Colby in Dijon


Colby in Dijon offers incoming first-year Colby students an in-depth, language-intensive experience of cross-cultural study in the heart of France. Through a structured, demanding program of classes 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 open to students with various levels of French, from two years in high school to advanced placement.


All Colby in Dijon participants are registered at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, and have full use of the campus. They take French language courses at the Centre International d’Etudes Francaises 

(CIEF), a branch of the university that specializes in the teaching of French to foreigners. Students are placed at levels corresponding to their abilities, andattend classes on a daily basis along with students from other countries. The Global Entry Semester has a fixed curriculum that includes the following courses:

  • French language (at the appropriate level for each student)
  • French History
  • Portrait of a City: Dijon (art history)
  • Contemporary France Seminar with the Resident Director (offered in English and French)

French faculty hired by Colby and the resident director teach these courses. The courses are conventionally graded and grades count towards students’ Colby grade point average (GPA). They satisfy a number of Colby’s all-college requirements: language, history, social science, art, and international diversity. More detailed information is available from the Off-Campus Study Office.


Excursions are an important part of the semester and enable students to see fascinating parts of France. They are integrated into both the history and art history courses. Excursions for 2018 included:

  • The South of France
  • Paris
  • The Loire Valley
  • Lyon
  • Northern Burgundy
  • Strasbourg with Colby in Salamanca group
  • Normandy beaches


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. It is a portal to French civilization and culture. It serves as a resource for class assignments in the first-year student seminar. 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 in their host families. Not all the host families are traditional. Some families have children and some do not. Some are traditional families and some are single women who want to share their apartments with a Colby student. 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.


For the fall semester of 2019, the program will begin with arrival in France on August 28 (departure from Colby on August 27) and will end on December 15. There will be a weeklong break from October 26- November 3. There are also some weekends free for personal travel, but attendance at all classes and group activities is required. Parents who wish to visit their sons or daughters should not expect that students would be able to miss classes. More details on travel will be given students in the program handbook and on site by the resident director.


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.


All students receive a “carte culture” that gives them special discounts at cultural activities, which include: concerts (classical, jazz, rock), operas, theater and cinema.


There is a modern, clean gym in the center of Dijon that welcomes Colby students each fall. Students usually begin their membership in October, since the month of September is so busy with activities and excursions. Colby will reimburse half of the membership fee up to €80.


The fees for the Global Entry Semester are equivalent to the comprehensive fees for Colby College. In addition to tuition, the fee covers room and board in Dijon (including a meal allowance for lunches), transportation in Dijon, all meals and activities during excursions, spending money in Paris, airfare from a point of departure chosen by Colby, and transfer to Dijon. It does not include: books, meals during vacation periods, insurance, laundry expenses, and personal travel.


Safety is of prime concern to Colby and its programs abroad. The resident director of the Dijon program monitors the United States Embassy in France’s advice, and will modify the program when and if the Embassy believes there is any danger to US citizens. Dijon is a relatively safe city, and students will be briefed upon arrival about they way they should stay safe in Dijon and more generally in Europe.

Dijon has a teaching hospital and medical care is excellent. Students will be given specific information on health professionals when they arrive in Dijon. Note that students are responsible for their own health insurance, and proof of health insurance must be submitted before students leave for France.


View a scanned copy from of the 2018 student-produced Colby in Dijon GES Student Guidebook which was sent to incoming GES students prior to their departure in Fall 2018.


You will be introduced to LINK, a student group that will be in contact with you throughout the Global Entry Semester and during on-campus orientation  LINK leaders and members help GES students transition to life on-campus through extensive communication and various activities. This process begins as soon as you choose to enroll at Colby and continues through the spring of the following year. LINK students lived where you are about to live and studied in the same classrooms—they’ll be available to answer your questions before your departure, while you are abroad, and when you arrive in Maine. Please feel free to contact either of the students listed below or the Office of Off-Campus Study to discuss questions or concerns you may have.

2019 Student LINK Leader Contacts (new LINK Leaders are chosen each Spring):
Maria Minuesa (Dijon ’18) [email protected]
Jose Minuesa (Dijon ’17) [email protected]


Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS)
Eustis 103
4500 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901
[email protected]


Preparations For Your Semester Abroad

  • A Timeline for your Global Entry Semester Preparations (COMING SOON FOR Fall 2021)
  • Facebook group for Fall 2021 (this is a closed group for GES Dijon students and their parents/guardians only)
    • GES Colby in Dijon 2021  (COMING SOON)
  • Student Visa for France.  All GES students must have a passport valid for six months beyond your return from abroad (valid through the end of June, next year, 2022).  If you do not have a passport, or it is expiring before the end of June 2022, please apply or renew now.  A valid passport is necessary to apply for a student visa.  More information on applying for your student visa, along with forms and official letters from Colby will be mailed to you by early June.
  • Student and Parent Handbooks (mailed by early June)
    • Colby in Dijon
      • Pre-Departure Handbook
      • Parent Handbook
  • Student Guidebook (the new/updated guidebook is mailed to students in July)
    • Colby in Dijon Student Guidebook
  • Traveling to Dijon:   Information on traveling to and visiting can be found in the student & parent handbooks.

Colby Information