SEGL in Paris

JULY 16 – AUGUST 1, 2013


Participants: Click here to view important trip information and download forms

Paris, if experienced correctly, will give you a piece of the truth you need to lead a meaningful life. This interdisciplinary, introspective adventure will challenge you to take these words seriously. Many of history’s greatest philosophers, painters, and politicians–Rousseau and Sartre, Picasso and Monet, Robespierre and de Gaulle–have called Paris home. Each of them has sought truth. And each has made an indelible mark on the city and the world. Drawing inspiration from these minds, this course will connect you with the principal themes in Parisian intellectual history through an interdisciplinary exploration of the city. Topics of  study will include the ideology of revolution, the nature and value of art, existentialism, and the contemporary collision of American, French, and Islamic identities. Your journey will culminate in a final mini-Credo that builds on course readings, discussions, journal writing, and site visits. You will also return home with enough practical knowledge of the city to return in the future as self-sufficient travelers.

In this course, Paris is your classroom. This means you will immerse yourself in the life and thought of the most fascinating city in the world. You will walk on the streets and master the Metro system instead of riding on top of tour buses. You will learn to be
self-sufficient, communicating in French whenever possible and knowing how to protect and advocate for yourself in an unfamiliar culture. You will learn to recognize and avoid behavior the French consider rude or inappropriate. As a result, you will experience Paris’ “hidden treasures” like few visitors ever do.

From the lofty upper deck of the Eiffel Tower to the subterranean catacombs that form a maze underneath the city, you will observe Paris from many different points of view. Among many other activities, you will contemplate the Mona Lisa’s smile at the Louvre, the Thinker’s struggle at the Rodin museum, and the Impressionists’ brush strokes at the Musée d’Orsay. You will compare the timelessness of Notre Dame’s gothic façade with the shockingly modern Pompidou Center. You will storm the Place de la Bastille and walk triumphantly down the Champs-Élysées. In spite of this busy schedule, there will be time to eat Nutella crepes on the banks of the Seine, haggle with portraitists in Montmartre, and perhaps even catch the final stage of the Tour de France!

Meanwhile, in evening “témoignages,” our group will reflect on the day’s activities. The wide range of topics will allow you to offer thoughts, concerns and experiences, and–most of all–to learn from each other. In addition to the “témoignages,” and your formal and informal French language exercises, daily excursions and discussions will enhance your intellectual experiences.

Prerequisite: 2 years of high school French are preferred but not required.

While each day is different, you should expect their experience to be filled with discussion, reflection, and discovery. Most days will begin with a brief morning session to prepare for the day’s events. The group will then embark on an exploration of some of the best sites Paris has to offer. Lunch is scheduled into the daily itinerary and is at the expense of the student. Evening debriefing sessions allow students to share and reflect on their experiences. Students should come prepared to travel throughout Paris by foot and by metro.

The group will be based at MIJE, a respected, well-supervised international student center located on the world-famous Marais district just steps from Notre Dame and countless other sights. A metro stop near the MIJE will provide an efficient gateway for numerous excursions.


Any student who wishes may request a formal written evaluation based on her or his engagement and investment in the course. Evaluations will consider a student’s willingness to immerse in Parisian culture, improve French speaking and writing skills, learn self-sufficiency skills, participate in “témoignages” and other discussions, and to complete assignments before and during the program, including the preparation and presentation of the final mini-Credo.

SEGL Director Noah Bopp and longtime French instructor Martha Golden have known each other for 15 years. Together, they led expeditions for advanced high school students to Paris from 2001-2007. SEGL in Paris retains the best from those expeditions, which earned consistent accolades from both students and parents.

Martha has taught three levels of high school French at the UNC School of the Arts since 1993. She has a BA (magna cum laude) in French from Duke University and an MA in French Language and Civilization from NYU in Paris, France. While at Duke she studied in Paris for a year with the Sweet Briar College Junior Year in France Program. After her NYU coursework she stayed in Paris for 18 months to finish her thesis and work as a translator. With Noah’s help, she created and for 6 years led a summer program in Paris for academically gifted high school students with the Duke University Talent Identification Program.

Noah is Founder and Director of SEGL, where he is known to co-opt the occasional French class and lecture on existentialism, the French Revolution, or the political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He is proficient in French and the inner workings of the Paris Métro, can give a highlights tour of the Louvre in 90 minutes, and counts the French masterpieces Diva and Danton among his all-time favorite films.

Depending on enrollment numbers, SEGL may add additional staff members.

Required text: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
(ISBN: 9780684824994; available on-line at for approx. $15.00)
Required pre-program readings and assignments will be available online at in early spring.

Tuition, Room, and Board (excluding daily lunches): $3200
Airfare (includes airfare from each student’s home airport): $1500-1600

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis (first-come, first-served) for admission to SEGL in Paris. Financial aid is available. A complete application includes this form and the Parent/Guardian Statement. E-mail if you have questions.

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