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January in Paris & Amsterdam: Youth & Society and Positive Psychology

The Louvre
Amsterdam Canal


Program Overview:

Explore the beautiful cities of Paris & Amsterdam while learning about youth and psychology.  Guided by Professors Darlene Piña (Sociology) and Emily Merryweather (Psychology), students will have first-hand experiences with youth culture as well as opportunities to examine the history and culture of these important locations. 

For students enrolling in Sociology, Youth & Society, you will:

  • Study the social position of youth in Dutch & French society, both past and present
  • Examine the institutions that socialize and control youth, including government, education, and employment
  • Learn about youth subcultures and immigrant experiences
  • Observe Dutch & French customs for youth regarding friendship, dating, and family relationships
  • Discover the roles media, pop culture, and technology play in the lives of Dutch & French youth
  • Analyze European youth social movements and political participation

For students enrolling in Positive Psychology:

This course will emphasize for students a nuance of well-being; finding meaning in difficult times. Therefore, it will be structured around four distinct areas of study; resilience, cultural identity, spirituality and community engagement as they relate to well-being.

In order to emphasize the four pillars of the course, students will participate in activities and tours that connect them to the people of France and the Netherlands through their unique cultures with cooking lessons, walking tours and cultural site visits. They will also be exposed to historically relevant sites such as Anne Frank House and the Secret Annex where Anne Frank hid from Nazi forces and wrote her now famous diary. In addition, students will tour a museum dedicated to the Dutch resistance movement. Throughout the course, students will read and discuss the writings of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author of the Nobel Peace Prize winning novel, Night. The book and travels will act as a platform to facilitate the difficult but necessary conversations about our shared history and our shared humanity.

Program Excursions:


  • Attend lectures by local experts on topics related to youth subcultures and immigrant groups in Amsterdam & Paris as well as Dutch & French social, economic, and educational policies affecting youth
  • Meet with organizations such as the European Union Youth Program and youth leadership councils in Amsterdam and Paris
  • Visit local high schools and colleges, including La Sorbonne in Paris


  • Guest lectures on WWII Resistance by local experts
  • Visit to Anne Frank House to discover the Secret Annex where she hid for over 2 years during WWII and wrote her famous diary
  • Visit to Versetzmuseum which tells of the Dutch resistance movement in WWII
  • French Cooking Class

ALL Students:

  • Take guided walks through Amsterdam’s historic city center and the famous Paris neighborhoods of The Left Bank, The Medieval Latin Quarter, and Village Montmartre
  • Explore the important museums of Paris, including the d’Orsay Museum, L'Orangerie, and the Louvre
  • Visit world-famous Amsterdam & Paris sites such as the Canals, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral, Champs-Elysées and more
  • Enjoy Dutch & French cuisine at charming cafés and brasseries, and sample delicious pastries & chocolate at the most popular boulangeries and patisseries

Academic Calendar:

January 3-15, 2021 (fly out January 3 to arrive by 1 pm January 4)

Academic Focus:

  • Sociology (SOC) 317: Youth & Society; Satisfies Upper-Division General Education requirement in the Social Sciences for students with 60 units or more (3 units of UDGE DD credit)
    OR 3 units of GE credit in Lifelong Learning (E) in which 60 units is not required. 
  • For students who have already taken SOC 317 at CSUSM, 3 units of elective credit is available through SOC 498C.


  • Psychology (PSYC) 344:  Positive Psychology; Satisfies Upper-Division elective in Psychology and Applied Psychology requirement
  • For studets who have already taken PSYC 344, 3 units of elective credit is available through PSYC 498C

Language of Instruction:



  • Class level: Open to all students. Students seeking Upper Division GE credit for SOC 317 must clear 60 units prior to taking this course.
  • GPA: 2.75 and above; good academic standing prior to departure


3 units, SOC 317, Area E credit, or SOC 498C


3 units, PSYC 344 or PSYC 498C


Shared twin/triple rooms in Amsterdam and shared triple rooms at the 3-star Citadines Apart’Hotel Didot Montparnasse in Paris which have kitchenettes.

Estimated Cost*:

$2,900* + Extended Learning Fees, estimated at $597 for 3 units

All fees include 3 nights shared accommodation in twin/triple rooms in Amsterdam; 8 nights shared accommodation in triple rooms in Paris; daily breakfast in Amsterdam; welcome and farewell dinners; public transportation pass for Amsterdam & Paris; train tickets from Amsterdam to Paris; all excursions and medical insurance. Airfare and personal expenditures NOT included in the program cost, estimated at $1,400-$1,700.

*Final program price is contingent upon enrollment and currency fluctuation. Global Education will finalize the final payment with registered participants before the due date to hopefully offer a reduced fee.

Some Useful Airfare Search Engines:

Please be sure to read the fine print concerning change fees, taxes, luggage restrictions, etc. before booking.  Whenever possible, book directly with an airline.  Do NOT book flights until Global Education has given you the authorization to do so.

To Apply:

  1. Attend a required information session led by the Program Leader running your course: Dr. Darlene Pina for Sociology and Professor Emily Merryweather for Psychology.
  2. Fill out the online application materials via the link below.   All application materials must be received by Wednesday, September 30 along with your non-refundable $300 deposit to the Office of Global Education, Extended Learning Building 588.  Online payment preferred through CashNet.  Please be advised to choose E-check and enter your checking account details to avoid the 2.65% convenience fees applicable to all non-checking account payments. Cash, checks, and money orders made payable to CSUSM will also be accepted.
  3. Final payment is due on Friday, October 30th to the Office of Global Education, following the payment guidelines outlined above.  Payment of tuition related expenses (estimated at $597) will be billed by Extended Learning and appear on your Student Center, following the payment guidelines set out for Winter Intersession.  Applicants must submit a passport photocopy and passport picture (3.00x4.00 cm) to the Office of Global Education by this time.
  4. Submit your flight details to Global Education here:  Flight Information Form
  5. Attend mandatory pre-departure orientation with your Program Leader & Global Education to discuss arrival instructions and the upcoming course(s).  Some course requirements/sessions may take place prior to leaving, beginning in December.  

January in Amsterdam & Paris Application:

 January in Amsterdam & Paris Application