Frequently Asked Questions

What language class choices do I have?

You may select from either :
  • The Institut Catholique language program, including 15 hours of instruction PER WEEK for four weeks at all levels—beginning to advanced
  • OR
  • The Survival French program with 30 hours of instruction (approximately 3 weeks) at the elementary or intermediate level

How large are the different classes?

At the Institut, classes usually number 12 to 22 students; ESA Survival French classes usually have 6 to 12 students for the language class and about 30 students in the culture class.

When do classes take place?

At the Institut Catholique, classes are Monday through Friday 9-12. Classes last for the entire month of July.

In Survival French, classes are held in the morning. Your first class may begin at 8:30 or 9:30 and your last class will end at 11:30 or 12:30. Survival French classes last for the first three weeks of July.

Do I have to register for college credit?

Most of the campuses affiliated with ESA require that students enroll for academic credit at their institution. Please check with your college or university for more information.

When do we have the civilization lectures, museum visits and walking tours?

Most of the lectures, visits and walking tours will take place on weekday afternoons. Times will be posted daily at each dorm.

What are my housing options?

Single rooms (for one person) and twin rooms (for two people) are available. Bathrooms may be private or shared. See here for more information. Not all dorms have elevators, so be prepared to climb several flights of stairs (this is good incentive to pack lightly!)

How much is airfare?

You must book and pay for your airfare separately. Airfare prices change constantly. ESA has a group rate available from LAX and from San Francisco. Students on the group flight will be met at the Paris airport and transferred to the dorms. If you arrange your own flight, we advise pre-arranging a shuttle from the airport to the dorms (e.g. SuperShuttle or Parishuttle (carefully note the web address on for Parishuttle!)). If you choose to take a taxi, it will cost about 75 euros from Charles De Gaulle Airport to the dorms (less from Orly airport). Although public transportation is available, as well, it is not recommended for those unfamiliar with Paris. If you arrive in Paris before July 1 or plan on staying after July 30, you will need to make your own lodging arrangements. No dorm facilities will be available.

Is Financial aid available?

ESA does not provide financial aid. You should inquire at your home campus regarding financial aid and scholarship opportunities. ESA does, however, offer a limited number of $100 to 500 scholarships (see here). Also, especially reliable students may want to apply for a Dorm Assistant position (see here) to receive a discount on housing. 2015 deadlines are May 1 for the ESA Scholarships and March 15 for the Dorm Assistant positions.

In Paris, how do we get around?

You'll be given a bus/metro pass for July so you can ride anywhere within the city limits of Paris for free!

What are the advantages of this program over others?

Inclusiveness: all the activities (except ticketed events) on the calendar are included in the fee. Quality: small classes, faculty attention, attention to detail, knowledge and experience of the faculty Location: in the heart of the heart of Paris, just a few blocks from the Luxembourg Gardens. Great price: programs offered by other U.S. universities can cost more than twice as much but without all of the activities included in ESA.

How many people are in the program?

We expect between 100-115 participants plus faculty in the 2016 summer program.

How old are the participants?

Past ESA participants have been between 17 and 82 years old. There's something for everybody!

How much free time will I have?

In general, most evenings are free, as well as at least one afternoon per week and one day on most weekends. You'll likely have a free weekend in the latter part of the month (depending on ticketed events). During this weekend, you can choose to explore Paris on your own, stay in Paris to explore more sites or watch the last stage of the Tour de France as the cyclists arrive on the Champs-Elysées. Many ESA participants also use this time to explore other cities in France-- such as visiting the D-Day beaches and Mont St. Michel, traveling to the south of France or even taking a day-long excursion to Brussels.

How should I prepare for my trip?

We have a list of books and films on this website. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with some of the history of Paris before arriving-- it will enhance your enjoyment of the Civilization lectures, the walking tours and the museum visits. It's also a good idea to read a Paris guidebook (or two!) so that you'll have some ideas of things you want to see and do when you arrive.

We also encourage you to break in a good pair of walking shoes before you arrive. You'll be surprised by how much walking you do! The good news is: all the walking means guilt-free pastries! But you want to make sure your travels aren't held up by blisters or sore muscles! :-)