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RIT Global

Journey into the cradle of American Deaf Culture by studying the rich history of Deaf education and Deaf rights in France.

Program Highlights:

  • Learn about French Deaf culture and those who were key contributors to legal rights for Deaf people and the emerging Deaf community in France and beyond.
  • Visit the St. Jacques Deaf School in France where Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet visited and brought back Laurent Clerc, the first Deaf teacher to teach in the U.S.
  • Tour cultural sites around Paris, Caen and Rouen, France - including the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Versailles, guided by local deaf Parisians.

In Deaf studies, France and the United States have shared a very close relationship in different aspects of Deaf education and sign language. France also has a rich history and cultural traditions (e.g., arts, education, and food), allowing for an ideal opportunity for learning outside the classroom. French history will be covered as you visit Paris, Caen, Rouen. France is an ideal location because it has a large Deaf population and a rich history of Deaf education and rights. You will participate in accessible guided tours in sign language to culturally significant sights, including Deaf schools, renowned museums, Deaf theater and arts, and other sites.

You will explore multiple cities in Northern France. In Paris, you'll visit the world-famous Louvre museum, the Tuileries Gardens, Abbe de l'Epee's cenotaph at St. Roch church (founder of the first free school for the Deaf), the historic St. Jacques Deaf school, the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre. You will also learn about Laurent Clerc's movements in France (Normandy-Rouen-Havre Harbor). Rouen is the location of St. Joan of Arc's Church and Museum. Caen is the location of William the Conquerer's castle and the site of the Bayeux Tapestry. A side trip to Mt. Saint Michel and Normandy (World War II) is also part of the program.

The application deadline for the spring/summer 2022 program has been reached. To inquire if this program will run again in 2023, contact the faculty director, Chris Kurz (

Program Term: Spring course with early summer travel
Credits: 3

Course Details:

  • NTID-NDLS 280 - International Studies Seminar: France History, Culture & Deaf Studies

You will be enrolled in a spring course in Rochester and will travel to France in May to complete the coursework.

No pre-requisites. Open to all undergraduate and graduate majors. Must have knowledge of ASL.

If this program plans to run in 2023, applications will open in September 2022.

COVID-19 & Study Abroad

The RIT Education Abroad office is constantly monitoring how COVID-19 is affecting international travel, with student safety as our top priority. Students will be required to be vaccinated, follow all applicable CDC and/or state/international travel guidelines when traveling, and may need to take additional precautions. For the most up to date information and FAQs, please visit COVID-19 & Study Abroad 

Language of Instruction: 
ASL, English
Course Discipline: 
Deaf Studies
Undergraduate, Graduate
Open To: 

RIT Students only