Summer Language Institute FAQ

French Summer Institute

Washington University's Summer Language Institute in France is a dynamic, 3-week program in French language and Parisian culture. The program is designed to accelerate the language acquisition process of students who will have completed one or more of the following French language courses prior to departure to Paris: French 102, [105], 203, 204, 307, 308, 325, or 326. The Paris Institute is intended to enable students from all areas of the university to experience first-hand what makes Paris one the most popular world destinations for tourists and professionals alike. With its focus on French contributions to the arts, cuisine, fashion, and "the good life," as well as the world of ideas, the Paris study abroad experience is a valuable curricular addition to students who aspire to careers in business, the humanities, government, international relations, and research fields that share a global perspective. The 3-week Institute program complements WU courses in St. Louis through a creative approach to language acquisition that integrates elements of Paris's unique cultural vibe, encompassing the arts, commerce, urban planning, and more. The Summer Language Institute in Paris is reserved exclusively for Washington University students.


  • Departure from US:  Tuesday, May 12, 2020
  • Arrival Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG): Wednesday, May 13, 2020
  • Departure from Paris CDG and arrival in US: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Students may return home for a long summer or elect to extend their stay in Europe.

Course of Study

The Paris Institute curriculum consists of one 3-credit course that may be counted as elective credit for the major or minor in French. Students who have completed French 102, 203 and/or 204 will enroll in French 202.  Students who have completed French 307, 308, 325, and/or 326 will enroll in French 353. For both groups of students the course of study consists of three modules: French Language; Parisian Culture; and The Photo Essay. Daily classes focus on language acquisition through a series of inventive stories about Paris that students read, discuss/perform, and extend in their compositions.  Lessons will incorporate information about architectural gems (Notre Dame), art history (Louvre and the Orsay, which houses the impressionists), commerce (fashion and design); ecology (parks and other green spaces); engineering (the bridges over the Seine, the métro); gastronomy (the great French culinary tradition and its modern innovations), history (celebrated sites such as Notre Dame, the Bastille, the Place des Vosges, the Sorbonne), and urban planning (the different areas of Paris known as arrondissements). Students will supplement what they learn for class and during group excursions with their own explorations of Paris. They will record their impressions of the city in a photo essay that spans the full duration of the program.


Our Paris location is the FIAP- Jean Monnet, 30 rue Cabanis, in the 14th arrondissement (see The FIAP is an international youth center in the heart of Paris. Students who participate in WU's summer anthropology program are also located at the FIAP. Our Institute students will be housed in double rooms with en suite bathrooms. Classes will take place each morning in a classroom at the FIAP. Students will take breakfast and dinner (demi-pension) in the FIAP cafeteria. For lunch, students will be on their own to have a crêpe or sandwich; to select a bread from a boulangerie and sample different cheeses from a fromagerie; or to explore the aisles of the supermarkets for the same and more. Occasionally, students may choose to splurge, but experience shows that whatever their appetites, they will enjoy the freedom of choice and the opportunity to sample foods in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Travel Component

The program includes a mid-week travel "weekend" to any French-speaking destination. All students will check out of their rooms at the FIAP on May 26 for an after-class departure and they will return on May 28. There are no limits for this travel experience other than that the student's own curiosity and budget. Most students will take advantage of the opportunity to see more of France (the beaches of Arcachon, La Rochelle, Nice, or, for different reasons, Normandy!; the châteaux of the Loire Valley; the cities of Aix, Avignon, Bordeaux, or Strasbourg; the magical Mont St. Michel). Some will plan to see French-speaking European cities located within two or three hours by train (Brussels, Geneva, etc.). Students will be encouraged to plan their travel with friends from the Institute. During past summer institutes, the independent travel has been a consistent highlight for our students, allowing them to completely immerse in the culture and to gain confidence traveling on their own in a different country.


  • Tuition, room, board (demi-pension) for all days in residence at the FIAP, and 3 WU academic credits:  $4,990
  • Plane fare: estimate $1200, but students will need to check with the airlines
  • Lunches: estimate $300, depending on student's choices
  • Métro tickets, snacks, souvenirs, tickets to events not part of the institute curriculum:  will vary, depending on student's choices
  • Travel "weekend":  will vary, depending on location.
  • Required health insurance: $30
  • Students will need a camera and a computer.


In addition to having taken at least one, and preferably two French courses 102-308 during the 2018-19 academic year, students should have an enthusiasm for Paris, including different aspects of the city's cultural life; be intellectually curious about what makes the city special for its citizens as well as foreigners; be eager to expand their spoken and written French; be able to contribute to the group experience; be self-directed and eager to explore the city in ways that enrich them and also to travel independently May 26-28. Priority will be given to students with a strong academic record who speak (enthusiastically and convincingly!) to these points in their application and during their interviews.

How to Apply

To apply, please go to Overseas Programs

Spanish Summer Institute

Washington University's Summer Language Institute in Spain is a dynamic, intensive program in Spanish language and culture offering full immersion for approximately 6 weeks in Madrid and other areas of Spain. It is designed to accelerate the language acquisition process of intermediate students in Spanish and to introduce them to the experience of life in this modern European country with its very unique history and traditions. This program is intended to meet the needs of students from all areas of the university, including those who aspire to study business, social sciences, or humanities eventually at advanced levels in a Spanish-speaking country (for example, WU's programs in Spain or Chile) and wish to achieve skill levels rapidly. It is also intended for students at intermediate levels of the language who wish to attain a functional proficiency level and first-hand experience with Hispanic culture but have major requirements that do not permit them to be absent from campus for a full academic semester or year (including particularly students from preprofessional and natural science disciplines). The program is exclusively for Washington University students.


Dates for the 2020 program will be Sunday, May 10 (*departing the US on Saturday, May 9) - Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Course of Study

The Spain Institute offers 6 Washington University credits.  Intermediate students, who complete Span. 307 (Composition I) or Span. 308 (Composition II) before summer, take Span. 311 (Culture and Civilization of Spain) for 3 credits, and Span. 322 (Contemporary Culture and Conversation) for 3 credits. (Both of these courses fulfill Spanish major and minor advanced credits, as follows: Spanish 311 counts either as 380 culture survey or as elective; Spanish 322 counts as elective only). Courses in Spain will be taught at the Instituto Internacional in Madrid and at other locations by regular Washington University Spanish staff and other specialists.


The program will be based in the capital city of Madrid, with Span. 311 excursions to other historic cities, such as Toledo, Segovia, or Córdoba.  Students will be free on long weekends to visit different regions of the country (Andalucía or Barcelona/the Mediterranean coast). Through this structure, students will be able to experience the very active cultural life--museums, theater, politics, music and dance concerts, and other offerings--of Spain's capital, and also to learn about its smaller towns, countryside, and regional differences first-hand.

In Madrid students live with Spanish families selected by the Institute and evaluated by previous Washington University participants.


The total cost includes tuition for six Washington University credits, room and board, local and out-of-town excursions, and group cultural activities (visits to museums, theater, etc.). This does not include airfare to and from Spain, local public transportation, books and course materials, or personal spending money. At this time, the total cost is anticipated to be $6,400; drastic changes in the exchange rate may incur an additional modest surcharge to cover program costs.


How to Apply

The application deadline is November 1, 2019. 

Apply at:

Please note that your application is not considered complete unless you have completed all of the application, including submitting the following documents: 1) application form, 2) one recommendation letter, 3) language assessment form from your current or former Spanish teacher, and 4) current transcript (not required for freshmen).

Applications received by November 1, 2019 will be given full consideration. After November 1, students will be considered on rolling admissions, as space permits. Professor Sklodowska will contact you for an interview after she has received your completed file. Once accepted (on or around November 20) a non-refundable deposit of $750 will be due by December 6, 2019 to secure your place in the program. A second non-refundable payment of $1,000 will be due by February 14, 2020. A final payment will be billed by April of 2020. In addition to financial support students may be already receiving from the University or other sources, the Department has a limited number of small, competitive awards for students with demonstrated financial needs accepted into the Institute. Important note: financial aid will be based on applications received by November 1. We do not anticipate funds being available for applications received after this deadline.

We strongly urge you to apply for or renew your passport as soon as you accept to participate in the program. It is your obligation to have a valid passport by the end of January 2020. Due to international travel requirements, your passport will need to be valid at least through December 2020 (or six months after your planned return from Spain).




Application and Contact

Program Director: Prof. Elzbieta Sklodowska,, Office: N. Ridgley Hall 301.

Assistant to the Director: Jonatán Martín Gómez

*All questions should be directed to Prof. Sklodowska