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Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
2 semesters of language, or equivalent
Program Type: Columbia Administered Program
Program Advisor:
Thomas Spencer:
Eligibility - Home School: Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Graduate Students, Columbia SEAS, Visiting Students - Graduate, Visiting Students - Undergraduate Summer Program: Columbia Summer Program
Discipline: Arts and Architecture, Foreign Language Learning, Humanities
Program Description:

Eiffel Tower with StarsImprove your French while learning about French culture and exploring the city.  

Offering three distinct tracks, the program allows you to explore Paris while rapidly progressing from your current French level.  Small classes allow for individualized attention and the chance to get to know your instructors and classmates as you go outside of the typical tourist experience to gain an insider’s view of the city.

Program Structure and Costs

Students choose from one of three tracks depending on their current French level and preferences: Intermediate (7 points), Accelerated Intermediate (8 points), or Advanced (6 points).  All classes are small, capped at 12 students per class to provide the greatest interaction with the professor and chance to use your French skills in class on a regular basis. Activities are planned in each Bastille Day flagstrack in order to give students the chance to interact with their linguistic peers. There are also joint activities for the entire group at the beginning and end of the program so that everyone can get to know each other and also enjoy the end of the program together.

You can increase your exposure to French by choosing to live in a homestay, but you can also have more independence by choosing a dorm or by finding your own housing.  


Applications due: March 1
Arrival in Paris: June 3
Departure from Paris: July 29


Program fee for point options: 

  • 6 points: TBA
  • 7 points: TBA
  • 8 Points: TBA

The Program Fee covers the following program components:

  • Instructional costs
  • All course-required activities
  • Activities planned by the program

Estimated Out-of-Pocket expenses for the duration of the program: 

Program Housing:
  • Homestay (3 dinners with homestay family): $1749  **
  • Dorm: $1390 **
** 2016 cost

Out-of-pocket expenses below are estimates and will vary considerably by student:

  • Airline ticket to/from Paris: $1200
  • Meals: $950-$1100
  • Local Transportation: $200
  • Phone/Personal/Miscellaneous: $1100

Financial aid and scholarships 

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to your study abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or The Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students will need to check with their home schools for funding availability. 

Beesen Global Travel Fellowships (Columbia undergraduates and Barnard students only)
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Graduate Students
Columbia Ph.D. students who wish to use the summer tuition credit must apply directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The instructions and guidelines for this award can be found at the at the following website: 

If there is a comprehensive Program Fee that covers both tuition and housing, please note that you will be responsible for paying out of pocket the portion that is attributed to housing. The summer tuition credit only covers tuition and not housing. 
Graduate students from other schools should check with their home schools and their departments for funding. 

Other resources

Applying Panorama from Eiffel


  • Currently enrolled undergraduate students in good academic standing, graduate students and post-graduates are all eligible to apply.
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA (if applicable)
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Intermediate level courses:  A minimum of one year of college-level French, or the equivalent.
  • Advanced courses: A minimum of two or three years of college-level French, or the equivalent. 

How to apply

Want to apply? Click the “Start an Application" button at the top of this page. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile,  you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal statement
  • Letter of recommendation from someone who has taught you in French
  • Official transcript(s)

Sunset with Louvre PyramidAcademics

Participants choose their track from those listed below depending on their language level and goals for the summer. 


Accelerated Intermediate Track

The first track consists of a single, highly intensive class that will meet every day for several hours. If you want to make rapid, solid progress in your French, this is the course for you!

FREN O1205 Accelerated Intermediate French I and II. 8 points. 
Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Vincent Aurora

Covering the entire second year of French, this course is highly intensive and requires a high level of commitment from students. Students applying for this course should have a strong background in Elementary French or significant experience with another Romance language.  The course is capped at 12 participants and an additional interview may be required for admission. This module is for students who are strongly committed to working on their French for several hours a day. 

Intermediate Language and Culture Track

The second track allows you to take a little more time to absorb the grammar of either Intermediate I or Intermediate II, while either improving your conversation skills Girl Studying Place de vosgesin a specially-designed conversation course or taking a course to deepen your understanding of the cultural context of Paris, and receive Global Core credit if you are a Columbia student.

In both levels, the classes will be comprised of a mix of classroom time coupled with targeted, small-group exploration in the city, film and theater outings, and weekend excursions.  Students will hone and enrich written and oral comprehension and expression.

FREN O1201 Intermediate French I. 4 points. 
Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Karen Santos da Silva

This course will be organized around the concepts of space and movement: from the very intimate spaces that students will be inhabiting, to the most public ones through which they will be moving, the course will give them the grammatical and cultural tools to describe, analyze, and even shape the spatial relationship to the city that will be their home for 8 weeks.

Students will be working with a variety of French and Francophone primary texts – be they written, cinematic, theatrical, or plastic – however the most important primary text with which students will be engaging on a daily basis is Paris and its diverse inhabitants. They will develop strategic problem-solving competence as they acquire linguistic competence. The course is capped at 12 participants and an additional interview may be required for admission. This course is appropriate for students who have completed Elementary French (or the equivalent) and would like to both improve their language abilities and learn about the culture of Paris. 

Picture of Student with BaguetFREN O1202 Intermediate French II. 4 points. 
Prerequisites: Three semesters of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Pierrette Sansone-Bares

This course will be organized around a cultural theme: The three legendary areas of Paris (Montmartre, Montparnasse and St. Germain) that have served as the intellectual, artistic and festive centers of the city during a century bookended by two revolutions – 1870 and 1968.

Covering all grammatical structures in Columbia's Intermediate II curriculum, part of the course, based in the classroom, will cover grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary by reading literary and non-literary texts, such as excerpts from novels, newspaper articles, and university essays. Students will write their own essays, short narratives and descriptions and keep a journal. Students will improve their analytic and critical-thinking skills through textual analysis.

FREN OXXXX Intermediate French conversation through Parisian Culture (Intermediate Level).  3 points
Prerequisites: 2- 3 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructors: Karen Santos da Silva and Pierrette Sansone-Bares

Description and syllabus pending

FREN OC3817: Black Paris
Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent.

Instructor: Stephanie Bérard
NOTE: This course is only open to students in the Intermediate Language and Culture Track
Gay Pride

Taught in English, course aims to unveil a lesser known face of Paris linked to its colonial past in order to reread the present social, political and cultural landscape of France’s capital city. By visiting the hotspots of a forgotten Parisian black history, students will learn about the legacy of a colonial past often unknown and neglected. Sites will include the Latin Quarter which saw the birth of Negritude movement in the 1930s with the encounter of African and Caribbean intellectuals (Césaire, Senghor, Damas) and the foundation of the editions Présence Africaine with Alioune Diop; Saint Germain des Prés and Pigalle which celebrated jazz music in cabarets; the Museum of the history of immigration in Porte Dorée and the Musée des Arts Premiers at the Quai Branly. This itinerant historical approach of Paris will be complemented by an exploration of the contemporary cultural and artistic politics of the Black stage as possible in the summer. 

The reading and analysis of literary and cinematographic works will allow students to tackle social, political and racial issues, and explore further the global dimension of today’s diasporic and multicultural France. By studying films such as Divines or plays like Bintou, we will discuss life in the suburbs (“la banlieue”) and address complex notions of “laïcité” and “integration.” This course will finally question how skin color and politics are deeply intertwined by attending the Commemoration of Slavery (May 10th) initiated by the former Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, herself a victim of racism, and by examining the recent election of Dany Laferrière, Haitian writer, to the Académie Française. Does the cultural, intellectual and artistic capital that Paris was in the 1930s remain a cosmopolitan city open to the world?

This course has been approved to count as a Global Core for Columbia students. 

W4100: Migration, Displacement and Diaspora in the French and North African Context, 3 Points
Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Madeleine Dobie
NOTE: This course is only open to students in the Intermediate Language and Culture Track

Taught in English, this course will explore the social and political history of migration between France and Africa with particular emphasis on its representation through literature and film. The course will examine the political, economic and social forces that have shaped the landscape of migration in the nations of the Mediterranean rim since the 1950s and observe major transitions in policy and legal frameworks. Though migration is often approached in mainstream media as an object of policy and legislation, it can be viewed as a ‘total social fact’ in which political, social, economic and cultural dimensions are interwoven. With this in mind, the course will use different media, genres and narrative forms through which migration has been portrayed. Throughout the course, students will grapple with questions concerning the relationship between aesthetics and politics and between life experiences and representations.
The sources examined in the course include novels, feature and documentary films and political and legal discourses as well as analyses grounded in anthropological, sociological, and philosophical methodologies. Combining empirical with theoretical approaches, students will consider both the specific political, legal, social and economic contexts in which migration has occurred and broader conceptual questions about the status of ‘immigrants,’ ‘migrants’ and ‘refugees’ as social and cultural figures. Taking the view that local dynamics have to be situated in broader regional/global frameworks and vice versa, the course will examine both national framings of migration in countries including France, Morocco and Algeria and transnational and cross-regional dynamics. 

This course is pending approval to count as a Global Core for Columbia students. 

Advanced Track

Students with more experience in the French language and who have completed the equivalent of the first 2 years of French, have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Parisian culture and history through challenging courses, offered only in French, that use the city as an essential resource throughout the program. 

For students who have not yet completed a 5th semester of French (or the equivalent) we require  you to take a fifth  semester class on the program in order to support your linguistic proficiency in your other course.

FREN O3405 3rd Year Grammar and Composition Course. 3 points. 
Prerequisites: Two years of college-level French or the equivalent. 
Instructor: Sarah Lazur

The goal of this course is to help students improve their grammar and perfect their writing and reading skills, especially as a preparation for taking literature or civilization courses. Students who have not yet taken the equivalent of fifth semester French will be required to take this course in Paris. Through the study of two full-length works of literature and a number of short texts representative of different genres, periods, and styles, they will become more aware of stylistic nuances, and will be introduced to the vocabulary and methods of literary analysis. Working on the advanced grammar points covered in this course will further strengthen their mastery of French syntax. They will also be practicing writing through a variety of exercises, including pastiches and creative pieces, as well as typically French forms of academic writing such as "résumé," "explication de texte," and "dissertation". 

FREN 0XXX  Mosaic Paris: Community and Diversity in a “Global City." 3 points.
Prerequisites: Two years of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Christelle Taraud

This course is an introduction to the history, the sociology, and the anthropology of various communities in Paris.  Focusing on different communities will lead us to reconsider the history of Paris, of France, of Europe, and of the colonial and post-colonial world, and will help explain the presence of the many immigrants (and of their children who have become French citizens) who have come from other parts of Europe, but also from the Caribbean, the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, as well as from Asia.  Through this lens, we will link the past to the present and gain perspective on contemporary debates—including multiculturalism, immigration (regulated and clandestine), the question of secularism, the place of Islam, etc.—facing French society that arise precisely because of Paris’ status as a “global city.”

Please note that this course is under consideration to count as a Global Core at Columbia and is pending approval for summer by Columbia's Committee on Instrucion. 

GivernyFREN O3994 Writing, Painting, and Photographing Paris in the 19th and 20th Centuries. 3 points,
Prerequisites: Two years of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Brian O'Keefe

The city of Paris fascinated writers, painters, and photographers. In this course, we will look at the variety of ways Paris has been represented in art. We will first read a novel by Balzac, in which the city is variously characterized as a monster, a mysterious woman and, rather surprisingly, a lobster. In Baudelaire’s poems,we will find Paris in transition, evolving into the capital of modernity. The Impressionists, both in painting and in certain texts by Zola and Goncourt, also reacted to the city’s modernity – at issue here is how we interpret the famous impressionistic ‘blur.’ At the beginning of the 20th century, we will allow ourselves a moment of nostalgia by looking at the photographs of Eugène Atget, before plunging into the surreal arcades of Aragon, Walter Benjamin, and Breton. We will compare their writing to visual artists like Man Ray and André Kertész – their works startle us by their strangeness, and change our perception of the city. Sessions in the classroom will be accompanied by excursions to museums and art performances in the city. 

FREN O3690  Castles and Gardens. 3 points.
Prerequisites: 2 years of college-level French
Instructor: Linnéa Rollenhagen Tilly

It was during the seventeenth century that Paris began to compete with Rome as an art center; Thus the city and its surroundings served as an architectural laboratory for all of Europe. During the reign of Louis XIV, architects, artists and administrators of European courts were attracted by the splendors of Versailles. In Paris these men formed in the French way, seeked to meet connoisseurs, gather models and recruit artists. In the first half of the eighteenth century this attraction for the architecture of the Paris region was still growing. According to French principles, Peter the Great began to build St. Petersburg, to name but one example of the diffusion and adaptation of these models.

The French XVIIth century, otherwise called " le Grand siècle " will be at the heart of this course, where we will study architecture à la française, world renowned for its refinement. Through a selection of castles in Paris and Île de France, we will analyze the origins, the characteristics as well as exceptions of this architecture and landscape. We will also study the political and social context in which these ensembles were conceived, as well as the organization of the work sites and the technical progress that follows. By identifying the symbols of power and wealth we will consider the "discourses" and functions of these creations, as well as the men and women behind them (both sponsors and performers). Finally, we will try to follow the diffusion of the Parisian model in France, across Europe and in the world.

Academic Schedule

The schedules for specific courses will be available in late March. 


Upon successful completion of the full program, Columbia students will receive both credit and grades directly in SSOL. Barnard students need to work with the Barnard registrar prior to departure to receive credit. All visiting students will request a Columbia transcript after the program ends that they can submit to their home school. 

Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.

Life in Paris 


A star feature of the program is the opportunity to live with a francophone family, giving you the opportunity to live like a true Parisian. Homestays are located throughout Paris and the near suburbs, which allows you to get to know a less touristy version of Paris. You’ll have your own room and share common spaces with your host family. You will share three meals per week with them, giving you the chance to practice your language skills and to learn about the French perspective on Alex Braslavsky Crepesthe world.

You can also choose to live in a dorm in Paris. This is different than the dorm experience at a college in the U.S. and is more like independent living.

Finally, you can choose not to use program housing and to find your own housing. Some resources for doing so will be provided in the program handbook, but you should plan on being vigilant, since the program doesn’t offer support when you opt out of housing.


No meals are included (unless you are in the homestay) and there is no meal plan. However, there are grocery stores, boulangeries, fromageries, and charcuteries where students can buy food supplies for casual dining.

There are several low-budget travel guides that give information about where to eat in Paris. In addition, there are many blogs devoted to Paris eating. Do some research beforehand if you aren’t sure what to expect.



The program already has many course-related activities that will help students engage with the cultural life of Paris and the program will also organize a few social events. Past activities have included theater workshops, pottery, crepe-making, wine tasting, and excursions around Paris.  You will have adequate time to explore Paris on your own and to soak up the ambiance of Paris in the summer. In addition, the Columbia Global Center has many activities throughout the summer that are open to students on the program at no charge.

Daily Living and Schedule

Depending on which track you are in and the specific courses you take,  you will have different commitments for work outside of class. Your commute to Reid Hall will also be between 35-50 minutes, on average.  Weekends are free and students are encouraged to travel within France or enjoy Paris on the weekends.


The home base of Columbia University in Paris is the Columbia Global Centers|Europe at Reid Hall, where all of your classes will take place.  Reid Hall is a small group of buildings owned and administered by Columbia. It also serves as an educational center for other American universities and for scholars from around the world. For over a century, its long and distinguished past of intellectual, artistic, and cultural exchange has made it significant to the relationship between France and the United States.

Located in the lively Montparnasse (sixth) district of Paris, near the Luxembourg Gardens and within walking distance of the Latin Quarter and several branches of the University of Paris , Reid Hall was constructed in the early 18th century, before the French Revolution. Modern additions have enlarged the facility, creating an interior courtyard and private garden. Reid Hall primarily houses administrative offices and classrooms and also has a small reference library, a reading room, lounges, a multimedia lab, and two large conference rooms. Students have access to WiFi in all common areas of Reid Hall.




Vincent Aurora has been a lecturer in the French Department since 2001, a position that has allowed him to innovate pre-existing courses (particularly French Literature since 1800 and Intermediate French II), completely remake others (1202 for students of SIPA; Advanced Grammar and Composition I and II) and to create entirely new courses to respond to students' changing needs (the French Cultural Workshop and Accelerated Second Year French). The author of one book of literary criticism (Michel Leiris' "Failles": Immobile in mobili) and translator of Prince Michael of Greece's L'impératrice des Adieux, he has written extensively on the use of metaphor in Surrealist poetry, the intriguing combination of Auguste Comte's Positivism and quantum mechanics in Houellebecq's Les Particules élémentaires, and the method of passages parallèles and its ramifications on the interpretation of poetry. Since 1996, he has been a yearly contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica's yearbook on trends and events in contemporary French literature.

Karen Santos Da Silva is a faculty lecturer in the department of French at Barnard College.  She received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from  New York University.  After teaching Composition and Conversation at Barnard College in spring 2016, she will be joining the summer semester faculty in Paris. (update)
Sarah Lazur, Term Associate in French, joined the department this Fall. She is currently finishing her dissertation, "Modernist Poetics between France and Brazil: Influence and Counter-Influence in the Works of Blaise Cendrars and Oswald de Andrade,” in the French department at Columbia, in association with the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS). In addition to her research in early 20th century modernism in Europe and Latin America, she is interested in translation, cultural studies, and language pedagogy.

Pierrette Sansone-Bares is the language instruction coordinator at CUP and holds a Master 2 in FLE language training from the Université de Grenoble III. Pierrette has taught at the Alliance Française of Ottawa and Paris, as well as at the Ecole Américaine de Paris. She also teaches on a regular basis at the Ecole Française de Middlebury.

Brian O’Keeffe teaches in the French department at Barnard College and he is also an Associate Director of the Barnard Center for Translation Studies. He specializes in 19th and 20th-century French literature, literary theory, Continental philosophy, and translation studies.

Columbia in Paris Staff 

Coming soon

Main Contacts in New York

Coming soon


For questions related to the topics below, please contact the person listed: 

  • The program: Thomas Spencer
  • The online application: Megan Friar
  • Registration and billing: Maryann Borgognone
  • Student feedback on the program: Please contact Thomas Spencer for referrals.

In the event of an emergency after office hours, please contact Columbia University Emergency at 212-854-5555 or Columbia University Security at 212-854-2796.


Columbia Dates & Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline/Columbia Clearance Deadline Decision Date & Deadline Note Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 03/01/2017 03/17/2017 06/03/2017 07/29/2017