St Germain des Près
Houses in Montmartre

Student Orientation Activities

After students arrive in Paris and settle into their housing, orientation will take place over the course of the first few days. This will be followed by other activities and visits in the following weeks of the semester. The initial orientation is designed to give students the knowledge and the skills to help them make an easier transition to life in Paris. Student orientation activities include guided tours in and around the city to help them understand how to use the métro system, begin to establish a clearer sense of the city as a whole and begin introducing some different neighborhoods. Students studying during a semester program are required to take a French language class which will help all students make quick improvements in their French–whether they are starting from zero or have taken a number of French language courses before coming to Paris. The highlight of the semester program orientation period is a weekend excursion outside Paris. (Summer and January term students will take one or two half-day trips outside of Paris). Each semester program has a different destination. This may be Normandy and the D-Day beaches or other semesters we’ll visit the famous Chateaux of the Loire Valley, or the Strasbourg region in the East, the Champagne region east of Paris or the Burgundy region Southeast of Paris. For those on the short term study programs (January and Summer months), we will have at least one half-day visit away from Paris. Possible destinations: Versailles, Provins, Giverny, Chantilly, Chartres, Fontainebleau.

Examples of Orientation Activities:

  • Welcome Dinner in typical French restaurant
  • Visit the collections at the Louvre museum
  • Visit to the Musée Albert Kahn and its beautiful gardens
  • Guided tour of the architecture of Paris

Other PICA pages which may interest you: