Amanda Hausmann ’21
Since 2006, Trinity students have been able to study away in Paris for either a semester or the entire year. However, for this spring semester, studying away in Paris was not available to Trinity students. According to the Director of the Office of Study Away Jennifer Summerhays, the Trinity-in-Paris program “took a hiatus for the spring,” citing the program’s unsustainable financial status as the main reason for taking a semester off. This coming fall semester, the Trinity-in-Paris program will return and plans on offering study away opportunities in both semesters, or the whole year, but with significant differences as to how the program will look and operate.
Study Away Advisor Lindsay Oliver says the process for changing the Trinity-in-Paris program began at the end of the fall semester and included talking to alumni and collecting information from a survey completed by Trinity students who previously participated in the Paris program. Oliver says the goal of this was to “look at where we had any struggles in the program and asses where we can go and what we can do better.” The changes to the program include the addition of an in-residence Trinity faculty member, as well as major changes to student housing arrangements. Trinity student Cat MacLennan ’20, who studied away in Paris in the fall of 2018 said, “I loved my experience in Paris through Trinity. I knew going into it that they would be restructuring the program, so I was aware that things were changing and that we were the last group experiencing the previous structure. In my opinion, there weren’t any flaws in the program.”
This fall the faculty in residence will be Associate Professor of Philosophy Todd Ryan. Professor Ryan will teach a core course that all students studying away in Paris must complete. Additionally, Professor Ryan will be in residence for the entire 2019-2020 academic year. Summerhays says that her “hope is that faculty can be in residence for a year,” but due to the College’s changing demands for specific faculty members from semester to semester, she is not sure if that will be possible. Summerhays adds, “the hope is that the faculty in residence will also attract students who want to take a class with that specific faculty member” and that this new aspect to the program “builds relationships between faculty and students and creates interesting opportunities for students to learn in an intimate setting.”
One of the biggest adjustments to the program is the change in housing arrangements. Previously, students lived in apartments which, Summerhays says, were located in one of the most expensive neighborhoods of Paris. Now, students will be living on an international student campus at the Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris. On this non-academic campus, there are a number of different houses for students from countries all around the world. Most Trinity students will be placed in the Fondation des Etats-Unis: the American House. MacLennan had the opportunity to visit the Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris and says, “while we were extremely fortunate to live in apartments in really nice neighborhoods with people from our program, this new campus is beautiful and is going to give Trinity students much more exposure to different cultures. They will be living with all international students and will not just be confined to hanging out with Trinity students.” Additionally, Trinity students will now have a partial meal plan of 14 meals a week included in their study away package that will work at restaurants on campus, as well as at a number of restaurants across the city. MacLennan says this addition of the meal plan “will save them much more money than we did.” The campus is not directly in the center of the city and MacLennan adds that “the metro stop is right across from campus and takes about five minutes to get
to the center. It will definitely be different from what we experienced, but I think they will benefit from it a lot.”
The goal of these changes is to lower the cost of the program, as well as increase student participation. Summerhays says that she did “see a decline in numbers of participation over the last three to four years, but that drop in enrollment is not a Trinity phenomenon. There has been a drop across the board that has forced many colleges to rethink their Paris programs because it is such a saturated market. So to do it, you’ve got to do it really well or do it in a different way.”