AIFS Study Abroad Blog

Paris for Faculty-led Programs

A view over the Paris rooftops

As international educators, we can all agree that Paris is a must-see for every young adult. A study abroad experience with immersive opportunities and academic field trips in the City of Light is a college student’s dream. Since the 1980’s, AIFS has been collaborating with innovative and creative educators from a wide range of disciplines. We offer semester and short-term faculty-led programs in Paris, using the city as their classroom.  

AIFS Customized, Faculty-Led programs are tailor made to fit the goals, needs and expectations of US universities or colleges and their faculty. Paris programs can include housing, classroom facilities, cultural activities; field visits and excursions, and most importantly opportunities for immersion and hands-on learning. Visits to businesses and organizations, lectures by professionals in various fields and service-learning projects all serve to enrich course content.  

AIFS in Paris

The AIFS Study Center is located in the 5th arrondissement, commonly known as the Latin Quarter. Steeped in hundreds of years of academic history, to this day the area is still home to many Parisian Universities and Grandes Ecoles. Our office boasts a small classroom, perfect to help smaller groups keep things affordable, and we have access to many local facilities suitable for larger groups. All classrooms are equipped with modern A/V equipment and Wi-Fi access. AIFS are always on hand to assist with classroom set up, with office hours for students and faculty to ensure daily contact.

The Study Center and classrooms are usually located within a 30 to 45-minute commute from student housing- a commute that is typical of any capital city. Students and faculty receive a transportation pass for unlimited use on the Paris public transport network (metro, buses, trams and regional trains) within the central zone of the city.   

Living in Paris

Students can live in local homestays where students stay in single or double rooms. Homestays provide breakfast and access to the kitchen at an agreed time for further meal prep. Parisian families are welcoming and caring with their students. Another housing option is student apartments, with access to fully equipped kitchens and shared living space. This option appeals to the more independent students. It is a great learning experience, as students navigate grocery shopping and day-to-day life in a new culture.  Thirdly, we can also offer a residence option; twin to quad bedded en-suite rooms with daily breakfast and additional meals included in the on-site cafeteria. We are always happy to offer a range of options. AIFS always considers the needs of the group, based on duration and goals of the program, and budget.

Christopher guiding in Montmartre
Academics in Paris

Paris is a natural fit for courses in French language, literature and civilization. Faculty who would like to offer more than one level of French can be matched with local language schools. Acting as a “teacher of record”, they can supervise local instructors teaching language and conversation at additional levels. A French Civilization course featuring the “life and culture” of the country can be organized.  A range of lectures placing special emphasis on the city’s cultural heritage. Local guest speakers will introduce students to the education, politics, history and society of France.

As a world capital for art and architecture, courses in fine arts and art history work perfectly. Visits, guided tours of Paris’ classic art museums including the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou, the Picasso and Rodin and the Orangerie. A guided “highlights” tour of the Musée Louvre can be included, with a membership option for unlimited access if students need to return for their studies.  

For world literature and humanities, Paris is the perfect setting. Field trips and walking tours can include a multitude of themes. Immerse your students in medieval Paris, emulating the chanson de geste of the Middle Ages. Explore the Absolutism of Louis XVI, with a visit to Versaille to marvel at the opulence of the Royal Couty. Visit the places patronized by the Lost Generation of the 1920s, and see how modern Paris society took shape.  A short walk around the city will reveal historic sites on every corner, enabling students to travel back in time at the blink of an eye!

Museums and institutes well suited to science courses also abound. Guided tours and visits can be arranged to la Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Palais de la Découverte, Musée de l’Informatique, L’Observatoire de Paris, Musée Pasteur and the Musée de l’Aire et l’Espace.

Following in royal footsteps in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
Making local connections

Cultural activities and excursions can cover the artistic and cultural highlights of Paris.  Tours can focus on French authors and artists, artistic styles or historic figures or events. Cooking classes, dance classes and sporting events such as soccer games are very popular among our students.  Day or weekend trips further afield expose the students to French life and history outside of the capital. The Loire Valley, Giverny, Reims, and Normandy and Brittany all feature regularly.  

For students staying in Paris for a prolonged period, there are many more ways for students to immerse themselves in the language and culture of France. These can include language exchange partners, volunteering projects, visits to community centers, schools and non-profits.

Our Program Manager for France, Sarah Plumley, works with faculty to turn their ideas into reality, planning a program that meets their learning objectives. The Program Coordinator supports faculty and students throughout the program. They make sure it runs as smoothly as possible, and handle any issues that may arise along the way. Resident staff know their city inside and out. They have great contacts for innovative learning activities as well as in case of emergency.  

Perfecting culinary skills in a French Cooking Class
Challenge your students and improve their employability

Provide a completely new experience for your students. Essentially, all aspects of students’ daily lives will be different from what they know. From using public transportation to a language barrier to completely new customs and foods, a program in France will challenge your students. The lifestyle and culture will help students open their eyes to new ways of doing most everything. It will force them to “think out of the box” and adapt, immensely valuable life skills.   

Improve your students’ employability. Study abroad is an impressive part of any resume. A study abroad experience will give them relevant life skills to speak to in job interviews. In the 2018 AIFS Student Outcomes Survey, 67% of students reported being asked to speak about their study abroad experience in a post-program job interview. Study abroad demonstrates problem solving, creativity and flexibility- all qualities desired in today’s very competitive job market.  

If you would you like to learn more about our program options in Paris, you can request a callback via our website or by contacting Paula Messina, CFL University Relations directly at pmessina@aifs.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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