Patricia Chaban, adjunct instructor at NYIT College of Arts and Sciences, is also the director of L'école des nouveaux métiers de la communication (EFAP) New York. Since 2000, the two organizations have partnered to provide exchange opportunities, first to students in France wishing to study in New York at NYIT and more recently to students at NYIT who wish to travel to France. She sat down with The Box to talk about the program, the benefits of studying abroad, and the potential for future programs—including one to Bordeaux that will focus on the region’s two specialties: tourism and wine.
Can you tell me about the exchange program through EFAP?
EFAP is the leading school of communication in France. In 2000, we developed a partnership with NYIT, and more precisely the Communication Arts department, to give French students the opportunity to spend a semester or a year in New York. In 17 years, we have welcomed more than 800 students.
In 2015, NYIT students had the opportunity to study in Paris for the first time. Why was the decision made to make the exchange two-sided?
As the director of EFAP New York, I wanted to continue to provide innovative, high-quality academic experiences, but I thought my mission would not be complete if I did not offer the opportunity to NYIT students to study in France for a semester. That’s how the summer program in Paris was born.
What does the program include?
The four-week EFAP Summer School program offers international students the opportunity to take communication courses (taught entirely in English) while experiencing French culture first hand. They can take up to six NYIT credits (two classes) at the undergraduate and graduate level. [Course topics include international marketing, producing a documentary in Paris, and French language and culture.]
In addition, we organize at least two cultural activities and corporate visits per week. Students are housed in an off-campus residence, which is a short subway ride from the school. The program includes courses and cultural activities, and students receive housing and a metro card.
Who can apply for the program? NYIT students from all campuses can apply for the program. This year, we had 15 NYIT participants from Old Westbury, Manhattan, and Abu Dhabi.
How are students selected?
Students can apply through NYIT’s Global Exchange Program or the EFAP New York office (16 West 61st Street, room 1017). We work in tandem to advise and register students. Applicants must have completed at least one year of study, be in good academic standing, and receive authorization to take the courses offered in Paris from their academic advisor.
Is the program open to students from all majors?
Because of the nature of the classes, it is open to students majoring in communication or business. However, any student could participate if they have taken the required general electives. Also, all NYIT students (undergraduate and graduate) who will earn credit for their semester or short-term program abroad can apply for the Edward Giuliano Global Fellowship.
Is there a limit to the number of students that can participate?
EFAP has three campuses in Paris: one off the Champs Elysées, one at the Trocadéro, and the other at Levallois, so we have a lot of space.
Why is it important for students to participate in these kinds of programs?
Our mission as educators is to help students to become the global leaders of tomorrow with the necessary skills (teamwork, flexibility, and multicultural intelligence) to navigate across cultures. Those are assets recruiters are particularly fond of.
Are there plans to expand the program outside of Paris?
Yes, our second program is already designed and will run next summer. We will offer two weeks in Paris with a course in luxury brand management and two weeks in Bordeaux with a course in wine management that will also include activities based on the two specialties of the region: tourism and wine. This course should appeal to business and hospitality students.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from the students?
They love it! They are generally pleased with the quality of the courses and with the experience of living in Paris for a month and embracing a new culture. It is very rewarding for me to see how inspirational this program is.
Interested in studying in France for a semester? Email Patricia Chaban at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This interview has been edited and condensed.