The Centre-in-Strasbourg program is located in Strasbourg, France, just across the Rhine River from Germany, two and a half hours by the high speed TGV from Paris, and about an hour north of Switzerland. Strasbourg, with a metropolitan population of 400,000, has been called “the crossroads of Europe” because of its location at Europe’s center. Its famed Gothic cathedral, begun in 1176 C.E., sits on this island-city’s highest spot—the same spot on which sat a Roman fort when Julius Caesar was in the area during his Germanic campaigns of the first century B.C.E. Strasbourg’s political importance grows each year with the increasing importance of the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the Court of Human Rights that are located there. Students interested in this program will be particularly interested in the Strasbourg “Travel Journals” on the Centre website, written by Mark Mallman ’07 and Rebecca Bush ’06.
Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior who has not yet participated in a residential, long-term study-abroad program may apply. Centre accepts 22-24 students each term who qualify on the basis of academic seriousness, social maturity, and faculty recommendations. The selection committee retains the right not to select students who have had run-ins with the Student Life Office for their campus behavior. The committee’s list is vetted by the Dean of Student Life and the Associate Dean before students are notified.
While this is not a language immersion program, the selection committee typically gives preference to students who have studied French or German. Students selected for the fall term who have never studied French take beginning French while in Strasbourg; students selected for the spring term who have never studied French must take French 110 for a grade during the preceding fall term.
Centre Director for 2010-2011
Next year’s Strasbourg program will be directed by Prof. Allison Connolly, Assistant Professor of French and Humanities, who has had extensive experience traveling and living in France. Prof. Connolly has a wide knowledge of French language, culture, and literature. Her academic interests include contemporary French and Francophone literature, exile, and literature written by women.
Living Arrangements in Strasbourg
Home-stays with French or German-speaking families are the norm for those with advanced language skills and those who want to improve their fluency rapidly. Students in home-stays typically have dinner two or three times a week with their home-stay families. Centre also rents three apartments, all conveniently located in the downtown area within a fifteen-minute walk of the Centre office and classroom. These apartments are fully furnished and include linens, a TV, a kitchen with cooking utensils and dishes, a washing machine, and a telephone. Because these apartments are in regular apartment buildings among French families and not in a college dormitory, Strasbourg students must be highly responsible about noise: no loud music or even loud talking in the evenings. The same common-sense fire-safety rules about no candles or smoking or Halogen lamps that apply on campus apply in these apartments. During the apartment orientation session with the Coordinator and Director, all students must sign a statement about keeping the apartment neat and clean and about maintaining appropriate apartment behavior. Any student breaking this signed agreement will be dismissed from the apartment and will be personally responsible for finding and paying for his/her housing.
Food Money and Eating
Students studying abroad are charged for the regular Centre board plan. They are then given food money at regular intervals while abroad and learn to shop in the markets and prepare their meals, usually as a group, in their apartment kitchens. In the past, students have become experts at finding inexpensive, fresh ingredients and preparing simple, healthy, and delicious fare. To prepare for the program, you should practice making a few recipes before you leave. Centre will pay for occasional group meals, for a two-night/three-day excursion to Paris, and for an art and architecture trip in the region that all students take.
Classroom Facilities in Strasbourg
The Centre classroom area is located at the very center of town, just off the main square, Place Kleber. It includes a classroom that looks out on the Strasbourg cathedral, a study and lunch room, a computer room with a small library, the coordinator’s office, and a storeroom. The noiseless, eco-friendly electric tram stops directly in front of the building.
Courses Offered during 2010-2011
All students will be assigned a French course at the appropriate level and English 235, Conversations on European Literature taught by Prof. Connolly. This course will give students an overview of European literature with an emphasis on the theme of the voyage. In this survey course, students will delve into some of the issues that have preoccupied thinkers throughout the ages, including war, displacement, love and ethics. (This course may be cross-listed with French for students who wish to take an additional advanced French course.) To prepare for this course, there will be three required meetings this spring and some assigned pre-program reading.
In addition to a French and the English 235 courses, you will select two of the following three courses:
Internet, Laptops, & phone communication
Constant communication with everyone in the world is less available in Strasbourg than it is in Danville. Indeed, if you want to spend huge hunks of time Facebooking and Skyping and avoiding the environment and people around you, you should not apply for this program; you can do those things in Danville and save the slot for students more interested in being immersed in Strasbourg, France, and Europe. Wireless internet is available both in the classroom and in the student apartments. Although you may turn in all work hand-written, if you own a laptop, you should definitely take it.
Some students find it useful to get a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail account in addition to their Centre account, which is accessible off campus through https://exchange.centre.edu/exchange. In addition to wireless internet, all phone calls to the U.S. from the student apartments can be made for free. This is especially helpful information to pass along to your parents.
Grades / Independent Studies
Mid-term warning grades of D or U are issued after the seventh week of the regular term, just as in Danville. All Strasbourg courses count in the GPA, just as in Danville. The Pass-Unsatisfactory option is not available in any Centre study-abroad program. Only students whose schedules require that they take a particular course not offered in Strasbourg in order to graduate on time have the possibility of arranging an independent study with a professor in Danville.
Apartment Contract and Upkeep
You are required to sign an apartment contract during the Coordinator’s and Director’s apartment orientation and to keep your apartment clean and in good order throughout the entire term. The Director and Coordinator have the right to inspect your apartment at any time, and the right to dismiss you from the apartment if you do not live up to the signed agreement. The day after the mid-term break, the Director will make a mid-course apartment inspection to determine things that need to be repaired or purchased. . On the last evening of your stay, she will conduct a penultimate inspection and assess all apartment members equally the money needed to replace broken items and/or pay for professional cleaning. The last inspection occurs the day after you leave; this is to make certain you’ve stripped the linens from your beds, totally cleaned out your refrigerator, not left wet towels to mildew, taken out all of the trash, etc.
No Overnight Guests in Apartments
Because of liability issues, no overnight guests may stay in the Centre apartments, even for a single night. No exceptions can be granted to this rule. Infraction of this rule will result in your immediate dismissal from the program with none of your semester’s tuition returned. The Director will be happy to provide you with a list of Strasbourg hostels and hotels of all price ranges for any guests who may visit.
Travel Dates; Optional Weekend Travel
FALL students should book their tickets to fly out on Wednesday evening, September 1st, 2010, and meet Prof. Connolly in the Frankfurt, Germany airport on Thursday morning. (All flights to Europe arrive the following morning.) A chartered bus will then whisk you down the Rhine valley to Strasbourg, where you will get settled into your apartment or homestay. The first eleven days of the program are devoted to orienting you to living in another culture and to learning about Strasbourg—as well as Alsace, France, Germany, and the European Community. You will have time to practice the French you will need to get around and get a head start on one or more of your courses. The regular class schedule begins on Monday, September 13 th, and follows a weekly class schedule of Monday-Thursday through Thursday, December 9th. Centre will arrange and pay for an excursion to Paris in early fall.
Students who choose to buy a 60-day Eurailpass Youth Flexi may activate it after 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 23rd , allowing them the option of traveling in small groups during seven weekends plus the ten-day fall break from October 15th-24th . During your time away from Strasbourg, you must let the director know ahead of time where you will be in case of an emergency. Students will remain in the Strasbourg area before September 23rd and after November 21st , when the 60-day optional travel period concludes. There will be a Thanksgiving-in-France celebration at the end of November.
The final examination period is Friday-Sunday, December 10th- 12th; the final apartment inspection is the evening of Sunday, December 12th; and a chartered bus will take you back to the Frankfurt, Germany airport in time to catch flights back on Monday, December 13th, 2010.
SPRING students should book their tickets to fly out on Wednesday evening, February 2nd , 2011, and meet Prof. Connolly in the Frankfurt, Germany airport on Thursday morning. (All flights to Europe arrive the following morning.) A chartered bus will then whisk you down the Rhine valley to Strasbourg, where you will get settled into your apartment or homestay. The first eleven days of the program are devoted to orienting you to living in another culture and to learning about Strasbourg—as well as Alsace, France, Germany, and the European Community. You will have time to practice the French you will need to get around and get a head start on one or more of your courses. The regular class schedule begins on Monday, February 14th, and continues on a Monday-Thursday schedule through Thursday, May 12th. Centre will arrange and pay for an excursion to Paris at end of the orientation period.
Students who have bought a 60-day Eurailpass Youth Flexi may activate it after 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 3rd, allowing them the option of traveling in small groups during seven weekends plus the ten-day spring break from March 18th- 27th. During your time away from Strasbourg, you must let the director know ahead of time where you will be in case of an emergency. Students will remain in the Strasbourg area before March 3rd and after May 1st, when the 60-day optional travel period concludes.
The final examination period is Friday-Sunday, May 13th- 15th , the final apartment inspection is the evening of Sunday, May 15th; and a chartered bus will take you back to the Frankfurt, Germany airport in time to catch flights back on Monday, May 16th, 2011.
Pre-Registration / Convocation Credits / Netlibrary
While in Strasbourg, you pre-register for future courses via email with your regular advisor. You will automatically receive six convocation credits for your time abroad. While abroad, you may access articles on any database at our library. However, if you wish to use an e-book abroad, you must register with Netlibrary before you leave campus.
Information on Eurail tickets, which may only be purchased in the U.S. before you leave, is available at http://www.euro-rail.org. Participants in this program are not allowed to purchase and use an unlimited Eurail pass; our experience has shown that this is disruptive to the program’s schedule and goals. If you wish, you may purchase a “EurailpassYouth Flexi,” which allows you ten days of travel within any 60-day period. The cost for this 10-day Flexipass is currently $589. Recent Strasbourg students have felt that a 10-day train pass is sufficient and gives them flexibility to travel to further-away destinations via inexpensive air travel.
Study Abroad Medical Insurance
Students studying abroad through any Centre program receive travel and accident insurance at no additional cost. Centre’s Study Abroad Insurance, while provided through EIIA (Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators), is administered through Chartis and WorldRiskTravel. Every student studying abroad with Centre College receives a contact and information card as well as a passport sticker. Each has the Centre insurance policy number, which is the only information needed to receive services. The categories of coverage provided are: accident and sickness ($100,000 limit with a $500 deductible); emergency medical evacuation and emergency family travel ($200,000 limit); accidental death and disability ($200,000 limit); and repatriation of remains ($100,000 limit). For specific questions, please contact the Center for Global Citizenship office at 859.238.5285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counseling and Support Services
The kind of counseling and support services available on campus are not available abroad. Because any significant life transition can exacerbate and complicate already existing mental health issues, students who are currently on psychotropic medication and/or have been in mental health counseling should consider participating in the three-week Early Summer Strasbourg program or one of the CentreTerm programs abroad. In addition, those students are urged to meet with a Centre Student Assistance Program counselor prior to their leaving to develop a support plan for their time abroad.
Application forms and faculty recommendation forms can be printed off using the link accessed on the study abroad page on Centre’s website. You should give the recommendation forms to your faculty recommenders early in January. Turn in your completed application at the Study-Abroad office no later than 4:00 on Monday, February 8th. You may not email your application in. You will be notified of your status by e-mail on February 25th. Because competition for slots in Strasbourg is sometimes strong, students are encouraged to take the essays they write as part of their applications especially seriously.
The cost (tuition & fees, room, board) for the Strasbourg program is the same as for study in Danville, except for a $350 surcharge that helps to cover some of the additional costs of housing in France. A $100 book charge covers all books you will need in Strasbourg, where students sometimes share copies of books and articles. In addition, students pay for their own airfare and make their own reservations to the Frankfurt airport, where the Director will meet them with a chartered bus. Recently, students have been able to find round-trip air tickets for about $600. Some have found www.studentuniverse.com and www.statravel.com helpful in this quest. Most students say they spend about twice as much on personal expenses as they spend in Danville.
All financial aid arrangements (both merit and need-based) remain in effect. Students with remaining loan eligibility are eligible to borrow additional money for these additional educational expenses. Remember that you may be able to save some money by canceling your automobile insurance while abroad, since you may not drive a car or other motorized vehicle while on a Centre abroad program.
$350 Deposit by Monday, March 8th
In order to hold your slot, you must pay the nonrefundable $350 deposit plus the $100 book charge (or $450) at the Cashier’s Office in Boles Hall by noon on Monday, March 8th. Nota bene: If you later decide to withdraw from the Centre-in-Strasbourg program, the $350 non-refundable deposit is, as its name implies, not refundable.
Obtaining a Passport
If you do not currently have a passport that will remain valid for at least one month after your return, you should begin the process of obtaining one as soon as you are selected, since it can sometimes take six or more weeks. You can now do this at the Danville post office at the bottom of Main Street. A French visa is no longer necessary for students to obtain for this program.
the past 10 weeks, I have crossed the borders of 12 different nations
and traversed thousands of kilometers of railroad tracks, stumbling
through unknown languages, cultures, and landscapes..."
—Benjamin Beaton '03