International Media Seminar: Spring Break in Paris
March 9-16, 2024 | Application Deadline: October 22, 2023
Info Sessions will be held on September 19 and 26 at 6pm in MPA #511. RSVP here.
The Paris Seminar gives participants the opportunity to meet with some of Europe’s top media professionals—journalists, diplomats, executives, scholars and government officials—looking at the media world from a distinctively international perspective. Plus the chance to go “behind the scenes" in Paris with visits to private homes, offices and historic and cultural sites.
The program is sponsored by SMPA, along with the Center for the Study of International Communications (CECI) and the American University of Paris. The program is open to all GW undergraduate and graduate students.
When you sign up for the Seminar in Paris, you will also be registered for SMPA 3195.60, “Globalization and the Media,” taught by Prof. Lee Huebner, a course that will also meet on a number of Tuesday evenings in Washington during the Spring term.
The GW Paris program was first offered as a stand-alone experience in 2007, but, at the urging of student participants, it quickly became a regular academic, three-credit course at GW, featuring class meetings in Washington as well as Paris. Under this arrangement, students who want to take the course must participate in the Paris seminar, and students who would like to participate in the Paris program must enroll in the course.
"The opportunity of a lifetime," said one GW student upon returning from last year's Paris Media Seminar. "One of the highlights of my years at GW," said another. "It changed my way of seeing the world," said a third.
Others have agreed over the 16 years since the program began: “I was constantly in awe with how engaging and interesting every speaker was."..."One of my best experiences in college.“…"I could not have asked for a better way to spend my Spring Break.”..."I feel super lucky to have had this opportunity“…”I will use what I learned on this trip for the rest of my career.”
Costs: While spending patterns vary from student to student, and from year to year, depending in part on currency exchange rates, the overall cost of the program should normally be $3,000, in addition to the normal tuition that all students pay whether they are taking this course or some other one. This estimate includes all program fees as well as transport and living expenses. Some limited financial assistance may be available for students with financial need through the College of Arts and Sciences. Click here to apply. Reach out to [email protected] for questions on financial aid.
Transportation: Reasonably priced round trip airfares to Paris have been available in the $800 to $900 range, or less, especially if one plans ahead and searches for attractive student fares on the internet. Students normally make their own airline reservations, as they often travel at different times and even from different places. Airfares are often better if one is away over one Saturday night. Also--at least one day (or more if possible) to rest and adapt to a new city is often a good idea. Sometimes flights that stop in another European city on their way to and from Paris are cheaper than direct flights as national airlines of other countries give special discounts in order to attract some of the US-France traffic. One good site to check for airline fares is studentuniverse.com.
Hotel: We have been able to find small, simple but pleasant and clean hotel rooms in Paris for about $100 a person per night. The program has negotiated a special rate for these rooms and can assign roommates if you would like us to do so-or you can designate your own roommate. The hotels we have used are in a charming and safe neighborhood in the 7th district (near the Eiffel Tower, in the heart of the city) and very near to the American University of Paris, where a number of our meetings are held. The rooms are normally twin bed rooms, with private baths. Single rooms are often available at a higher price. The hotel rooms can be booked at our same rate for extra days if students wish to add a day or so to their stay before or after the program.
Other Program Costs: The estimated cost for the program also includes a program fee which is billed directly by the University through its normal tuition billing processes to all students who are registered for the course. It includes the cost of travel insurance, while also covering all administrative expenses, the cost of speakers and meeting rooms, a number of lunches and receptions, a group dinner with representatives of the Paris community, public transport tickets for the week, and a closing night dinner celebration. These costs are included in the overall estimate mentioned above.
Schedule: The program includes an opening Saturday in Paris, allowing students to rest from what is normally an overnight flight from the US, to get over jet lag and see some of the city. The Sunday program starts with a boat trip on the Seine River, plus a reception and welcoming program on Sunday evening. The schedule concludes with a group farewell dinner the following Friday. Return travel can be scheduled on Saturday, though many students have used some of the final weekend for additional touring.
The program will normally involve about four to five events per day: seminars, panels, visits to media houses, historic sites, private homes, etc. Some early evening events are also scheduled, including a dinner at the Paris apartment of Lee and Berna Huebner. Huebner, who is the Airlie Professor of Media and Public Affairs at GW and who chairs the seminar sessions, was the Publisher and CEO for fourteen years of the US-owned international newspaper (based in Paris), the International Herald Tribune (now known as the International New York Times). He has also served as President of the American University of Paris and serves now on its Board of Trustees. The program seeks to provide a good balance between free time and seminar programs. For part of the time, students will be buying their own meals--though we will provide guidance on good but inexpensive restaurants. On other occasions, meals will be provided, including at lunch meetings with some of our guest speakers.
Guest Speakers: The guest speakers have included leading foreign correspondents in Europe, some French journalists (though all the meetings are in English), media executives, academic and cultural leaders, embassy representatives and other government officials. One of the popular programs has been a gathering with outstanding journalism scholarship students from several countries--a number of them from the developing world-- who are studying at the American University of Paris. Seminar topics range widely over the fields of international media and journalism, covering news and other communications media, discussions about new media technologies, and a look at how media compare and contrast in various parts of the world. Many of the special guests we have had with us in the past have already promised to return this coming year, citing how much they enjoy the give-and take of these discussion sessions.
Application: Note that application and registration for the Spring Semester course, SMPA 3195.60, “Globalization and the Media,” is through a different process -- students should apply on-line via GW Passport. Again, the course is open to all GW undergraduate and graduate students. Once you have filed your application, we will be back in touch with you to confirm your participation. It is important not to delay too long in making an application. The deadline for the 2024 program is October 22, 2023. Your regular student tuition bill will reflect the program charge mentioned above.
We look forward to another great seminar, so do let us know if you are interested in being a part of it! Questions can be addressed to Professor Lee Huebner at [email protected].
For technical assistance with the GW Passport system, email [email protected].