or at the new Grands Moulins campus of the Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7).

Housing & Meals

All study abroad students live with French people. CIEE provides detailed information on site and facilitates contact between the students and their French hosts. Typically, the student has his or her own furnished room and shares kitchen, bathroom, and living areas. At least once a week, the student dines with the French host or host family. The cost of this housing placement, including the rent, renter’s insurance, daily breakfast, and one dinner a week, are included in the program fee. Students who wish to have more meals provided by their French host arrange to remunerate the host directly. All other meals are the responsibility of the student.

Breakfast and some other meals, including a welcome dinner and group lunches, are also provided during the orientation period. Most meals during CIEE-led excursions are also provided as part of the CIEE program.

Academic Program

The Contemporary French Studies (CFS) program, which began in 1999, offers strong French language instruction and a broad range of French-taught and English-taught courses about contemporary France.
Students with strong language skills have the option to audit classes at the Université de Paris.

The study abroad program accommodates students from low-intermediate to high-intermediate French, and with varying majors.

Students participating in the Contemporary French studies choose between two tracks:

Language in Context

  • Prerequisite: 2 prior semesters of college-level French or the equivalent.
  • This track offers a wide range of English-taught courses and several language-through-content courses.
  • Students take two required language courses and three content courses.
  • Students in this track may take Intercultural Communication which includes joint classes with French students and which draws on many of the same techniques and practices as the CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning.
Language and Culture
  • Prerequisite: 3-4 prior semesters of college-level French or the equivalent.
  • French-taught courses at the high intermediate level.
  • Students take two required language courses and three CIEE French-taught content courses.
  • Students on this track can take the Seminar on Living and Learning offered in French.
  • Practicum classes involve assistant teaching in French schools and volunteering with low-income French youth.
  • Students with appropriate language skills may audit a course at the French University.
Courses use a variety of materials—texts, both literary and philosophical; film; art; the educational system; and the architecture of the city itself—considered in the context of society and culture. Contemporary social issues are discussed in courses about politics, Francophone cultures, and Muslim communities in Europe. Many courses include outings, whether to observe and learn about the streets and neighborhoods of the city, or participate in conferences, classes, and debates in French educational institutions.

Academic Culture

French language study begins with an intensive week-long program. Following this, French language classes meet twice a week. Language classes have a maximum of twelve students. Tutoring and speech therapy sessions are available for students with demonstrated need. Language instruction uses a variety of materials (newspapers, magazines, films, and videos), and classes are taught entirely in French.
Content courses typically meet twice a week for 1.5 hours per session, or once a week for 3 hours per session. Film courses entail an additional two-hour film screening to prepare for class discussions. Group screenings are organized.

Study abroad students who wish to audit a class at the Université de Paris must also take a required CIEE class, the Workshop on French Academic Writing and Reasoning, designed to facilitate students’ understanding of French academic culture. At the Université de Paris, French students take a prescribed set of courses which does not allow for many electives; they specialize in a particular discipline and are expected to acquire in-depth knowledge very early in their academic career. French students are expected to be self-motivated, to analyze the professor’s presentations, to delve into the bibliography, and judge the important aspects of the reading. This is in contrast to the U.S. educational system where students are expected to express their opinions, and are given very precise guidelines about what is expected of them in terms of readings and homework. Teacher-student relations tend to be more hierarchical and formal in France than in the U.S.

Nature of Classes

CIEE classes are with CIEE students only. University of Paris classes are with French students.

CIEE Community Language Commitment

CIEE staff speak French with students except where special circumstances merit an exception. Students in each CFS track must sign a language pledge adapted to their level.

Grading System

Some CIEE professors assign letter grades according to the U.S. system, and others prefer to use a French grading scale of zero to 20, with a nine considered a passing grade for CIEE students (as opposed to a 10 in the French system). The resident director converts all final grades into U.S. letter grades according to a CIEE-approved conversion chart.

Language of Instruction



Courses are taught by faculty from a range of Paris institutions, and specialists in their respective fields


Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Approx. Start Approx. End
Spring 2015 09/15/2014** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Programs may fill long before their final deadline. * Recommendation--For SPRING: APPLY in MAY to study abroad the following spring. For FALL/YEAR: APPLY in DECEMBER. Later applications are always welcome, but colleges may need time to process your approval.