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Colby in Dijon

Program Information for Juniors

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Established in 1985, Colby in Dijon offers students an in-depth, language-intensive experience of cross-cultural study in the heart of France. Through a structured, demanding program of classes, a homestay, and cultural interaction, Colby in Dijon seeks to provide students with an understanding of the differences between the American and French ways of life, and to enable students to better understand the complexities of French culture.

The program is offered during the fall semester only, and is available to any student (Colby or non-Colby) who has completed at least one semester of college French or its equivalent. The program is also open to selected incoming Colby freshmen. The resident director for the fall of 2007 is Professor Jonathan Weiss of the department of French and Italian.

Dijon is located about 300 km southeast of Paris in the famous wine-producing region of Burgundy, but is easily accessible to the capital via high speed train. A city of about 200,000 people, Dijon has been virtually unaffected by the destruction of wars and is renowned for its architectural beauty. The city center contains small, narrow streets that are reserved for pedestrians. Theaters, museums, and art galleries abound. There is an efficient bus system that links the center of the city with the suburbs and night buses enable people in most neighborhoods to take public transportation as late as midnight. All students will receive bus passes.


Academic Program

Colby in Dijon students are required to take 16 credit hours of courses in Dijon, including language courses (a four-week course in September and a nine-week fall semester), a history course, and one elective. French language courses are required of all students, and are offered on the main campus of the Université de Bourgogne by the Centre International d'Études Françaises, a branch of the university that specializes in the teaching of French. Students are placed at levels corresponding to their abilities, and attend classes on a daily basis along with students from other countries. Language classes are divided into two sessions: September (Intensive French at the student's level) and October-December. From October to December, students will study French at one of the following levels: intermédiaire (126-127), moyen (128-131) or avancé (231-297). A grade of C or better in the intermédiaire level satisfies Colby's language requirement.

Numbers of upper-level students tend to be small and thus programs can be customized. Sophomore and junior students will choose their remaining courses from a variety of possibilities: a course in the history of Burgundy (including excursions); the resident director's seminar; a course in art history; and courses at the Université de Bourgogne (in literature, history, etc.). Students with sufficient language preparation may also choose to do a local internship.

Courses taken by Colby sophomores and juniors in the past have included:

  • French literature of the 20th century;
  • Textual analysis in French literature;
  • Painting;
  • The European Union (Government)
  • The History of Urbanism in France (History)

    Internships have included:

  • Working in a psychiatric hospital;
  • Working at the Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain;
  • Student teaching at the Lycée Saint-Bénigne.

    Grades from Colby-in-Dijon are submitted by the resident director and become part of the student's Colby GPA. Add/drop and pass/fail deadlines apply as they would at Colby. Students should keep in mind that the language requirement must be satisfied with graded courses.



    The homestay, in which students are placed with selected families in and around Dijon, is as important an aspect of the program as the academic courses. The homestay is more than a place to sleep and eat; it is here that students will develop their spoken French and learn the most about France.

    During the week, students take their breakfasts and evening meals in their host families. On weekends when there are no excursions, students are offered all of their meals with their host families. Students are given a stipend to enable them to purchase lunches during the week. They are also given a bus pass and, if they live out of the city center, a taxi allowance.

    Not all of the host families are traditional families. Some of them consist of young, professional women, with or without children. The resident director will try to place each student with the family that best seems to fit his or her profile in the housing form included with the registration packet, but there can be no guarantee of a perfect match. We can, however, assure students that only the families that receive excellent reviews by former Colby in Dijon participants are selected to participate in the homestay program.


    Social Life and Extra-curricular Activities

    Animateurs: Each year Colby arranges to have a number of French college-age people, including university students, to work with the group in October. Normally, there will be one French student assigned to two or three American students. These animateurs et animatrices have specific responsibilities toward the group during the first two weeks of the program. Their role is to spend time showing students around Dijon and organizing some social events for the group. They are expected to communicate in French at every opportunity. The animateurs will also be included in group dinners and may continue to spend time with students during the semester.

    Cultural Events: From time to time, the program organizes cultural events open to all students at no extra cost; these may be concerts, plays, or operas. Colby in Dijon will also reimburse students half of the cost of attending cultural events (such as plays, movies in French, etc.).

    Excursions: In addition to a four-day excursion to Paris in early October, excursions to the Chateaux de la Loire, Évian les Bains in the Alps, and the Jura mountains are normally part of the program. The French civilization course includes one overnight and two day excursions in the Burgundy area. A detailed schedule of excursions and field trips will be given students upon their arrival in Dijon.

    Fitness: There are a number of gyms in town that offer aerobic classes and weight training at reasonable rates. Colby will pay for half of each student's membership (up to a reasonable limit) in one of these private clubs for students who wish to join.

    The Université de Bourgogne has a very varied sports program, but there are no varsity sports as there are at Colby. In early October, students will be given a schedule of sports classes offered at the university; these can be taken at no additional cost.

    Community Service: Students may volunteer to give a few hours each week to the Secours Populaire de France, a non-religious charity that helps poor people and women in difficult situations. Activities include helping distribute food and other items, and helping raise money for the organization.

    Program Schedule 2007 (Subject to change)

    August 23 Departure from Boston's Logan International Airport
    August 24 Arrival in Paris; chartered coach to Dijon
    August 25 Orientation in Dijon
    August 26 Students move in with host families
    August 27 Placement exam for language courses
    August 28 Courses begin
    September 2 Outdoor excursion (hike), weather permitting
    September 8-9 Excursion to Alps
    September 21 Exams for September language course
    September 23-26 Excursion to Paris
    September 27-29 Excursion to Loire Valley
    October 6-7 Excursion to Vézelay, Fontenay, and Northern Burgundy
    October 20 Day trip to Lyon
    October 29-Nov 2 Fall break (no classes)
    November 10 Day trip to Beaune
    November 22 Gala Thanksgiving dinner with host families
    December 1-2 Excursion to Jura Mountains
    December 4-8 Final exams
    December 8 Final reception for students at Colby apartment
    December 9 Return to Boston


    Program Fees

    The fees for Colby programs abroad are equivalent to the comprehensive fees for Colby College: currently $23,050 per semester in 2007-2008. (Please note that program fees are also subject to any annual comprehensive fee increases.) Students are billed by Colby, and are exempt from the $1000 study abroad fee. The fee covers: tuition, room, board or a board allowance, excursions, and roundtrip airfare and transfers to program sites. For Colby in Dijon, fees also include a monthly bus pass and limited internet access. Books, meals during vacation periods, insurance, laundry expenses, and personal travel are not included. A forfeitable deposit of $500 is due at the time of acceptance.


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