Summer Program in France: Paris & Arcachon

May 15 - June 15, 2018


For more than 30 years, the University of Iowa College of Law has operated an intellectually stimulating and culturally rewarding international and comparative law study abroad program in France. The program begins in Paris where students spend several days visiting the courts, the Paris Bar Association, and a law school with speakers including prominent judges and lawyers. Participants then travel to Arcachon for the remainder of the program.  Arcachon is a scenic seaside town, ideal for study and exposure to French culture.  It is also located less than an hour from Bordeaux, a French city well known for its rich history and touristic appeal, where students will also visit the National School of Judges.


The cost of the program is $7,600 including tuition and housing. Students will be housed in a hotel (to be determined) while in Paris, and the wi-fi equipped Villa Regina Hotel while in Arcachon, with the latter offering studio apartments or one bedroom (shared) apartments. The student budget provides the breakdown of other expenses besides the tuition.  This budget is the amount students should approach their financial aid office about to determine their eligibility for financial aid.


American and French instructors will teach the courses. English is the language of instruction. None of the courses offered have prerequisites. The courses will take place at the Villa Regina Hotel, where students will also live. Classes are held in the solarium, which is also used for additional study space. The program director and faculty use the program office in the hotel as well. Additionally, research assistants complete the staff.  The following courses will be offered in 2018:

Introduction to French Law (with an Emphasis on Labor Law) (2 s.h. credit) PDF icon2017 Syllabus
Taught by Michaël Amado, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Paris & Avocat a la Cour, Amado-Cabinet D'Avocats, Paris.  This two-unit course will introduce students to the laws of France, their characteristic features, and the role of France's main institutions. The subjects will include Civil Law, Contracts, Tort, Family Law, Commercial Law, Criminal Law, and Labor Law.  As part of the course we will visit a French law school, a Paris court, and the Ecole of Magistrature National (ENM) (the National Judge School) in Bordeaux.

Comparative Constitutional Law (2 s.h. credit)
Taught by Todd Pettys, University of Iowa College of Law H. Blair and Joan V. White Chair in Civil Litigation; Caroline Sheerin, University of Iowa College of Law Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research.  This course will bring a comparative focus to bear upon the United States Constitution, with a particular emphasis on the Constitution of France and the freedom of expression in such areas as libel law, hate speech, and more.  The course will also feature a suitably tailored writing component aimed at helping students master the course material while also improving their own expressive abilities.

Law in the Muslim World (2 s.h. credit) PDF icon2017 Syllabus
Taught by Program Director Adrien Wing, University of Iowa College of Law Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law Programs. This two-unit course will survey a selection of the various types of laws existing in the nearly 60 countries of the Muslim world. The subjects will include Islamic law; unwritten customary law; civil law including constitutional, commercial, and criminal law; international human rights law, particularly women's rights, and a case study on the right to self-determination; and public international law relating to terrorism.


Program Director
Dean Adrien K. Wing
The University of Iowa College of Law
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Program Assistant
Amanda Bibb

For a student point of view, contact:
Jodi Mckay
Alexandra Stecker
Rochelle Vasquez


Any student needing accommodation should contact Dean Wing prior to submitting the application. France, like many European countries, has many older buildings that do not meet newer accessibility standards. The Villa Regina hotel where everyone will stay and where classes are held is fully accessible, and some parts of  Paris and Arcachon are fully accessible. French trains, buses, taxis and many tourist attractions are not usually accessible. Students requiring assistance with flights should make requests directly through the airline.


The $200 deposit paid with submission of the program application is nonrefundable. The remainder of the program fee is nonrefundable after April 20, 2018, except in case of certifiable personal medical emergency.
Although the program has never been canceled, the University of Iowa College of Law reserves the right to cancel the program should circumstances warrant such, including lack of sufficient registrations, or acts of war. In the event of cancellation, all fees and deposits paid will be refunded within twenty days of the cancellation. The program director will assist the students in finding another suitable program, if the students so desire.


Terrorism remains a worldwide potential problem, and there is currently a U.S. State Department global worldwide caution for all Americans. For up-to-date information about travel and security conditions, visit If the State Department issues an alert or warning applicable to France before or during the program, we will notify all participants. If a student withdraws prior to the commencement of the program due to an alert or warning, the student will receive a full refund of all monies advanced within twenty days of their withdrawal. If a student withdraws during the course of the program due to an alert or warning, or if the program is terminated, students will be refunded fees paid, except for room and board payments utilized prior to the date of termination or withdrawal.

Thinking about going abroad? Here are some comments from our students and alumni about the benefits of going abroad.

  • "The summer I spent studying abroad in Arcachon was one of my favorite experiences in law school. The course content was challenging but the setting offered a truly unique immersion in international law. I especially enjoyed the many school-sponsored trips, such as the visit to a courthouse in Bordeaux, and the world-famous Great Dune of Pyla (largest sand dune in Europe). Most importantly, the summer in Arcachon gave me an opportunity to make close and lasting connections with both the law professors who taught the classes and my fellow students. I think studying abroad also helped me in getting a job with a large international law firm after graduation. C’est tres bonne!" - Kara Westercamp ('09)
  • “Participating in the Arcachon Program was one of the best things I did in law school. There's really no downside to the program. It's a productive way to spend a summer because you're earning law school credit, but it's also a lot of fun seeing some truly amazing parts of the world. It's also a great way to get to know your classmates better. The Arcachon Program provided me with a great education, wonderful cultural experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime.” - Matt Kishinami ('06)
  • The Arcachon program compares to none; it is a program of first class. The intense coursework, VIP visits to French courts, and the beach at your finger tips is the perfect way to start your summer off before doing an internship.  This program is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am glad I made the decision to attend! - Rochelle Vasquez
  • This was a truly wonderful program and I can't imagine a better experience to have had during my first summer in law school.  I have new perspectives to take back with me to law school and so much to talk about in interviews.  I learned so much in just a short amount of time and really feel I have grown both culturally and academically.
  • It was such a treat to be able to take part in this program.  There is so much value in traveling and living in a new environment.  The experience is priceless. - Stephanie Cager Moore
  • The trip to Arcachon provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about French culture, other ways of approaching the same issue, and taking a small break from the crazyness that was 1L year.
  • I had a great experience.  This is a fascinating place and the classes were eye opening.  If you bring a significant other, it'll be a romantic time you'll long remember.  The friendships formed between students are far deeper than what you normally get in law school.  I highly recommend this experience.
  • I loved this program.  It was a great chance to work collaboratively with other law students without the normal pressure of law school as you did not feel as if you were competing with them.  Additionally, it was a great opportunity to learn so many things -- whether from the Professors or each other -- in such a short amount of time.  Highly recommend to anyone!  And an excellent value!