Rue-Musette  Dijon city photo


Established in 1985, Colby in Dijon offers an in-depth, language intensive, structured experience of cross-cultural study in the heart of France. Dijon is a medium-sized city with a university that dates back to the middle ages. Because there are few American students in Dijon, there is more of an opportunity to speak French and to meet French people than in Paris. The Colby in Dijon program encourages the use of the French language and cultural integration through a homestay with a carefully chosen French family and through a variety of cultural activities, including some with French students.

Available during the fall semester only (late August to mid-December), Colby in Dijon combines academic work with cultural activities, and includes a week-long break at the end of October.

Dijon: The City

Dijon is located approximately 300 kilometers southeast of Paris and is easily accessible from the capital via high-speed train. A medium-sized city of almost 200,000 inhabitants, Dijon contains many famous cultural attractions, including the spectacular palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, the Puits de Moïse, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which houses one of the finest collections of painting and sculpture in France. The city has the largest preserved old quarter in France, some of which is now a pedestrian mall.

Dijon has one of the most perfected public transportation systems in France. Students will have classes in a variety of places—the university, a lycée, the archaeological museum, and the director’s apartment—but will be able to get easily from one place to the other.

The director’s apartment is in the center of the city, and is where Professor Weiss and his wife, Dace, live. The seminar on contemporary France is held there, as are a variety of program activities.

See a glimpse of beautiful Dijon.


Courses: All students take French language courses, taught on the university campus through the Centre International d’Etudes Françaises (CIEF). In addition to these courses, juniors attending the Dijon program have two options:
1. Take special Colby in Dijon courses. This option is recommended for students who have not yet taken a 200-level French course at Colby.

Colby in Dijon courses, taught in French, include the following:

French History from the Gallo-Roman period to the Revolution (H)
Portrait of a City: The History of Dijon through its Art and Architecture (A)
Contemporary France Seminar (equivalent to FR233) (offered in English and French) ( S, I)
Contemporary French Literature (open to students who have completed a 200-level French course)

2. Take one or two regular university courses at the Universite de Bourgogne, as well as one or two special Colby in Dijon courses. This option is open to juniors who have already taken at least one 200-level French course at Colby. University courses begin in late September or early October; there is no final exam, but students will be required to write a mini-mémoire of approximately 25 pages in French. Courses that Colby students have taken in past years include: Sociology, Modern History, History of Urbanism, Comparative Literature, The Institutions of the European Community, Politics of South Africa, Comparative Political Systems.

You will have plenty of time to choose your courses in September, and the add-drop period in Dijon is very generous. It is impossible to know which university courses will be offered until the beginning of September, although courses offered in past years will usually be repeated.

You will, if you successfully complete the intermediate language course with a grade of C or better, satisfy Colby’s language requirement. Students who do not complete the intermediate level will normally be required to take a semester of French at Colby to satisfy the language requirement. You may also satisfy the arts (A) requirement, the history (H) requirement, and the social science (S) requirement, as well as the international diversity (I) requirement depending on which classes you take.

Grades and Credits

Grades are assigned by the resident director upon recommendation from the French faculty. For Colby students, all grades count toward the grade point average (GPA). The following Colby all-college requirements may be satisfied by courses taken in Dijon: language (L), social science (S), history (H), art (A), and international diversity (I). The normal number of credits satisfied in Dijon is 16, the equivalent of a full semester. Additional credits may be earned with the approval of the resident director.


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 September. 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.
Cultural Events: All students receive a “carte culture” that gives them special discounts at cultural activities, which include: concerts (classical, jazz, rock), operas, theater and cinema. Colby in Dijon reimburses 50% of the cost of cultural events in French.

Excursions (The cost of excursions is included in the program fee): All the excursions have a pedagogical as well as recreational purpose, and professors occasionally accompany the group. Excursions include:

A visit to the Burgundy countryside
A three-day excursion to the French Riviera.
A two-day excursion to northern Burgundy (including the pilgrimage town of Vézelay and the Cistercian abbey of Fontenay);
A four-day excursion to Paris, emphasizing the medieval and renaissance periods of the city, and with ample free time;
A three-day excursion to the châteaux of the Loire Valley;
A day excursion to the city of Beaune and its 15th century hospital;
A day excursion to the city of Lyon, with emphasis on its architecture

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 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 (see Pre-Departure Handbook)

Program Fees

The fees for Colby programs abroad are equivalent to the comprehensive fees for Colby College. (Please note that program fees are also subject to any annual comprehensive fee increases.) Students are billed by Colby, and are exempt from the 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.


Colby in Dijon is open to students in good standing who have a cumulative grand point average of 2.7 or higher (on a four point scale) and have had at least one semester of college French or its equivalent (or 2-3 years of French in high school).

To Apply

Colby programs abroad are open to any Colby student, regardless of major, who meets the specific program requirements outlined above.

Colby students should follow the Colby Application for Approval process due February 20.