France: Cultural Discovery

Cultural Discovery and the Arts

Discover the richness of France through its diverse cultures and regions—from Paris to a border community and its neighboring country.




Physical Activity


Program Description

Start your journey with an immersive introduction to French history and culture in Paris, “The City of Light.” You will visit the city’s most iconic sights and museums, including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Élysées. Explore diverse neighborhoods and sample French cuisine in quaint street-side cafés as you deepen your understanding of Parisian culture and the city’s role within France.

Discover la vie quotidienne, or daily life, of a French family during a 10-day homestay in another region of France, usually near the country’s border. You will get an intimate look at French life and the unique culture specific to the region. Enjoy getting to know your host siblings, checking out local sites, and enjoying meals with your new family before heading to your next destination.

After saying goodbye to your host family, you will cross the French border with your group into either Italy, Germany, or Spain to explore the cultures, landscapes, and sights of a neighboring country. You might find yourself strolling through Germany’s picturesque towns and picnicking in the Black Forest, exploring the villages of Italy’s stunning Cinque Terre, or taking in Spanish art in Barcelona. As your program comes to a close in Paris, you’ll reflect on the deeper insights you’ve gained into the diversity of France and the culture of a neighboring country.


Program Availability:

Not Yet Enrolling



Sample Itinerary

    Days 1-3

    Orientation in Paris

    • Learn about the history and culture of France
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
    • Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city such as the Eiffel tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, and the Arc deTriomphe.
    • Navigate the capital city and the metro as you explore diverse and historic neighborhoods, from Ile de la Cité to Champs Élysées to Montmartre.
    • Sample French cuisine in street-side cafés and shop for ingredients at open air markets and boulangeries for a picnic at the Luxemburg Gardens or along the Seine. Practice your French language skills as a group and by interacting with locals.

    During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Days 4-15


    • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a French family and community as you share meals and family activities with your hosts
    • Explore your host communities and the surrounding area through nearby excursions with your group. These will vary by area but may include, canoeing, swimming, biking, and visiting nearby castles and towns.

    Spain group:

    • Visit Nîmes to see roman ruins and the impressive salin salt marsh in d’Aigues-Mortes.

    Germany group:

    • Visit the European Parliament Strasbourg and spend a day admiring the gothic architecture in Metz during your homestay in Nancy.

    During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Nîmes, Nice, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, Nancy, Saint-Raphaël, Castres

    Days 15-19

    Thematic Focus in One of Three Locations

    Germany and Alsace (5-night excursion)

    • Travel to the vibrant and picturesque town Freiburg, your base for the next few days, where you will have a guided visit of the medieval old town
    • Go on an excursion to Titisee-Neustadt to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Black Forest and picnic on the lake.
    • Go canoeing in Colmar and go biking through the countryside, passing vineyards and stopping to taste local products.


    Spain and the Pyrénées (5-night excursion)

    • Visit Barcelona, the capital city of Spanish Catalonia, and explore La Rambla, the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Gaudí and Picasso museums
    • Explore Perpignan, the Pyrénées-Orientales department’s capital city, located in southern France on the Mediterranean Sea

    During this excursion, you and your group will stay in hotels.

    Day 20

    Reflection and Wrap-up in Paris

    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program
    • Enjoy some last-minute shopping and a final French meal

    During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Day 21


    Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Emilie Clark

    Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Emilie is currently living in The Big Apple, where she works with Girl Be Heard, an NGO that uses theater to empower young women to be active agents of social change. Emilie lived abroad in France during her junior year of high school, where her love for travel kicked in full force. Emilie has a BA from Long Island University (LIU) Global in global studies, with a concentration in gender studies and youth engagement and minors in political science and Latin American studies. Throughout her education, Emilie has lived, traveled, studied, and volunteered in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, India, and Morocco. She has also traveled through China, Nepal, Hungary, the Czech Republic, England, and Ireland. During her undergraduate education, Emilie conducted independent research on the topics of arts activism, women’s rights, Islamic feminism, community development, and youth empowerment. She is an extremely passionate social justice advocate and life enthusiast who believes that study abroad can be one of the most meaningful and transformative experiences a student can have. Emilie loves adventure, the great outdoors, city streets, and finding beauty wherever she goes!

  • Chrissie Faupel

    Chrissie Faupel is a native of Auburn, Alabama (she can only do the accent upon request), and received a BA from the University of South Carolina in French and international studies. During her time as an undergraduate, she studied for a year in California with the National Student Exchange and for a summer in Tours, France, as a Watson Scholar. She taught English as a Foreign Language in Mexico, South Korea, and Thailand; settled for a while in the US to teach for the South Carolina Department of Corrections (when not teaching inmates, she moonlighted as an assistant to Sparkles the Clown); then moved to Senegal for two years with the Peace Corps as a preventive health educator. In fall 2014, Chrissie moved to Vermont to begin a master’s in international education at SIT Graduate Institute.

  • Aly Galef

    Aly Galef is a native of Mount Kisco, New York. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a BA in history and a concentration in the Middle East and Africa. In addition to being a French speaker, Aly has studied Arabic for several years, with a focus on the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. As a part of her undergraduate experience, she studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco, with SIT, and spent a summer studying in Aix-en-Provence, France. After college, Aly spent a year working at a human development NGO based in Morocco. She is currently pursuing a master’s in green management, energy, and corporate social responsibility at Bocconi University in Italy. Aly has led Experiment programs in both Morocco and France, and in her free time she enjoys dancing, rowing, and cooking.

  • Julie Yen

    Julie Yen is a native of Concord, Massachusetts. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in history and a language citation in German. In high school, Julie learned French, her first foreign language, and traveled abroad as an exchange student to live with a host family near Versailles. During college, she studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany, and traveled throughout Europe, studying European history, politics, cultures, and societies. She also interned at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, volunteered as a tutor to low-income students, and sang in a choir. In fall 2014, Julie began working in arts administration and dance education at the José Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Julie is a lifelong ballet dancer, she loves to bake, and she is passionate about language learning and cultural exchange.

Student Voices

  • We had so much fun seeing the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and many beautiful stores and learning about the history behind different architecture. Not only is France all about Paris but many places are rural/ suburban having a country feel that you’ll see with your host family. It was best of both worlds getting to experience tourist & cultural immersion vibes.

  • With my time abroad I had life changing experiences and memories that will last a life time. I met so many people from different backgrounds, and I think that helped me grow as a person. There wasn’t a time where I was bored. This program exposed me on how people live outside of my country.

  • I gained an immense amount of confidence in my French speaking abilities and formed close with bonds with the friends I met along the way and the places I hope to return to. And the best part was, as fate would have it, the part I was most reluctant of: the homestay!

  • Where do I even begin? I loved every single second of those three weeks. I reminisce about it. I wish I can go through everything again. I remember when my group and I first met, we were all so quiet and nervous. Who knew how much amazing things were going to come our way? From seeing masterpieces at the Louvre to climbing up steps of the Notre Dame to seeing the Eiffel Tower in front of our very eyes to canoeing at Le Gard to celebrating France’s victory on the World Cup of 2018.