London and Paris: Culture, Reflection and the Benedictine Connection

London, England & Paris, France
May 24 - June 7, 2017

Program Highlights

  • Attend at least one major theatrical production
  • Visit Oxford University and a Benedictine abbey outside of London
  • Explore London's museums and attractions
  • Order amazing French food with your knowledge of basic French
  • Ride a boat along the Seine and see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at sunset
  • Visit the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and other famous museums
  • Visit Westminster Abbey, Sacré Coeur Basilica and other famous churches, many of which share a Benedictine connection
  • Visit Monet's Garden and the town of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was martyred
  • Experience Benedictine hospitality with two Benedictine communities outside of London and Paris

These two cities have inspired artists for centuries. What tales will they invite you to tell?   

Program Description

Did you know Westminster Abbey started off as a Benedictine monastery? That Benedictine Sisters live in the heart of Montmartre, in Paris? Experience London for a week and Paris for another, visiting, observing, reflecting and writing about these two culturally rich cities, their peoples and their connections to us! Pre-travel we will discuss cultural expectations, learn a little French and analyze our own Benedictine heritage. While in Europe, you will have some time to explore on your own and, as a group, we will gather for daily briefs, reflections and sharing, in order to learn about the English and French cultures, about the Benedictine connection and, most importantly, about ourselves through the lens of "the other." This course is a historically- and culturally-focused short-term program and has been approved for the Experiential Learning (EL) designation.


The group will attend a performance at Shakespeare's Globe Theater, in the theater capital of the world. We will also visit museums, art galleries, and Oxford University. In addition, the group will take a tour to Douai Abbey, a Benedictine monastery between London and Reading. 


We will be immersing ourselves in the city of fashion, art, food and love. We will visit the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and the Palace of Versailles. We will also tour the awesome Sacré Coeur, which boasts one of the best views in Paris, and the breathtaking Sainte Chapelle. We will try out our newly learned basic French, impress the locals and delight in the world-famous gastronomy.

It will be busy...but a very fulfilling, learning-filled and community-building two weeks! 

Course Information

Course Name: London and Paris: Culture, Reflection and the Benedictine Connection

Course Code: COLG 280O

Credit Number: 2

Designation: Experiential Learning (EL)

This course will aim to introduce students to international travel and to help them navigate uncertainty and vulnerability; to help cultivate attentiveness and mindfulness; to help students become self-aware, aware of their own culture, identity and values, including their academic institution's Benedictine identity and values. Additionally, the course will expose students to some of the important historical and foundational aspects of London and Paris, with a special focus on Benedictine landmarks. 

Pre-travel, we will have a set of meetings to hear guest speakers, discuss readings and expectations for the trip and begin learning some basic French. During those meetings students will be evaluated on a) participation, b) oral presentations about monuments or topics of interest for the upcoming program, and c) short pre-trip writing/reflection assignments re: their own expectations/fears/questions. During travel, students will participate in daily meetings/discussions/reflections to allow for processing of their own experiences as they are living them. Students will have daily writing in their travel journals and will complete short writing assignments. Moreover, students will continue learning "survival skills" in a non-English-speaking country (in this case, France). Post-travel, students will have one longer written assignment, where they will think critically about their experiences and arrive at personal and global conclusions that sum up their time abroad. 

Program Cost

The estimated Program Fee per student is $4000 plus the cost of 2 CSB/SJU credits at the reduced summer tuition rate (approximately $573 per credit).

This price includes:

  • Accommodations during the program
  • Approximately half of your meals
  • Local transportation
  • Admission to museums, cultural attractions, musical and theatre productions outlined in the itinerary

The Program Fee does not include:

  • Approximately half of your meals
  • Personal spending money
  • Any activities not included with the program
  • 2 CSB/SJU credits
  • Roundtrip airfare (Minneapolis-London; Paris-Minneapolis)


London (tentative)

The group will reside in the heart of London, near Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Buckingham Palace.  Transportation is nearby, easy to navigate and included in the cost of the program.


The group will be staying at the FIAP Jean Monnet while visiting Paris. This is located in the Left Bank, in the 14th arrondissement, not far from the Catacombs and the Parc Montsouris.


Professor Ana Fonseca Conboy is the director of the program this year. She joined the CSB/SJU faculty in 2015, in the Department of Languages and cultures. She is passionate about French language and culture, having lived in different parts of France for four years. More recently, she has become interested in learning more about the Benedictine values and heritage at CSB/SJU. She is excited to share her love and knowledge with her students, and eager to learn from them and explore alongside them.