Overview | Academics | Cost | Location | Life Abroad | Student Voices
Offered through the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE), the Critical Studies program in Paris is co-sponsored with UW-Madison. Participants study and live in Paris, one of the world's most intriguing cities and one of the leading destinations for travelers and scholars from across the globe. Divided by the river Seine, Paris has two temperamentally distinct areas, the Right and Left Banks. Characterized in part by the broad, tree-lined boulevards designed by Haussman in the 19th century, the Right Bank is the epitome of elegance, formality, and high style. The Left Bank is a tangle of narrow streets lined with cinemas, art galleries, book shops, music clubs, small family run restaurants, and bakeries.
Unique among U.S. programs in Paris, the Paris Center for Critical Studies offers a high degree of autonomy to students. Located near the Arc de Triomphe on Paris' Right Bank, the Paris Center for Critical Studies offers students a unique opportunity to participate in the vibrant world of contemporary French thought. Courses in contemporary film, literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and critical theory are taught at the Paris Center for Critical Studies by well-known specialists and university professors. In addition to special courses taught in French by CIEE-hired faculty at the Center, students may take courses at the University of Paris.
Paris, a metropolitan area of approximately 10 million, offers limitless cultural and historic resources. Its buildings and monuments represent more than 2,000 years of history. Its museums, theaters, and libraries are among the finest in the world. Paris 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 cafes (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.
Getting to Your Program
Students arrange their own travel to and from Paris but are given guidelines for arrival dates and times.
A student visa is required for participants prior to departure. CIEE provides visa instructions. A passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program is also required.
OrientationA required orientation session held before departure at UW-Madison helps students prepare for studying abroad. Topics covered include academic, financial, administrative, cultural, and site-specific issues. In Paris, the mandatory orientation program lasts three days. The orientation is designed to introduce students to the country, the culture, and the academic program, and to provide practical information about living in Paris. Daily sessions are devoted to safety, and security, academics, practical matters, and cultural differences. Walking tours orient students to different neighborhoods in Paris.
HousingOrientation housing, as well as permanent housing during the semester, is included in the program fee. The standard housing placement is in a studio or flat-sharing situation with a French person. The Paris center attempts to find housing situations for students that emphasize independence and student life in Paris.
Breakfast and some other meals, including a welcome dinner, are provided during the orientation period. Meals during the semester are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student.
Excursions and Activities
Extracurricular activities and group excursions are organized throughout the semester and are included in the program cost. CIEE resident staff organizes local outings to cultural activities in Paris, such as special exhibits, film festivals, and lectures. Day trips to sites close to Paris such as Chartres and its cathedral, the chateau in Vaux-le-Vicomte, Reims, or Monet's home and garden in Giverny, are also organized for all CIEE students. Weekend trips have taken students to the Loire Valley, Normandy, Burgundy and Brittany.
All participants in IAP programs are enrolled in health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees. CIEE also has arranged for some health/accident insurance and evacuation insurance.
CIEE Resident Director
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During the academic pre-session that precedes semester courses, all students take the Intensive Language Program that meets three hours per day, Monday through Friday. Each student also meets with the professor once a week for a private tutorial. Class size does not exceed 10-12 students. In the fall, the pre-session is three weeks and in the spring, two weeks.
During the semester, participants typically take five courses: two to four CIEE courses and one or two courses at the University of Paris in areas such as Arab world studies, communications, literature, cinema/media, and theater arts. There are two required semester courses: the Writing Workshop and Theory and Method in Critical Studies. Academic year students take these two courses in the fall and may choose to continue the Writing Workshop in the spring. Students can also take classes at the University of Paris (Sorbonne-Nouvelle) and the College Internationale de Philosophie and the new Grands Moulins campus of the Universite de Paris Diderot.
Program Web Page(s)
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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