Sudden Departure of Skidmore in Paris Resident Director Causes Program Changes
This past spring, the Skidmore in Paris Resident Director resigned unexpectedly for another job in Paris. With this departure, the Office of Off-Campus Study and Exchanges (OCSE) “had the opportunity to reinvision the Skidmore in Paris program and think about how to best serve the needs of our students in Paris,” said Kendra Nelson, OCSE Program Manager.
The main change instituted is that the program is now run in partnership with IES Abroad, a non-profit study abroad organization that has had a longstanding presence in Paris. They offer two programs in Paris, French Studies and a Business and International Affairs Program. Previously, Skidmore had their own staff and center space in Paris, but the new partnership “gives students access to the full IES Abroad staff in Paris and the existing IES Abroad facilities,” said Nelson.
IES has a much larger staff than the Skidmore in Paris Center had, as well as an exceptional emergency response system, Nelson shared. She thinks that this partnership provides students with more student support, particularly related to health, safety and emergency response issues.
The academic aspect of the program is essentially staying the same under the new partnership. Students have a few options for courses to choose from. They can take courses at the IES study center that are taught only for abroad students and at French partner institutions (for example, French Universities, art studies, business schools, etc.).
“The classes taught at the IES center will include Skidmore students and IES study abroad students. In addition, there will also be some courses taught only for Skidmore students,” said Nelson. The biggest difference, though, is that students now have more than 30 IES center courses to also choose from opposed to the only 5-7 courses that used to be offered at the Skidmore Center. There will also be more English courses taught, so students with little to no French experience may also study abroad in Paris. Students will additionally have more course options at partner institutions.
Previously, students had to be there for a full year to partake in an internship. Now students with a high level of French can participate in an internship even if they will only be abroad for one semester. Other aspects of the program continue to remain the same. For example, students will continue to live in home-stays with a French family. Over the next couple of semesters, Nelson expects “that we’ll continue to make minor changes to the program,” as they complete the transition.
With the additional classes in English, Nelson hopes “to see students from a wider range of majors and language levels choosing to study in Paris,” but says they “are still able to provide a strong academic program for French majors and minors.”
Photo by Rebecca Fawcett/Photo Editor