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First-Semester Study Abroad in Strasbourg

Discovery Program

Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament and European Court of Human Rights, making it the ideal place for you to study communications, international relations, human rights, and management.

Two students hug while overlooking the French countryside

Students participating in the Discovery Strasbourg program will enjoy a rich and varied introduction to France through a challenging semester-long curriculum. The program fulfills the same curricular requirements as those pursued by freshmen studying on SU’s main campus, while providing a course schedule unique to the Strasbourg experience. Over one third of the Strasbourg faculty are professionals from the Council of Europe or Court of Human Rights who bring real issues into the classroom. Niche programs offered by SU Strasbourg include European Union studies, international relations, French language, human rights, music performance (through a partnership with Strasbourg Conservatory), and management.

Ready to apply?

Life in Strasbourg

Syracuse University Strasbourg has a long-standing relationship within the Strasbourg community that has allowed SU to offer students a program that excels in academics and cultural immersion. The SUS faculty are internationally renowned scholars, and the staff is truly dedicated to meeting the needs of today’s students and helping them immerse themselves in the French culture. SU Strasbourg is eager to welcome the exceptional first-year students of the Discovery Strasbourg program.

Living with a French Host Family

Discovery Strasbourg students will live with French hosts either within the city of Strasbourg or in the immediate outskirts on a bus line. This enables you to use the French you’ve learned in class and develop insight into French culture that cannot be achieved in any other way. Hosts vary from traditional family to single professionals. The housing coordinator in Strasbourg makes the placements based on extensive experience with each host.

Students usually eat their mid-day meal at one of the cafés or student restaurants. Continental breakfasts are provided by the host family every day, and evening meals are provided weekdays.

Students themselves repeatedly describe the host family experience as the best part of being abroad.

Insider Tips

Meet Durrie, a Discovery Strasbourg alumna who has some great tips for studying abroad in France: 

  • Strasbourg museums are free on the first Sunday of every month. Make sure to take advantage.
  • Rent a bike for just €5 and ride on the path into Germany.
  • During the holiday season, visit the Christmas Market near the Cathedral, a tradition since 1570.
  • Check out the quiche (and free WiFi) at L’artichaut, right down the street from the SU Center.
  • Join the ultimate frisbee club at the University of Strasbourg.



Students will be advised during the summer before departure by both the Syracuse-based SU Abroad staff and by a senior faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences, who will also serve as their advisor for the rest of the year (helping to choose spring courses during registration in November as well as advising throughout the spring semester). In addition to ongoing communication with students throughout the semester, we anticipate that the advisor will visit Strasbourg for a week early in the fall semester to talk with students and to help with their initial adjustment to being abroad and to college expectations.

First-Year Forum

All Discovery Strasbourg students will participate in the Strasbourg equivalent of the First-Year Forum offered by the College of Arts and Sciences on main campus. The goal of the forum is to orient you to college life, to SU, and to studying abroad. Students will discuss issues of host families, cultural adjustment, time management, study habits, expectations of college level courses, choosing a major, and more. This course will be taught by staff in Strasbourg with input from the associate dean for curriculum and instruction of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Program Field Study

The objective of the all-school field studies program is to offer you the opportunity to travel to cities throughout France learning about the history, art, architecture, and culture of your host country under the guidance of an experienced professor or lecturer. In the past all-school field studies program included day trips to Alsace, the Black Forest, hiking in the Vosges mountains, and Dijon-Burgundy. The trips are open to all students.


The Discovery Strasbourg curriculum provides rich introduction to France while fulfilling the same curricular requirements as those pursued by freshmen studying on Syracuse University's main campus. Upon return to Syracuse in the spring semester, Discovery Strasbourg participants will be on equal footing academically with their main campus peers.

Note: If you are interested in a natural science, mathematics, pre-med track, engineering, or computer science, you should apply to Discovery Madrid as this is the only center that offers the required first-semester courses in these programs.


  • CAS 101 – First Year Forum (1 credit): This seminar welcomes new students to Syracuse University. The course helps you develop closer relationships with peers and an instructor and eases the entrance into University life. Special topics will introduce and orient you to Strasbourg and France and discuss adjusting to a new culture.
  • French Language (3-4 credits): Use the French you learn in the classroom, on the streets of Strasbourg, and over dinner with your host family. You will take an online placement exam over the summer, with your language level confirmed once you arrive abroad. If you are at the beginning or intermediate levels, you will earn 4 credits. Students with more advanced language skills take a 3-credit language, literature, or history course taught in French.
  • WRT 105 – Studio 1: Practices of Academic Writing (3 credits): In WRT 105, you will focus on critical analysis and argument, practices that are central to the academic work in universities and in professional careers. The course will involve you in a shared topic of inquiry—an urgent issue that requires multiple points of view and kinds of knowledge— that you will engage with through readings, a range of informal and formal writing assignments, a modest amount of database and web research, and a lot of conversation with your classmates. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for writing. Students who are earning AP, IB, or other college-level credit for WRT 105, will take both PHI 191 and HST 200.1.

Plus one of the following courses:

  • PHI 191 – Ethics and Contemporary Issues (3 credits): This course introduces the questions, theories and arguments of moral philosophy. The approach is to raise both perennial and topical questions of right and wrong — What is justice? Are there objective moral facts? Should war refugees be detained? Are genetically modified foods safe? — and to apply moral thought in going about answering them. Socrates may exaggerate in saying the unexamined life is not worth living, but examining it through an ethical lens may lead to life being lived more fully. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core Critical Reflections requirement. This course is required for students who have satisfied the Writing Skills requirement with AP, IB, or other college-level credit.
  • HST 200.1 – Hostile Friends? France and the U.S., 1916-2016 (3 credits): In this course you will examine the cultural ties between France and the United States and how they have evolved in the last hundred years. Major themes discussed will include cross-border cultural exchanges (together with the notion of ‘borders’ in general), “Americanization,” and Old World v. New World. Through film screenings and readings by authors as diverse as Alexis de Tocqueville and Julia Child, you will come to see how the cultural differences between our two nations have shaped the way we see and understand each other today. This course satisfies a Liberal Arts Core requirement for social sciences. This course is required for students who have satisfied the Writing Skills requirement with AP, IB, or other college-level credit.


You will round out your schedule by selecting one of the following optional courses: