Spend the spring studying in a diverse and dynamic city. Choose among classes on French culture, society, Islam in France, and art history. Experience French life within and outside academia through coursework, living with a Parisian family, and travel to Provence. In the process, learn to view yourself and the world from a different perspective.

Message from Faculty Director

Sandra Rousseau

Bonjour! My name is Sandra Rousseau and I am enthusiastically inviting you to apply to the Spring 2025 Paris OCS program! 

Paris has had and continues to have a central role in the administrative, cultural, and intellectual life of France and Europe. It’s a city full of contrast and contradictions, which means that it is a challenge to not find something enticing about the city, its history, and its inhabitants.

The Paris OCS program is built around coursework and cultural excursions both in and outside of Paris. The goal is to discover how the centrality of Paris has evolved through time, and how the city has welcomed and refused changes connected to climate change, immigration, race, sexuality, urbanism, etc. Throughout the 10 weeks of our program we will constantly construct and deconstruct our own understanding of Paris, this requires open-mindedness and curiosity. You will be encouraged to take trips, explore on your own or with your friends and host families so that you can create your own intellectual paths in the city and enrich your coursework.

Whether you have years or just a few terms of French coursework under your belt , this program is for you if you want to experience a foreign country and are open to letting yourself be caught off guard by cultural practices that you have not yet learned about. Paris will have something for you whether it is museums, restaurants, clubs, or train stations to escape the fast pace of Parisian life! 

Not only is the experience a rare linguistic opportunity, it is also a chance to live with a French family, enriching your understanding of how various social classes, religious groups, age groups, experience the city and their relation to French-ness. Kindness and tolerance are absolutely essential to studying abroad in the program as French culture promotes debates and disagreements, and you will have to address people who might not share your world views or your political beliefs. Being able to interact with individuals who do not think like you in a cordial and respectful manner will make your trip so much more enjoyable and your French so much more refined.

In many ways, a city is a text that can be read through different media, and through the direct experience of streets, monuments, and interactions. Come read and interpret Paris with me! I will be your guide and teacher, and you shall show me all the Paris I can’t see.

Professor Sandra Rousseau, Associate Professor of French


Learning Goals

  • To achieve greater proficiency in both spoken and written French
  • To develop an increased cultural understanding of both France, Paris and its regions
  • To view oneself and the world from a different perspective through linguistic and cultural immersion
  • To develop a French-learner identity in various contexts


French 204 or above by Spring Term 2024. The director reserves the right to require additional study in French before departure.

Course of Study

18 Credits

Students enroll in three of the four courses for a total of 18 credits. (All students enroll in French 259 or 359.) All courses count toward the major and minor in French and Francophone Studies. French 254 counts toward the Art History major (post-1800 requirement).

FREN 208: Contemporary France: Cultures, Politics, Society (6 Credits)

This course seeks to deepen students’ knowledge of contemporary French culture through a pluridisciplinary approach, using multimedia (books, newspaper and magazine articles, videos, etc.) to generate discussion. It will also promote the practice of both oral and written French through exercises, debates, and oral presentations.
Instructor: French local faculty

FREN 254: French Art in Context (6 Credits)

Home of some of the finest and best known museums in the world, Paris has long been recognized as a center for artistic activity. Students will have the opportunity to study art from various periods on site, including Impressionism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. In-class lectures and discussions will be complemented by guided visits to the unparalleled collections of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, local art galleries, and other appropriate destinations. Special attention will be paid to the program theme.
Instructor: French local faculty

FREN 255: Islam in France: Historical Approaches and Current Debates (6 Credits)

In this course, students will explore the historical, cultural, social, and religious traces of Islam as they have been woven over time into the modern fabric of French society. Through images drawn from film, photography, television, and museum displays, they will discover the important role this cultural contact zone has played in the French experience. The course will take advantage of the resources of the city of Paris and will include excursions to museums as well as cultural and religious centers. Prerequisite: French 204 or the equivalent.
Instructor: French local faculty

FREN 259/359: Hybrid Paris (6 Credits)

Through cultural texts, films, music, and our own practice of the city, this course will explore the development of both the “Frenchness” and the hybridity that constitute contemporary Paris. Immigrant cultures, notably North African, will also be highlighted. Plays, music, and visits to cultural sites will complement the readings.
Instructor: Sandra Rousseau

Prerequisite: French 230 or beyond or instructor permission for FREN 359.

Program Features


Students will stay with carefully selected French families in and around Paris. During the excursion to Provence they will stay in hotels.


The program will explore key aspects of the historical, cultural, and artistic foundations of Paris, through both study and experiential learning in the city. Various classes include sessions in museums or other cultural destinations, and the entire group will have the opportunity to attend plays, concerts, a modern dance performance, the opera, and more. A six-day excursion to Provence will allow students to discover the more provincial side of France (where Paris is both revered and resented). Stops in Arles, the Carmargo, and Marseille will highlight both natural splendors and the ruins of antiquity, but also the current dynamism of the Mediterranean basin.

Fontaine de Copeaux
Sitting by the River Seine in Paris
Evangel Anyiwe ‘23, Diaraye Diallo ‘23, Francine Legba ‘23. Spring 2022
Having a coffee in the streets of Paris
Pastries in Paris
Another view of Notre-Dame
The stain glassed windows of the Sainte-Chapelle let the afternoon sun in.
Ready to attend the Ballet Maurice Béjart at the Opéra Bastille
An afternoon under the Eiffel Tower
Walking in Paris
Taking pictures of the Mona Lisa.
Golden Hour in the City of Love, relaxing at the edge of the River Seine