Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone Studies

Language of Instruction: English, French
Term: Summer

Improve your French while learning about French culture and exploring the city.  

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The program invites you to explore all that the city of Paris has to offer, while providing you with flexible options in both French and English to meet your academic goals. From rapid progress in your French language skills to understanding contemporary issues in France through an exploration of culture and history, our 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 Overview

The program offers two types of courses; French language courses and French/Francophone Culture courses, some of which are taught in English. You choose your courses based on your individual preferences and language level. All classes are capped at 12-16 students to provide the greatest interaction with the professor and your peers. You must comply with the prerequisites listed for each course and must take a total of 6, 7, or 8 points on the program.

Throughout the program, activities are planned in conjunction with the courses to offer more cultural exposure to the city.

You have the option to increase your exposure to French by living in a homestay and sharing 3 meals per week with your family, or you can live in a dorm (singles or doubles) or find your own housing.

Eligibility and Application

  • Currently enrolled undergraduate students in good academic and disciplinary standing
  • Graduate students and post-graduates are all eligible to apply
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA (if applicable)
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Students must meet prerequisites for individual courses

How to apply

Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application" button at the top of this page. If the button doesn't appear, the program is not yet accepting applications. 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


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

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

Language courses

Students who have completed the elementary year of French (or the equivalent) can choose different options to continue their French language studies depending on their academic goals and curricular needs. The language courses listed below are all designed to help you make progress in your linguistic skills.

FREN OC1205 Accelerated Intermediate French I and II. 8 points.

Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent
Instructor: Vincent Aurora, Columbia University

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 is for students who are strongly committed to working on their French for several hours a day. An additional interview may be required for admission.

This course is for students who want to make rapid and solid progress in their French language skills in a short amount of time by focusing exclusively on language acquisition for the duration of the summer.

FREN OC1201 Intermediate French I. 4 points.

Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Karen Santos da Silva, Barnard College

Providing the time to absorb the grammar of the first half of second year French, 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. This course will provide the grammatical and cultural tools to describe, analyze, and even shape the spatial relationship to the city that will be home for 8 weeks.

Students will be working with a variety of French and Francophone primary texts – written, cinematic, theatrical, plastic – but most importantly, they will be engaging with Paris and its diverse inhabitants daily, allowing the city itself to be their most essential text. Students will develop strategic problem-solving skills as they acquire linguistic competence. The course is capped at 12 participants and an additional interview may be required for admission.

FREN OC1202 Intermediate French II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Three semesters of college-level French or the equivalent
Instructor: Hadley Suter, Barnard College

This course will cover all the grammatical structures in Columbia’s Intermediate II curriculum. Our lessons will be organized around the theme of Student Life in Paris. Through a sampling of French and Francophone texts and films, as well as through field trips around the city, we will aim to answer the following questions: Why, since the 12th century founding of the Université de Paris, have students flocked from across Europe, and eventually, from all over the world, to pursue university studies in the City of Lights? What was student life like during various periods of French history? Where did students live, study, and gather? How is activism and political engagement culturally engrained in the role of the student and in the history of universities in Paris?

The course’s objective is three-fold: to advance students’ grammatical command of written and spoken French; to contextualize their language study with a variety of literary, artistic, and cultural readings in the classroom; and to provide students the opportunity to reinforce and refine their new skills and knowledge through an immersive experience in Paris. By the end of the course, students will feel comfortable navigating the city of Paris and communicating with native French speakers; they will also be ready to excel in upper level literature and culture courses at their home university.

FREN OC2223: Intermediate Conversation: Mapping Hidden Paris Through Urban Diversity/Promenades secrètes à travers la diversité parisienne. 3 points

Prerequisites: One year of college-level French or the equivalent, minimum
Instructor: Karen Santos da Silva, Barnard College

This 8-week summer course is designed for non-native speakers at the Intermediate level. The objective of this class is to provide a pedagogical structure for students to take full advantage of their immersion experience in Paris. The course will be comprised of a mix of classroom and excursion time, with 30 hours of in-class activities especially dedicated to hone students’ aural and oral skills, and 12 hours of targeted, small-group explorations in the city. The theme of this summer’s class is “Mapping Paris: self and other” (“La psychogéographie de Paris”).” During these eight weeks, we will do focused tours of neighborhoods throughout Paris, giving particular focus to how various inhabitants have left their mark on the urban landscape. At the same time, students will be doing their own structured but individual explorations of the city through a series of assigned “walks” which they will document in preparation of their final project: a personalized map of their experience in Paris.

FREN OC3405: 3rd Year Grammar and Composition. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Two years of college-level French or the equivalent.
Instructor: Aline Rogg, Columbia University

The goal of this course is to help students refine their grammar, reading and writing skills while exposing them to a wide array of texts, films, and experiences of the city of Paris. The selected texts represent a variety of time periods and genres, but offer thematic continuity through an exploration of past and present debates on “Frenchness” and the representation of the Other, with an emphasis on the imaginary of the Parisian banlieue and hip hop culture. Our reading and reflecting will be sustained by advanced grammar exercises, which will also increase the students’ awareness of stylistic processes. The course’s readings will function as points of departure for practicing writing through creative pieces as well as French forms of academic writing: “resumé,” “explication de texte,” and “dissertation.” Activities outside of the classroom will take the form of group outings either in lieu of a class or as homework. Students who have not yet taken the equivalent of fifth semester French will be required to take this course in Paris.

French and Francophone Culture Courses

The French and Francophone culture courses are all designed to deepen your engagement with Paris and France. Taken in English or in French, these courses will challenge you to look at the history and culture of France from various perspective while using the city as an essential resource throughout the program.

Courses taught in English have no prerequisites. For students taking courses taught in French who have not yet completed a 5th semester of French (or the equivalent), we require that you take the Advanced Grammar and Composition course to support your linguistic proficiency in your other course.

FREN OC3821: "Blackness" in French: From Harlem to Paris and Beyond. 3 points. Taught in English.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Kaiama Glover, Barnard College

What distinctions must be made between US-black American fantasies of Paris and realities for Blacks in Paris? What are the historical linkages between black Americans and Paris? Between black Americans and black French women and men? How is this relationship different from and contingent on the relationship between the “French” and their colonial “others?” How is “blackness” a category into which all non-white racial others are conscripted? (e.g. Arab and Roma communities)? Using an internationalist (specifically transatlantic) approach and covering the 20th and 21st centuries, this course explores these and other questions over the course of the semester through a close consideration of the literature, arts, culture, history and politics emanating from or dealing with Black France. The texts and artifacts examined in this course will consider “race” as both fact and fantasy in the unique, long-historical relationship between the United States, Paris, and the wider French empire.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

FILM OC4200: Exploring French Cinema, 3 Points. Taught in English.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Richard Pena, Columbia University

Cinema is one of the few art forms to actually have a birthday: December 28, 1895, the night when the Lumière brothers organized the first public screening of their films in Paris. Since that time, France has been one of the essential drivers of film as art and industry: it was the first cinema to be widely exported, and the first to recognize cinema as a legitimate form of personal expression. This class will trace the development of the cinema in France from its earliest days up until its most recent developments, analyzing individual works both in terms of their use of film style and technique as well their connection to changing social and political conditions in France. Works by Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard and Claire Denis, among others will be screened.

During this final part of the class, we will welcome French filmmakers, critics, historians and government officials, each of who will offer his/her perspective on that day’s topic and film. Among the speakers who could be included might be Olivier Assayas (filmmaker), Jean-Michel Frodon (film critic), Isabelle Giordano (director, Unifrance Film) and Michel Ciment (critic/historian).

FREN OC3822: Exploring and Experiencing Life and Legend in the City of Lights. 3 points. Taught in French.

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent, or 4 semesters of college-level French and enrollment in Advanced Grammar and Composition.
Instructor: Adam Cutchin, Barnard College

Why exactly is it that cultural historians have argued that Paris is a symbol of France, more than Madrid is of Spain, Rome is of Italy, or Berlin is of Germany? How was Paris transformed from a medieval city to a global one? Long before audiences saw Jean Valjean singing at the barricades, how did the city of Paris attain its iconic, mythic status through texts and art?

We will approach these questions from three different perspectives, reflecting the spatial focus of the course, by taking inspiration from Christopher Prendergast’s panoramic “high view” of Paris, Michel de Certeau’s street-level exploration of the city in L’Invention du quotidien, and David Pike’s Subterranean Cities. With excerpts from novelists like Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac, poets-journalists like Charles Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier, and historical and theoretic works from Maxime du Camp and Walter Benjamin, we will explore the people, ideas, and projects that contributed to Paris’s legendary reputation as the magical City of Lights.

WMST OC3550: Women & Society – The Sex-Trade economy. 3 points. Taught in French.

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent, or 4 semesters of college-level French and enrollment in Advanced Grammar and Composition.
Instructor: Christelle Taraud, Columbia Undergraduate Programs in Paris

Based on an interdisciplinary, intersectional, subalternist and post-colonial approach, this course is a general introduction to the history, sociology and anthropology of the economy of the sex-trade in Africa, America, Asia and Europe from the early nineteenth century to today. It aims to clarify: 1) the historiographical situation by questioning and analyzing the French regulatory system and its many avatars in Europe, the United States and in the colonial world, but also questioning the backlash to this system that consisted firstly of the abolitionist (born in England in the second half of the nineteenth century) and then the prohibitionist movements; 2) The relationship between class, “race” and gender in the sex market via issues of human trafficking and sex tourism in Europe, America, Africa and Asia; 3) The socio-economic issue - and its political connections – in the economy of sex with particular attention to individuals (prostitutes versus sex workers), their voices, their legal status, and even their mobilization (rallies and demonstrations, community collectives and trade unions, political and / or literary publications), but also the many heated debates that these demands for recognition and these mobilizations have provoked in places as diverse as France, the Netherlands and India to take only three specific examples in the world covered in the course.

This course is approved as a Global Core at Columbia.

FREN OCXXXX: Colonization and Post-colonial Immigration in the French Context: History, Legacy and Contemporary Debates. 3 points. Taught in French.

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent, or 4 semesters of college-level French and enrollment in Advanced Grammar and Composition.
Instructor: Laure Blevis, University of Paris Nanterre.

This class will explore the political, historical and sociological aspects of (post) colonial immigration in France. We will examine specifically how immigrants have shaped the history and the construction of French society and in return were the subjects of permanent debates, exclusion and discriminatory practices. Special attention will be given to the discussion of the gap between myths, discourses and reality : while claiming for homogeneity and integration, French society remains at least partially characterized by ethnic diversity and racial or social exclusion, exemplified by the discriminations against non-European immigrations or by the sub-urban ghetto.

Post-colonial immigration is also the best entry to question the complex and often passionate relationships of France with its former colonies.

Adopting a pluridisciplinary approach, this course aimed to introduce the students to the complexity of French debates and controversies regarding post-colonial migrants, in order to enable them to participate freely to daily discussions with French people and make them have the full experience of Paris life.

This course is pending approval by Columbia's Committee on Instruction.

Academic Schedule

When selecting your courses, please make sure that the courses you choose are not in conflict with each other. In general, the program tries to avoid conflicts with courses.

The schedule is posted in early April.

Grades and Transcripts

Grading Policy

Click here for the Columbia summer program grading policies.


Upon successful completion of the program, grades are entered into Columbia's online grading system.

No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full program.

All courses taken on the program are converted to an American grading scale and transmitted to students as follows:

Columbia students: Grades appear on SSOL and your transcript as semester grades from courses taken at Columbia. For more information, please see the section on Academic Credit in Steps to Study Abroad.

Barnard students: Grades appear on eBear and your transcript as any semester grades from courses taken at Barnard. For more information, please see the section on Credit and Transcripts for Barnard Students on our Barnard student pages.

Non-Columbia students: can request electronic transcripts online through the Columbia University registrar.

Life in Paris



A highlight of this 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 nearby 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 dinners per week with them, giving you the chance to practice your language skills and to learn about the French perspective on the world.


You can also choose to live in a dorm in Paris. This is different than the residential dorm experience at a college in the United States, offering greater independence and fewer amenities. There are both double and single options. For summer 2018, the program will house students at the AGEFO-Jerome Lejeune (singles) and the Maison des Mines (doubles and singles). Costs for the upcoming summer will be posted in the financial section of the website.


Finally, you can choose to to find their own housing outside of the program. Resources for doing so will be provided in the program handbook, but students should be aware that the program does not offer support for housing once students opt out of program housing.


No meals are included in the program fee and there is no meal plan, unless students have chosen to live in a homestay, in which case three dinners per week are provided. 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 eating in Paris. It is recommended that you research beforehand if you aren’t sure what to expect.


The program already has many course-related activities, as well as a few social events, that will help students engage with the cultural life of Paris. Past activities have included theater workshops, pottery, crépe-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 the city Paris in the summer. In addition, the Columbia Global Center|Paris has many activities throughout the summer that are open to students on the program at no charge.

Daily Living and Schedule

Depending on 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|Paris 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 more than a century, its long and distinguished past of intellectual, artistic, and cultural exchange has made it significant for the relationship between France and the United States.

Reid Hall, constructed in the early 18th century before the French Revolution, is located in the lively Montparnasse (6th arrondissement) district of Paris, near the Luxembourg Gardens and within walking distance of the Latin Quarter and several branches of the University of Paris. 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.


The faculty and program are supported by the staff of the Columbia Undergraduate Programs in Paris and the Columbia Global Centers: Paris. You will be introduced to the Columbia Undergraduate Program staff during the orientation.


Please see individual courses for faculty links.

Financial Considerations

Program Fee Summer 2018 (tuition only):

  • 6 points: $8,400
  • 7 points: $9,800
  • 8 Points: $11,200

Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustees approval and may change.

Please see our cost breakdown for detailed information on additional estimated expenses.

Financial aid and scholarships

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to studying abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students should check with their home schools for funding availability.

Funding Your Summer in Paris

Columbia undergraduate and Barnard students may apply for the following scholarship applicable to this program:
Beesen Global Travel Fellowships

For more general information and resources on financing your time abroad, please see the pages below:

Withdrawal PolicY

If you decide to withdraw from the program after it has already started, please be aware of the financial consequences and office policies by clicking here.

Resources for Accepted Students

Fact Sheet

Arts and Architecture, Foreign Language Learning, Humanities
Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Undergraduates
Language of Instruction:

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Admissions Decision Date: 
Friday, March 9, 2018
Program Dates: 
Saturday, June 2, 2018 to Saturday, July 28, 2018
Late applications may be considered. Please contact with inquiries.