CIEE Paris: Open Campus Program

Video and Photos


CIEE's Global Institute - Paris places you in one of the world's leading centers for art, cuisine, and fashion. Just minutes from campus, you'll find the lively Sentier district in the 2nd arrondissement, known for textile manufacturing and Internet start-ups. From there, you can explore rue Montorgueil - a pedestrian-only haven of cafes, markets, tantalizing sweets, and so much more.
Highlights include:
- Immersing yourself in French language and culture as you tour some of the city's cathedrals of culture, such as the Grands Boulevards, the Palais-Royal, and the Louvre
- Living with French hosts or sharing an apartment with other CIEE students
- Learning in classrooms with state-of-the-art technology and equipment
- Free high-speed Wi-Fi in classrooms and on campus
- Student Life staff with information on local events and volunteer opportunities

  • EXPERIENCE THE TRADITIONS and daily rituals of French life by spending a weekend with a local Parisian family in a homestay.
  • LET THE SEINE’S WATERWAYS, quays, and bridges transport you to breathtaking sights including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Palace de Versailles.
  • TAKE A LITERATURE, LANGUAGE, film, or philosophy class at the Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, located near the Bibliothèque Nationale
  • Design your own semester with a block in Paris and add two block in Cape Town, London, Rome, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Copenhagen, or Madrid

Questions & Answers


based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 9 of 9
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My CIEE Experience

This was my first time abroad and this program exceeded my expectations. The CIEE Paris staff is amazing and friendly. They love to get to know the students, and they are always around for questions. The professors really know their subjects and are always there to help students understand and learn more. Classes are longer than in the United States but not too long considering the classes are only six weeks long. The classes are taught English except for the French language classes. The language professors are patient and understanding but also strict enough that English isn't spoken during class. Most classes have some field trips which definitely help enhance the learning experience. My french history class went to the Pantheon which was really neat. I saw where Voltaire and Pierre and Marie Curie are buried. The study tours for were a big part of my experience because I used to be afraid to travel alone and with the study tour the whole program goes generally. The study tours were an opportunity to learn, and meet people in my program, and create some fun memories, from visiting a soccer stadium in Marseilles, to a chocolate museum in Belgium, to Omaha beach in Normandy. I made some friends that will last a lifetime, learned somethings I will never forget, and became more independent and even stopped being afraid to travel alone. It was overall an awesome experience and I definitely plan on coming back.

Yes, I recommend this program
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I highly recommend CIEE Open Campus Paris

I loved my experience with CIEE Open Campus Paris! Starting from the program staff to the courses to the city, I give this program a 10/10. CIEE itself is super organized and entirely capable of making the entire VISA / paperwork process simple and easy for students to understand. The staff on site are so supportive and kind to us and I've never felt anything but welcoming comfort and kindness, and the professors you will have are fully committed to making sure to provide an academic experience that compliments the short six weeks of your open campus experience well. Paris itself is an incredible city in which you can buddy up with the other American CIEE students, or find a way to venture out entirely on your own.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Because I am not a French speaker I believe I did not get as much out of the program as I could have if I was fluent in the language. While French people are kind, it can be very difficult to break that initial barrier to build friendships without the knowledge of the language. Perhaps if you want to study in France, but your language skills are not so great you should study in places like Nice or Marseille. While individual communication was very difficult, CIEE was most accomadating and helpful during the whole assimilation process. In one instance one of the Student Life Directors even made a phone call on my behalf so I could have a manicure appointment.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Would recommend to any student looking for an open experience

When I first told people that I was going to CIEE, I've gotten a lot of worry about what the program was and what it meant that it was a non-profit, but I knew it was something I was going to love because the money wasn't the first priority. Being the first session of the open campus program there were some kinks, but I wouldn't have changed my experience for anything. I've learned so much about the French culture, people and history by being able to explore and be open to new possibilities. The staff was friendly and available at all times which made me feel very comfortable. I didn't like the housing situation and I'm pretty sure they didn't like us, so in future I would explore finding something else, maybe closer to the campus and more open to rowdy American teenagers. My tip would be to rely on your instincts and remain open to the fact that this program is meant to give you the most independence and expect you to use that independence wisely. Future participants need to know to ask for help at anytime, remember that your academics are just as important as your adventures and to have fun.

How can this program be improved?
I would have a few tips - one being the attendence policy. We get that studies are important, but American students are used to heavy work loads in small periods of time. When you are abroad, sometimes you need a day for yourself and if you can learn the same amount and take some time to rest, then I think that should be acceptable. Also, the housing situation... The employees at Melon District I found to be rude and disrespectful at times. They were a hotel, but wanted us to be independent and not ask for extra things. However, if it were housing, we would be more inclined to do it ourselves, like cleaning our sheets and using a kitchen that should be stocked with the right tools, but wasn't. the hotel limited us, but then judged us at the same time. If anything at all were improved, I would say the housing situation.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I loved the semester I spent in Paris and would absolutely recommend this program. It was challenging, both academically and in terms of adjusting to a new culture - and most definitely worth it. I learned so much and my French (spoken and written) improved drastically because of the immersion setting, as well as staying with a host who spoke very little English. The staff are caring and passionate about what they do, and they genuinely want you to succeed and feel comfortable with your new surroundings.

How can this program be improved?
An SNCF 101 during orientation would be very helpful (i.e., a few pointers on buying train tickets and taking trains outside of the five zones).
Yes, I recommend this program
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The best experience I've had studying abroad!

What's not to like about CIEE Paris Open Campus? Their staff are amazing and the classes immerse you as much as they can with the city. Mixed with the atmosphere and endless food of Paris, this is a European dream come true with an added bonus of getting college credits (if your college accepts the classes).

The pre-departure showed how organized their program is with their director, Brent Keever, hosting a video session, giving a rundown of Paris, what to expect, what to do when you land in Paris, and other useful information with a quick and useful presentation. For those who miss the presentation, there is a vod of it.

The staff at CIEE Paris also provides many activities for those who have similar interest ranging from fitness to cooking to arts. It's a good way to meet other students on campus and explore the city! Along with the outings are program-wide excursions where they take the entire campus to another area. For the two blocks I stayed, we went to Bordeaux, France and Brussels, Belgium!

With so many options to how long you can stay for their Open Campus program, it can lead to either a short-lived life in the City of Lights, or a long couple months of adventure with your new peers. Pack as little and lightly for Paris. You can choose to bring some tennis shoes if you like to run (which I do), but don't expect to wear them every day unless you like getting stared at on the streets or in the metro. You'll want to head to La Gallerie Lafayette or the nearby stores and pick up some Parisian clothes. Plan ahead for the weather!

CIEE Paris Open Campus also offered a home stay or dormitory option. For those who aren't too shy and want to be immersed with the French and their lifestyle, choose the home stay. I did and I don't regret it one bit. My host parents and my host siblings were amazing. They had different meals every night the French would normally have (along with wine, baguette, and cheese to go with, of course), and they very much like to socialize during dinner. Though my host siblings were busy for the most part, the time I actually had to spend with them was priceless, especially on the last day of my stay.

Safety is a huge concern to the staff and they always want their students to feel safe. Although there has been several "attacks" while I was in Paris, I never once felt in danger from while I was there. The only time I felt uneasy was when beggars or those who ask to sign petitions approach you since they're at all the major tourist areas like the Louvre.

I've gotten asked what my favorite part of my trip was in Paris was so here it goes: I befriended a person during Block 1 of Paris Open Campus. Her name is Zoey. We hung out quite often as we had similar classes and were both part of a home stay. On Valentine's Day, we bought cheap pink champagne at the grocery store down the street from where I stayed and plastic champagne glasses to go along with. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower with the champagne and glass in our bags and managed to get through security. We climbed the tower and got to the very top floor and had our champagne instead of paying ~€30 for it.

This was my first study abroad experience and I don't regret it at all. It has been a life-changing experience and I've made many friends and memories I won't soon forget. If I can do it again, I would. Anyone interested in Paris or Europe in general should look at CIEE and their many programs.

How can this program be improved?
The desk-chairs they have in certain rooms aren't the best and I've seen some students with Macbooks fall from the not-so-sturdy desk-chairs. It could be replaced with better desks like those in the Americas or having tables.
Yes, I recommend this program

Paris: A Cultural Adventure

I spent a semester in CIEE's Open Campus during Summer Session 1 and want to say that it was an incredible experience. I enrolled in the language track and took Intermediate French 1 to improve my French skills.
As for the Global Institute itself, the location was perfect! It was in a well known area in just about the center of Paris. The program staff was incredibly welcoming, supportive, interactive, and friendly. It seems that each student was taken into consideration and their well being was always of concern. Also, orientation sessions were very thorough as to where students could access basic necessities in the area and maneuver themselves around the city. With that, I felt that I was able to safely navigate and explore the city. Not to mention, the group trips coordinated by CIEE were very fun and enlightening! It was nice to see other parts of France and the cultural history associated with those areas.
In regards to academics and the course I took in French, I learned so much and made great progress. My professor was very attentive and engaged us in tours of Paris' historic and artistic quarters. I felt that the professor was able to adapt to us as students and provide us with the care that fit us. My French skills were improved significantly even living in an apartment with English speaking students.
The living arrangements were also pleasant. The apartment was in great condition and came with basic living necessities. The location was also in a very friendly area with many grocery stores, restaurants, shops, and a park nearby.
Overall, this experience was incredibly worth it and I walked away with wonderful memories, improved language. skills, a stronger sense of Independence and a richer knowledge of Paris. I was able to meet many new people through the program and make lasting friendships. I strongly recommend this program to anyone seeking a culturally stimulating experience.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I can suggest as far as improvement goes is to be a bit more thorough in orientation session to prevent any possible incidents due to differences in culture, laws, and perhaps even lifestyle.
Yes, I recommend this program
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CIEE Paris

I loved the program as well as Paris itself! I thought the center did an amazing job matching me for my homestay. That was one of the best parts of my time in Paris and why I learned so much. I am still in touch with my host and know I will be for a while so thank you for giving me such a wonderful and caring host! One improvement could be the excursions. We went to Bordeaux which was fun but I wish we got to go to a different francophone country to compare cultures.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe more overview or help with classes at the French universities
Yes, I recommend this program
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Great Social Program but Academics are Problematic

I enjoyed my time with CIEE. I was placed with a wonderful host family that I am still in contact with and I will always cherish those times. The social planning staff are really wonderful and welcome students into their culture, I learned a lot from Jean Paul and Linda!

Unfortunately I felt that the academics did not reflect the purpose of students' study abroad experience. Classes were either Tuesday Thursday or Monday Wednesday Friday when I personally believe they should both be twice a week classes to allow students the opportunity to have a 3/4 day weekend. This change would allow students to take cheaper flights and trains to travel which is an integral part to the study abroad experience. There was no leniency in the attendance policy which was actually stricter than any class I have had at my home institution.

Technology was sometimes banned in classes which hindered students who like to keep online notes, or for students like me who like to use class notes in our papers that were pre-assigned. This ban is not student friendly and was tedious.

Although the academic portion of the program was flawed and often superfluous, the staff in Paris really care for the students and I felt incredibly welcome in the center solely because of the staff.

How can this program be improved?
See review above, I feel that many of my criticisms also offer solutions as well.
Yes, I recommend this program


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