Paris: Pre-Orientation Program

September in Paris 2015 - Versailles
Final App Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Language Requirement: 
Dana Currier

The Paris Pre-Orientation Program is open to incoming first-year University of Chicago undergraduate students only.

Program Description

The 2017 Paris Pre-Orientation Program will focus on the art and film of Paris—from an examination of the city as it is depicted on screen to an exploration of contemporary art and its exhibition throughout the city. Participating students will study with UChicago professors Dominique Bluher and D. N. Rodowick of the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. Professor Bluher will offer a course titled “Paris On Screen,” which will focus on the ways Paris is portrayed in French film, and Professor Rodowick will teach “Contemporary Art in Paris,” in which students will learn about the institutions and contexts for exhibiting contemporary international art in Paris. Excursions in and around the city will feature important sites of artistic expression as well as cultural landmarks.

Students participating in this program will arrive in Paris on Sunday, August 27, 2017 and depart on Saturday, September 10, 2017. More details regarding arrival and departure logistics and the daily program schedule will be communicated to admitted students over the summer.


“Paris On Screen”
August 28–September 1, 2017
Professor Dominique Bluher

In this course we will watch significant films from the French New Wave up to the contemporary period that take place in Paris. We will seek to understand how the image of Paris has been figured, in both real and imaginary ways, in narrative cinema. Classroom discussion will provide a critical framework with readings and screenings. Excursions to significant sites will bring your classroom discussions to life in and around the city.

“Contemporary Art in Paris”
September 4–8, 2017
Professor D. N. Rodowick

In this class, we will explore important institutions and contexts for exhibiting contemporary international art in the city of Paris, from national museums to arts foundations, galleries, artist studios, and alternative spaces and artists’ “squats.” Of special interest will be how different architectures and spaces of installation affect our reception and understanding of art. Possible field trips include the Palais de Tokyo: Site de Création Contemporaine, the Jeu de Paume, and La Maison Rouge, as well as visits to galleries and independent art spaces.

Center in Paris

Headquarters for the College’s study abroad programs in Paris is the University of Chicago Center in Paris, the University’s research and teaching arm in Europe. Situated in the thirteenth arrondissement, the Center in Paris is part of an ambitious intellectual project along the river Seine, including the Bibliothèque Nationale and a new home for Université Denis Diderot (University of Paris VII). The Center in Paris features classrooms, offices for faculty and graduate students, computer facilities, a small library and an apartment for the faculty director. For participants in UChicago’s programs, the Center in Paris provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place and a welcoming UChicago “presence” within one of the major capitals of Europe.


Students in the Paris Pre-Orientation Program are housed in a residence hall within the Cité Internationale Universitaire (Cité). The Cité, a park-like residential complex in the fourteenth arrondissement, is the international student campus in Paris, though French students also live there. Students reside in single rooms with a private bath and have access to Cité facilities, including a library, theater, laundry and athletic facilities. Students will have access to common kitchens in the residence halls and can purchase inexpensive meals at the Cité’s restaurant universitaire.

Travel and Visas

All students will require a passport that will remain valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into France (through February 2018). If you need to apply for or renew your US passport, you can do so here: Please note that regular passport applications and renewals can take up to eight weeks to process, so please consider expedited passport processing.

Most students will not need a visa to participate in the program. US citizens may travel freely as tourists (i.e. without a visa) within and between any of the “Schengen” countries—Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland—for a maximum of 90 days in a 6 month period. Because the Paris program runs fewer than 90 days, and because participants are not directly enrolling in a French university, holders of US passports do not need to obtain a visa.

If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States, you may be required to get a visa. If you are unsure about your status, you should contact the Consulate General of France. The website for the Chicago-based Consulate is

Credits and Registration

These courses are not for credit and will not appear on a student’s transcript.


Students participating in the Paris Pre-Orientation Program pay a program fee of $3,000. Financial aid is not available for this non-credit experience.

The program fee includes:

  • Accommodation for the dates of the program
  • Instruction
  • Course materials
  • Student support (including a graduate student coordinator who resides with the group at Cité)
  • Program excursions and activities
  • Some group meals
  • Communications (a French cell phone will be provided)
  • Local transportation, including airport pick-up

Out-of-pocket expenses include:

  • Round-trip airfare to and from Paris
  • Some meals
  • Personal entertainment and travel

Eligibility and Application

The Paris Pre-Orientation Program is open to incoming first-year University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

The online application will be available starting May 1 and must be submitted by May 31. To apply, you will need to complete the online application form, including a statement of interest addressing how this experience will fit into the scheme of your education at the University of Chicago. You may wish to comment on what you feel will be the most challenging (or most rewarding) about the program, or what you hope to gain from your time in Paris. Please be sure to let us know about your prior travel experience, if any, and your language skills (French or otherwise). Each application is examined on the basis of this statement, along with the applicant’s existing application materials on file with the University of Chicago.

Admission decisions will be communicated by June 9. Students will then receive pre-departure information and instructions for booking travel from Study Abroad.

Further Information

To discuss the Paris Pre-Orientation Program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Dana Currier in the Office of Study Abroad (Harper 211A; 773.702.6258;

Learn more about the
Center in Paris.

What you’ll see: 

Paris Pre-Orientation 2016 - Versailles - courtParis Pre-Orientation 2016 - Chemin des Dames - Students on the Observatory Tower with battlefields in the backgroundParis Pre-Orientation 2016 - Musée de l’Orangerie - NymphéasParis Pre-Orientation 2016 - Bordeaux - Miroir d’eauSeptember in Paris 2015 - MontmartreSeptember in Paris 2015 - Sacre Coeur September in Paris 2015 - Vaux le VicomteSeptember in Paris 2015 - Versailles