Contemporary Europe: July 8 - 15, 2016

Tuition: 1 week at $2,580

(not including airfare and insurance)

Paris: Arrive July 8, 2016

Day 1, July 8: Orientation and Residence Check-in

Our Program Guides will be at the airport to pick up all student arrivals. Early arrivals will get settled at our place of residence before regrouping to visit the very iconic Louvre where we will explore different perceptions of the body through time. How has the French Revolution and the Enlightenment influenced the way we understand our bodies today?  We will also investigate how art represents and challenges the Western values we cherish today.

Day 2, July 9: Nationalism and Anti-Semitism

The Marais in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements is one of the oldest and most popular areas in Paris. It is also home to a large Jewish community as well as LGBTQ community, rich with a beautiful, sacred, and tragic past. Beset by narrow, cobblestone streets and architectural structures ranging from gothic to art nouveau, the Marais is a peek inside France’s struggle for a national identity. While touring the Marais and parts of Nazi-occupied Paris, students will engage in captivating discussions on the history, as well as the rise, of anti-Semitism in France.

After grabbing a delicious falafel sandwich off rue des Rosiers, students will then have a chance to also visit the Musée national Picasso.

Day 3, July 10: Islamophobia, Migration and Refugees – Global problem or global solution?

After waking up in the morning to taste one of Paris’ best butter croissants at Patisserie Laurent Duchene, students will have a chance to explore the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to investigate the concept of tolerance and the benefits of intercultural dialogue. An organization that aims to build peace throughout the world, UNESCO provides the intellectual backdrop for understanding critical world issues such as the current global migrant crisis, terrorism, and the French practice of laïcité.

We will then travel to the 5th arrondisement to get a crash course on France’s cheeses before picnic and people-watching on the Seine in the afternoon.

Grey Euro Church
Aero Photo of Church

Day 4, July 11: Brussels

Although small in comparison to Paris and London, Brussels deserves to be more than a mere day trip from Paris. Students will discover the city of chocolate, waffles, fries (yes, they are in fact Belgian not French), and home to most of the European governmental institutions and myriads of non-governmental organizations that work together to create a united Europe.

Arriving at Gare Centrale in the center of Brussels, students will immediately be greeted by La Grand-Place, an iconic square exemplifying the diverse and tortured history of Belgium. After checking in to our residence, we will walk to the upscale Sablon area to taste delicious Belgian chocolates from Pierre Marcolini or Witamer (we will skip Godiva) while also passing the various shops housing old and new African art. As we make our way up Le Sablon we will stop by the Magritte Museum to introduce students to surrealism and its influence on pop-culture today.

At night, we will catch a performance at the Bozar.

Day 5, July 12: Brussels

The next day, students will participate in a historical, political, and cultural journey with tours of the European Parliament and the European Commission. They will learn about the European Union, what it is attempting to do, why it was created after World War II, and how it influences the United States. There, we will have a chance to speak with Parliamentarians and other governmental officials about having and creating a European identity.

We will also visit non-governmental organizations such as the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) to learn and discuss Europe’s fight against Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of exclusion in order to understand the construction of race and inequality.

Next door to the Parliament, students will walk to Place Jourdain, known for having the best frites in Belgium, then later gather at Place Luxembourg for an afternoon snack where young European civil servants hang out after work.

We will then head out to dinner at Place Saint Boniface facing a beautiful medieval church residing next to Brussels’ lively Matonge – the African quarter in Brussels.

Day 6, July 13: Return to Paris

Culture and Food

One cannot walk away from Paris without enjoying the pride and joy of French culture – the food! We will discover France through its culinary creations and the work it takes to create fine cuisine that has built the identity of a nation. But as any anthropologist would say, it is not enough to observe, we must participate! Students will enjoy a hands-on cooking class to understand how heightening our senses of taste and smell can brand a whole culture.

In the evening, students will shop for food at their local markets and collaborate to make their own French-style meal.

Day 7, July 14: Culture, Fashion, and Identity

The center of fashion, the city of Paris is also well-known for its haute couture and luxury goods. Apart from visiting the grand magasins of Paris to learn the ways Paris has changed the way we buy clothes, we will also delve into the concept of fashion itself – how it is linked to the rise of democracy, how it influences Western ideas of beauty, and how it attempts to shape our perception of our own bodies.

Today we will skip the Champs Elysee and head towards the Fondation Louis Vuitton to explore the links of fashion to art, gender, politics and culture. In the evening, we will then take part in the wondrous celebrations of Bastille Day commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution!

Day 8, July 15: Departure

Au Revoir!

French Cafe