University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts

FAQs, Paris Semester Program

When does the program start/end?

All students need to arrive in Paris for the USF/DPSP on January 3rd. Students cannot enter their residence prior to this date. The final day of the Program is April 30th. Students need to be out of their respective residences a few days after the final program class date.

How rigorous is this program academically and technically?

This is an incredibly immersive study abroad program designed to capitalize on a dance major’s already well-honed skill set of disciplines, maturity, risk-taking and self-improvement. This is a program where students will have technique and theory classes throughout the week, and a few weekends throughout the program. Because of the uniformly high level of the technique classes, students should already be taking intermediate/advanced ballet and modern classes several times per week prior to the program. We will also be attending over 25 live performances. The goal is to immerse the student in an environment where they are seeing themselves as practicing/working artists who are refining their skills through an active course of study in dance technique, choreography, history, language, and performance. All classes have detailed syllabi with requirements and assignments that are necessary to receive full credit for the courses taken.

Is there a University of South Florida (USF) campus in Paris?

No, there is not. The Program uses two major Paris dance studios, as well as the Centre National de Danse, and the Étoile School for our technique and theory classes, but these places are spread throughout the city and easily connected by metro. We like to think of the beautiful city of Paris as our campus, as opposed to only one building where we go to live, learn and study dance!

Does the schedule of classes in Paris look like they do at my school?

Even without knowing what the class schedule looks like at your school, it is safe to say that the Paris schedule probably does not look like your current schedule of classes. The Paris schedule is quite destabilized thanks to the fact that the Paris Program does not have to adhere to strict rules regarding class times/days imposed by large academic institutions. These means that some weeks your technique classes might be in the morning instead of the afternoon (or vice-versa), or your dance history class may meet at the Château de Versailles or the Musée d’Orsay or the Paris Opera instead of a traditional classroom, or we go to Berlin and Amsterdam to do a 15-hour choreographic workshop in order to fulfill part of the Choreography credit. We believe that a destabilized schedule increases a student’s learning capacity, as well as deepening one’s relationship to the art form by challenging traditional models of pedagogy and learning.

Where do students live?

Students will be housed in a fully-accessible/equipped student residence in a safe neighborhood in Paris. Each student will have their own fully equipped studio-room complete with bathroom (shower, toilet, etc.), as well as efficiency kitchen (refrigerator, hot plate, microwave and sink).  The residence also supplies bedding and kitchen supplies.

How much money will I need for personal expenses in addition to the program fees and tuition?

This varies greatly depending upon personal spending habits. It is recommended that a minimum of $100/week (~$2,000/semester) be used to cover meals and personal expenses. Some students have lived on less than $10.00/day by avoiding restaurants and cafés and keeping other personal expenses such as souvenirs, phone calls, and postage to a minimum. The program fee is very inclusive and includes not only all of your transportation in Paris (unlimited use of the city’s extensive transportation system), excursions to places of interest in/outside of Paris, and over 25 performances, but many other things as well (see Program Fees). Your main personal expenses will be meals. Since there are fully equipped kitchens in each room, students can economize considerably by preparing their own meals. The Program’s director and faculty will offer you numerous tips on how to conserve your funds if you're on a tight budget. Obviously, if you plan to do extensive shopping or eat out frequently in restaurants and cafés, your expenses will be higher.

How does the transfer of credits work from the University of South Florida to my school?

All students must register as students of the University of South Florida once they are accepted into the USF/DPSP, and they automatically become USF students for the semester. Students will receive a transcript at the end of the program of all the courses they have registered for, and their grade for each course. It is up to one’s home institution to apply the course(s) they see appropriate for the corresponding course(s) at the home institution. The USF Dance Program has approved all the courses taken during the USF/DPSP as corresponding to their own curriculum with very high standards. Syllabi for all courses will be available upon registration.

Can non-USF college/university students apply to the Program?

Absolutely! The University of South Florida Dance in Paris Programs partner with Virginia Commonwealth University (Scott Putman and Barnard College/Columbia University (Colleen Thomas-Young, so students from these institutions should contact their faculty representatives about their application. Non-partner university students are also encouraged to apply to the USF Dance in Paris Programs, however there is a cap to the number of students who can attend this program, so space is limited. 

Are freshmen or first-year students allowed to apply?

The USF/DPSP does not accept freshman-year applicants because of the rigorous and mature nature of an extended study abroad experience like the Dance in Paris Semester Program entails. First-year college/university transfer students with an A.A. equivalent degree may apply if they meet the requirements. The Semester in Paris Program is geared specifically toward students who have had at least three semesters of a college/university experience.

Will I need a visa to enter France?

Yes, you will need a visa for stays in France of longer than three months. USF will be supplying the paperwork/justification for a visa on your behalf; however you will be responsible for filing the paperwork with Campus France -- all students will be given explicit directions about the process and actualization when it comes time to apply for the visa. You will also need a valid passport to enter France. It is recommended that if you do not currently have a passport then you must apply for one at least 3 months before leaving for France. If you do have a passport, it must be in good condition and valid for 6 months after your departure date from France. If you are even considering applying to this program and you do not have a passport, you are encouraged to apply for a passport as soon as possible.

How much French will I need to know to survive in Paris?

The first three weeks of the Program has a large French language/culture instructional component to it; however it is suggested that you engage in some form of language preparation prior to your arrival in Paris. The more French you know, the less alienated you'll feel, and the more you'll get out of your stay in Paris. This doesn't mean having to become fluent! Even a minimal vocabulary of 50 words and a dozen phrases will go a long way towards easing your daily encounters with the French. Since some of your technique classes will be taught entirely in French, it is a good idea to know your numbers, parts of the body and some verbs used in a dance class.

Are there options for travel outside of the Program? Is there a spring break, or are there any free weekends?

This is a very rigorous study abroad program. Students are in Paris to dance and study because they want a profound experience from the point of view of a working/creative artist. There is no “spring break” per se during the Program, however there are two long weekends (4 -5 days) in the calendar where there are no events or classes scheduled, and students are free to make whatever travel plans they wish at their own expense. Because there are two major excursions during the program (Amsterdam and Berlin) and one short one to Lyon, France, there will be time built into these excursions for students to enjoy visiting these three beautiful European cities. Some students extend their time after the Program dates to take advantage of being in Europe and travel more extensively. If you are coming to Paris thinking that you will be traveling throughout Europe every weekend, then this is probably not the program for you.

What if I get sick or injured while I’m in Paris?

All students are enrolled in a very comprehensive insurance program while they are in Paris. This insurance covers most traditional medical costs, as well as reimbursing students for visits to the doctor. The USF/DPSP has an extensive medical support network in Paris, which includes English-speaking general practitioners, osteopaths, gynecologists, dentists, and mental health care professionals.

Is Paris a safe city?

Student safety is our main priority, and despite recent incidents in Europe, Paris remains a very safe place by urban standards, although pickpocketing (and petty crimes of opportunity) are the worst that most students will encounter. All students must take an on-line risk and safety orientation course through USF Education Abroad before they can go to Paris with the Program, in addition to on-site orientations that address issues of safety and mindfulness while navigating the city. The Program gives each student a detailed Emergency Plan in the unlikely event of a city-wide incident. Students in Paris also have access to our Program Provider for issues with the student residence, as well for major health issues. The Director of the USF/DPSP is also on-side in Paris throughout the duration of the program.

Can graduate students enroll in the USF/DPSP?

Yes, but the course numbers associated with the courses are “undergraduate”. You would need to discuss with your home institution what credits can transfer based on the syllabus of each course. There is also the option to register for the Independent Study/Research course in Paris, which could go a long way toward fulfilling graduate coursework in Dance.

Will the Program be every semester/year?

There are plans to continue the semester program for every spring, and potentially to expand the program into a two-semester program starting in the fall of 2023.


For other questions, please contact the Program Director, Michael Foley.