The Center for University Programs Abroad (CUPA), by virtue of its location in Paris, France and its partnerships with some of the world’s best universities, is part of a long academic tradition. The Program is committed to providing exceptional students with the highest quality international experience, both academically and personally. CUPA’s approach to intercultural learning is holistic and based upon the belief that the pursuit of knowledge is not limited to the classroom. To this end, the Program creates a framework of support that allows students to take full advantage of the opportunities available in Paris (masters-level coursework, internships, courses in a wide variety of disciplines, cultural experiences, host families, extra-curricular activities, etc.). CUPA seeks to help students thrive in an increasingly global world in which intercultural adaptability is an essential skill.
International education’s raison d’être is human connection. The different perspectives, identities, and cultures of the CUPA student body, both current and past, and those of our faculty and staff constitute the terrain for connection – and growth – on every level.
Our students’ exposure to a different culture and the variety of their personal experiences while studying in Paris can provide invaluable opportunities for personal growth. However, the journey toward awareness must not be a uniquely individual one.
Our staff and faculty work toward promoting shared acceptance and appreciation of difference, and know that the connections between people and between communities, lay the groundwork for change and true intercultural understanding. Through our programs, our community, and the elaboration of our short and long-term goals, we are committed to promoting inclusion and diversity and to being part of a better world where difference is understood and embraced in all its forms, not simply tolerated.
Two important workshops are held each semester. The first workshop, during Orientation, provides an overview of the diversity in France and current concepts under debate (islamo-gauchisme, laicité, feminicide, gender-related issues, anti-immigrant racism…) and investigates activism related to race, gender, and religion. It is designed to help students understand certain constructs, offer lenses with which to examine their personal views and biases, encourage them to think about how to manage expectations, gain perspective and navigate the host culture. A follow-up workshop is held later in the semester during which students may express their impressions of life in Paris, exchange about issues encountered and continue to explore questions of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the context of their semester abroad in Paris.