The American University of Paris: Summer in Paris
Text: Heidi Fuller Love | Photo © American University Of Paris
Every summer, The American University of Paris (AUP) opens its doors to visiting students from around the world who come to spend a few weeks taking classes at AUP’s Summer Institutes in the heart of Paris.
Chartered in 1962, AUP is renowned as an international centre of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Just 15 minutes’ walk from the Eiffel tower, it is not just its enviable location that puts this world-renowned university in a class of its own. The university’s curriculum combines liberal arts inquiry with preparation for professional life, and student-centred, active learning. The university also offers small class sizes, which ensure that students benefit from their interactions with professors and fellow classmates.
AUP’s multidisciplinary Summer Institutes combine intensive learning with fun, educational excursions, to make sure that students experience both the classroom setting and the cosmopolitan heart of the French capital.
“Our summer institutes cover six thematic categories, with classes lasting from three to six weeks and sessions in June and July,” says Lisa Palazzolo, AUP’s Communications Coordinator. “As a fully-accredited university, our summer courses are transferable for academic credit to the US university system. Students are also able to audit classes if they are not looking to earn credit and just want to take a class for fun,” she adds.
French Language Skills
One of the most popular programmes for visiting students is the immersive French Language and Culture Institute. Students take a test and are placed in one of four levels of French study.
The main aim is to improve grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation and standards are rigorous but there are also perks, such as the chance to start the day with fresh coffee and croissants before class. “It’s not just the classes themselves that are immersive – the entire course is immersive with plenty of cultural activities that take learning beyond the classroom: in the afternoons, our students can join walking tours through Paris’ cobbled streets and explore the historic quarters of the city,” Lisa explains.
Apart from offering students the chance to learn French ‘a la Française’, the university’s other summer institutes include a Creative Writing Institute that gives students the opportunity to study, write and share poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction with professional writers. “It’s a wonderful chance for students to interact with some of the top people in their field – whether novelists, poets or essay writers,” says Lisa. “We get students of all ages who come to take classes over the summer, particularly in our Art History and Fine Art Institute, where students get to know Paris through its many wonderful museums, whilst refining their drawing and painting skills,” she adds.
Other summer institutes include The Communications and Media Studies Institute and The International Business Institute, both of which allow students to engage in an in-depth exploration of these subjects through an international lens. “Students also get a chance to get up close and personal with local culture via a range of summer excursions offered by The American University of Paris Cultural Programmes: they can join a tour that will take them to admire the flowers and Japanese-inspired gardens of Impressionist painter Monet’s home in Giverny, or they can revisit the tragic history of World War II on the beaches of Normandy,” says Lisa. “There’s even a tour for students who want to learn about the history of Champagne, before tasting some of that famous fizz.”
The University also helps students with accommodation and works in partnership with a reputable local housing agency. “No one will feel lost or alone here – we are based in this wonderful city and it is a fundamental part of our curriculum,” Lisa continues. “Our professors and teachers incorporate Paris into their teaching to create a continuous dialogue with the city – one that will help our students get to know the city famed for its gourmet cuisine, architectural landmarks, world-class museums and celebrated artists. We help them to really experience the life and soul of this fascinating, cosmopolitan city.”
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