With CIEE, you won’t simply visit Paris, you’ll live it. Study at the Sorbonne, teach English at a local school, practice your language skills in local bistros and cafes, and become an integral part of a new community. A gap year abroad in Paris will give you the life skills to thrive wherever you’re headed next.
How much can you pack into one semester or academic year? The choice is yours. Take overnight trips to places such as Normandy or the Loire Valley, day trips to grand chateaux in the countryside, walking tours of Paris architecture, and field trips to Notre-Dame Cathedral and the iconic Arc de Triomphe. In your free time, climb to the top of Montmartre or the Eiffel Tower and marvel at the splendor of your new city home.
- Increased language proficiency (165 hours per semester of language classes at the Sorbonne University)
- Greater appreciation of French art and architecture (45 hours per semester of an Art History course)
- Ability to navigate across cultures (45 hours per semester in an intercultural seminar)
- Certificate of volunteer service (45 hours minimum per semester)
- Deep understanding of French family and culture through day-to-day experiences with a local host family, vetted and approved by CIEE
- Documented language growth through pre- and post-program language testing
Sample Activities and Excursions
- Discover Paris through food and drink, visiting legendary cafes and bistros like Café de Flore and La Coupole.
- Prepare dishes such as boeuf bourguignon and the famous French éclair at a local cooking school. Then enjoy tasting your culinary creations!
- Go on walking tours of Parisian districts including Le Marais, the Latin Quarter, and Montmartre.
- Join fellow Gap Year Abroad participants on a day trip to visit the famous Palace of Versailles.
- Come to appreciate what inspired many of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings by visiting his hometown of Giverny.
- Take part in tours to internationally known Parisian museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay.
- Participate in a three-day trip to Alsace (fall semester) or Provence (spring semester).
- Relax and learn during day trips to Saumur and Normandy (fall semester) or Provins and Amboise (spring semester).
The CIEE Difference
A Gap Year Experience that Gets It Right
Just the right balance – of structure and independence, academics and adventure, serious and fun.
Full Cultural Immersion
Live Like a Local
Shop local. Eat local. Live like a local. For a structured program, this is as authentic as it gets. Whether you go abroad for a full year or a semester, you’ll have time to settle into the local scene, forge friendships, chat with strangers, observe life around you, and take it all in. On your Gap Year Abroad in France, you’ll get an inside perspective and a real sense of place.
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in another culture than by living with a local family. Not only will your host family provide you with daily meals and a place to stay, they’ll also introduce you to local customs, and offer support and guidance in an unfamiliar environment.
Our host families are consistently rated as the highlight of the Gap Year Abroad experience. We carefully screen all host families and choose them based on personality profiles and common interests. Through your host family, you’ll build a home away from home and develop relationships that endure long after you’ve finished your Gap Year Abroad program.
Service Learning Options
Make a Difference in Your Own Unique Way
Volunteer work is an essential component of your Gap Year Abroad experience, and a rewarding way to create positive change in your new community. The professional skills you’ll develop along the way will prove valuable for your resume and for years to come.
In Paris, the most popular option is assisting English teachers in local schools. Ample preparation is provided in advance, including 45 minutes per week of teacher training at the CIEE Study Center with a focus on teaching English as a foreign language. You may also choose to work with migrant families at a local NGO, providing assistance where needed, while deepening your language and intercultural skills in authentic and meaningful ways.
Wherever you choose to lend a hand, you can expect to volunteer around 44 hours per semester (approximately 4–5 hours per week).
Language & Culture Program
Communicate and Collaborate – Locally and Globally
Full immersion is the most efficient way to learn. With CIEE you can fast-forward your language skills during class time – then put them into practice out on the town. Fun and engaging classes help accelerate fluency so that you can maximize your experience abroad while gaining competitive skills for the future.
At the Sorbonne in Paris’ Latin Quarter, you’ll receive 15 hours of intensive language instruction each week. Whether you’re an accomplished French speaker or just a beginner, small classes and individualized instruction accommodate the needs of students of all levels.
You’ll also take culture courses with fellow CIEE Gap Year Abroad participants at the CIEE Study Center in the heart of Paris. Explore topics including French cuisine and the French educational system. You’ll also hear from a local architect, and go on a walking tour of traditional Parisian architecture and design.
With CIEE, cultural studies classes go much deeper than sightseeing. They enhance your language coursework by adding important context and content. By connecting the dots through this integrated approach, you’ll get a holistic, big-picture education – one that could not be possible in your hometown language lab.
Our coursework is all about experiential learning and intercultural connections. Working with diverse groups expands perspectives and builds critical skills. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, the ability to communicate and empathize with those considered “foreign” is more important than ever.
Art History Course
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place to study art history than Paris. CIEE staff facilitates a fascinating activity-based art history course for Gap Year Abroad participants each semester. You’ll “live the course” through visits to local museums and architectural monuments. Other highlights include excursions to legendary landmarks like Versailles. The art history course runs 45 hours per semester.
Out & About
Treks and Adventures
Program Excursions & Independent Exploration
CIEE’s Gap Year Abroad programs offer the perfect balance of structured activities and free time. You’ll get to travel and see the country as a group, and still have time for everyday exploration.
Culture, cuisine, music, art, fashion – there’s not a city on earth that can touch Paris.
See and experience as much as possible by joining your peers on group field trips, city walks, and museum visits. Spend an afternoon viewing the masterpieces of the Louvre, or grab your classmates and picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens. Take some time on your own to visit local bookstores and art galleries. Interested in playing sports with local and international students? Just say the word, and we’ll help connect you with organizations and teams.
Join new friends on a day trip to Chartres, Reims or the chateaux and gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte. Ready to explore farther afield? Pack your bags for an overnight trip to a classic French destination. During the fall term, students will spend three days in Alsace, plus take day trips to Saumur and Normandy. In the spring, enjoy a three-day excursion to Provence, in addition to day trips to Provins and Amboise.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want you to get as much as possible from your CIEE Gap Year Abroad. That's why our program fees cover all the extras, including:
- Transportation from local French airport
- Language classes at the Sorbonne
- English teaching volunteer opportunity
- CIEE-sponsored trips and excursions
- Room and board with a host family, including daily breakfast and four dinners per week
- Supervision and support by a student services manager
- Orientations prior to leaving the U.S. and upon arrival in France
- International medical insurance through iNext and 24-hour worldwide travel assistance and support services
- Language pre and post testing to demonstrate improvement in the target language.
June 1, 2016*
June 1, 2016*
Nov 15, 2016*
*Early Bird Discount: Beat the application deadline by a month and get $400 off.
*Prices are subject to change and will be locked in for the participant on the day CIEE receives the completed application and program deposit.
- Students must be a high school graduate in good academic standing
- No previous language experience required
- Students must demonstrate, through the application and interview process, their flexibility, maturity, adaptability, and readiness to face the challenges of living in a new culture
- Students must be 18 years or older at the time of their departure
The CIEE Study Center in Paris is responsible for the supervision and support of CIEE participants throughout the duration of their stay. The Gap Year Abroad program coordinator at the Study Center will remain in regular contact throughout the semester/academic year in order to check in on your language progress and to make sure that the homestay and volunteer placements are going well. The office selects, screens, and interviews all host families and will place students with a family that best matches their student profile.
All CIEE Gap Year Abroad participants take part in an online orientation prior to their departure. In addition to providing logistical information, the orientation helps students set realistic expectations and goals. It also affords students and parents the opportunity to ask questions of CIEE Study Center staff.
An in-country orientation takes place upon your arrival in Paris. The goal of the orientation is to help introduce you to your new city, country, host family, and classmates. The academic program will be reviewed, health and safety tips will be covered, and faculty and staff will offer advice on adjusting to a new language and culture. You will be met at the airport upon arrival by CIEE Paris Study Center staff who will also assist in the final transfer to the host family.
About the City
About the City
Paris offers some of the greatest sites in the world: Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Palace de Versailles, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower to name a few. Beautiful, small touches greet you every step of the way, from fresh baguettes and croissants at every boulangerie to the gorgeous squares and parks that line the city. The Seine’s waterways, quays, and bridges transport you to breathtaking sights including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Meet the Staff
Meet the Staff
Brent Keever, Ph.D., received his B.A. in English and literary criticism from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in English and modern studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has taught and lectured all over the United States and France, on such topics as satire and humor, the literary and cinematic representations of sound, mysticism, and technology, and ethics in cartoons. His research interests include the history of critical theory and criticism, film studies, musicology, and modernist poetry and prose. An avid translator and film sub-titler, he has worked with the French children’s literature group, l’école des loisirs, as well as with French politicians. He is currently working on a project that throws into question certain theories about listening and sharing.
Gap Program Manager
Lucie Laureillard has a master’s degree in French language teaching and is a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the Université de Paris VIII, working on theater and language learning. She is a professor of French in the Contemporary French Studies program, and is the director of CIEE’s Gap Year Abroad program in Paris.