The Sorbonne Summer University: Travel and Learn on Your Trip to Paris


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The Sorbonne Summer University: Travel and Learn on Your Trip to Paris

For the past 13 years, Sorbonne University’s Faculty of Literature has organized the Université d’été en Sorbonne. From June 24 to July 19, 2024, people from all over the world will come together to (re)discover France and its unique features through the teachings of one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

Originally, the Sorbonne, a world-renowned university, didn’t have a program that wasn’t aimed at regular students. Many foreign students were enrolled in the classic degree courses, but the university wanted to offer the Sorbonne experience to a much wider public. Both to young people who might want to continue their studies at the Sorbonne, but also to people from all walks of life who want to learn more about the subjects in which the Faculty of Letters is renowned, without necessarily looking for a degree course.

The Université d’été is a unique opportunity – if you’re not a student at the Sorbonne – to discover courses at a major French university. The courses on offer are on a human scale, with 10 to 30 participants per seminar, which means you can talk to the lecturers, who are specialists in their subjects. You learn a lot in a very pleasant, relaxed atmosphere and in a beautiful city. It’s a great way to be both a tourist and a culturist, a tourist and a learner.

The program is varied, and the model comprises five three-hour sessions on one subject over a week, from Monday to Friday, in the morning or afternoon, depending on the cycle. This rhythm allows participants to enjoy the lessons and visit Paris for the rest of the day. There are fairly classic cycles, such as in French literature, where the approach is by century, period or major literary trend. There’s also an antiquity cycle, a classic theme at the Sorbonne, but one that is approached with a variety of subjects. There is, for example, a session on friendship in antiquity.

Then there are more unexpected cycles, like the one on French women, which looks at the image of French women in history or literature. It’s a huge success, as it’s a theme that intrigues and interests.

Year after year, the program expands with more topical themes, such as the cycles proposed in 2023 on the challenges of artificial intelligence and reflections on climate change, and also presents courses in English, aimed at non-French speakers. The number of participants has also increased – 582 this year, with 50 nationalities represented – and they appreciate being both in Paris and at the Sorbonne.

Participant usage varies greatly: some come for just one cycle for a week, others for three or four, and some people come for a whole month.

French as a foreign language courses complete the offer and are open to anyone wishing to learn or improve their French. These courses are run in collaboration with SIAL, the Sorbonne’s language center. Six language levels – from A1 to C1 – are available. Each course lasts two weeks.

Understanding France, its history and culture, sharing convivial moments with people from all over the world in a prestigious setting, and spreading the knowledge of Sorbonne University’s teaching staff: these are the commitments of the Sorbonne Summer University.

Find out more here.


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