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Program Information:


  • Learn how two of the world's most influential powers, France and the United States, are uniquely connected
  • Fulfill the major degree requirements in IAFS, HIST or PSCI (see Academics section for more details)

  • Earn 3 credits in 2 weeks in June

  • Enjoy numerous excursions around Bordeaux and hear guest lectures by local faculty

  • Please note: this program often fills early - it is recommended that you apply in advance of the application deadline.

  • Missed the interest meeting? View the presentation here!

  • See photos from this program!


Eating Escargot Like a French Person by Tom Zeiler

With a long and rich heritage as a political, economic, and cultural hub, Bordeaux has, for centuries, sat at the crossroads of history and contemporary affairs. Situated near the Atlantic coast (and excellent swimming and surfing beaches), Bordeaux offers both a unique and universal perspective on France. It is a French city but also a European and global center with a historic district that is a United Nations World Heritage site.

A few hours to the south lie the Basque country, the Pyrenees, and Spain. Paris is just three hours North by train, and Brittany and Normandy are also easily accessible. Bordeaux has a modern tram system, a maze of picturesque streets, and the largest pedestrian mall in Europe. Of course, the wine industry gives Bordeaux a special place in a network of vineyards, companies, and transportation links across Europe and the world.

You are expected to be full participants at the pre-departure meetings and at each visit and lecture in Bordeaux. In addition to on-site lectures in Bordeaux, the course will include site visits, guest lectures, and day trips.


Students will be staying in a residential dormitory facility at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques. Each student will have his/her own bedroom and bathroom with fridge and microwave and will share general living space with four other students on the program.

A Welcome and Farewell dinner will be provided on the program.


Students are responsible for making their own transportation arrangements to France and back. The program begins and ends in Bordeaux.

Transportation on program-related field trips while in Bordeaux is provided as part of the program fee.


  • Course: IAFS 3500, France and America: Connections through Time (cross-listed as HIST 4190)
  • Credits: 3 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: This course is approved to fulfill the Arts & Sciences Historical Context core requirement. The course counts as Europe/Eurasia concentration or Functional Area 3 for IAFS majors, historical views Core for CMCI, as an upper division elective credit for PSCI majors, and 4190 for History majors.
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See course description

With Bordeaux as a case study, French Connections will familiarize you with the history and contemporary relations of two of the world's most influential powers. Topics in the course include: revolution/democracy/nation-building, war and society, trade and business, education, immigration, security/diplomacy/terrorism, and regional/global integration. The course will also examine how France and America have, at times, embraced and also vilified each other. French Connections is targeted at students majoring in International Affairs, History, Political Science, Economics, Anthropology, and Geography, although students in other majors may also apply.

The course fulfills the Europe/Eurasia concentration for IAFS majors and counts as an upper division elective credit for PSCI majors. It also fulfills Historical Context for A&S core. A detailed course syllabus will be provided to all the students and is available from the program director.


The program is directed by Professor Tom Zeiler. He is a Professor of History and International Affairs and also the current Director of International Affairs. He was part of the Visiting Professor Program with L'Institut des Sciences Politiques Bordeaux in spring 2011. His experience leading and teaching groups of students abroad consists of spending two years as a Fulbright scholar in Tokyo, Japan and Buenos Aires, Argentina. During this time, he taught foreign students at their local universities, as well as groups of visiting students from the United States.

Professor Zeiler, along with staff from the Study Abroad office, will select program participants.

See Professor Zeiler's Faculty Spotlight.


The program schedule is relatively busy but when students are not in class or doing a group visit they will have time to explore Bordeaux. There are many class site visits in and around Bordeaux, a guided tour, and two day excursions.



    The following 3 scholarships are specifically for program participants. To be considered for any/all of these 3 awards below, you must apply for the Buffs Abroad Scholarship (see the link above).

    1. Bordeaux grants for International Affairs majors: Award amounts will vary.  Students must complete the additional essay questions for IAFS majors in the Buffs Abroad application to be considered for this funding.

    2. Bordeaux grants for Political Science majors: The number of awards and amounts varies, but awards are typically around $500.

    3. Bordeaux grants for History majors: The number of awards and amounts varies, but awards are typically around $500.

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Grants: (up to $2,400/project) for undergraduate research or creative work projects including projects while studying abroad. Application, detailed descriptions, project archive (to get project ideas) are available on the UROP website. Application deadline is EARLY - usually in late February/early March.

  • Katherine J. Lamont Scholarship: (for students studying abroad on a French program for the first time). Contact the French & Italian Department;

  • Alliance Française de Denver: The application deadline is usually March 31.



Students Eating Fondue at a Cafe by Tom Zeiler

Program Reviews:
Summer 2014 Participant
Being in Bordeaux was a great way to experience the content of the course rather than just reading or hearing about it. Bordeaux was beautiful and so much fun, and the people we met there were all wonderful, from the professors to the students and locals we got to know. All of our trips were a lot of fun as well as educational. It was truly a great experience.

Summer 2013 Participant
I really enjoyed the topics and how the course was set up. For each topic we had a different professor, who specialized in the topic, allowing for an efficient use of time and a way to get a feel of the topic.

Summer 2015 Participant
The lectures are all interesting, engaging and topical. We spoke a great deal about current events, which made our studies feel very relevant. The speakers were a diverse group from a wide range of disciplines, and I found that nearly all of them were both entertaining and capable facilitators for discussion. Bordeaux is a beautiful city that is very friendly to foot travel. Although the trams make transportation very easy, the town isn't much bigger than Boulder, so traveling by foot or bike is both easy and enjoyable. Many locals speak English, although if you do speak French, this program is a great opportunity to practice. I strongly recommend this program to any student who is looking for a way to study abroad.

Summer 2016 Participant
The course I took while I was abroad was really interesting, it was the global connections between France and the United States. Each day during the two weeks we had a two hour lecture by different French professors and they each talked about certain areas like the EU, political systems, freedom of speech, LGBT rights, women's roles, as well as education and art history. The location is amazing, Bordeaux is great. We were immersed in the culture and the day to day lives of the French, the location of the university and the dorms was south of town but not far enough to make it a hassle to get into town. I think Bordeaux is an amazing place to take this course because there are so many places to take excursions that are only a bus/train ride away. This summer for the program was probably one of the best because the Euro Cup was going on, so not only did we get to interact with the locals, but we also got to interact with diehard European soccer fans. We met fans from all over Europe including, Wales, Ireland, England, Belgium, Croatia, and of course France. This program is full of excursions that range from Montesquieu's Castle to the sand dunes down in Archacon Bay, all the different excursions had some cool history behind them and each one was really interesting. My favorite excursion was St. Emilion, it was so gorgeous and we got to have a tour of the catacombs of St. Emilion.

Summer 2013 Participant
It was a great learning experience to learn from the professors in the country we stayed. The location of the dorms and the school were nice because it was out of town. The dorms were also a good experience because we were there with French students. There was a lot of free time which was great for exploring and interacting with the people. Transportation was surprisingly efficient and easy. Excursions were a great way to see more of the country and to learn more of the history of different locations. The only Slight negative about the trip was getting to the location of the city as well as our free weekend. I had never been out of the country before and was quite unaware of a lot of obstacles and other travel expenses. Along with buying plane tickets on my own, I also had to buy train tickets to get around. Also there were a few of us who did not know many people on the trip and planning to do things together became a last minute decision that could have been easier if we had spent more time together before we left the U.S.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 13-MAR-2017
Variable 16-JUN-2017 01-JUL-2017
NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.
Summer 2018 01-MAR-2018 ** Variable 16-JUN-2018 30-JUN-2018
NOTE: NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Education Abroad staff for details.

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