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Study Abroad Spring 2018 - Mirail in focus!

As part of their Intercultural Communication and Leadership (ICL) course, student went on a tour of immigrant neighborhood « Le Mirail ». They were introduced with architect Candilis original design for the area: a project for developing social diversity in a friendly and green environment. Students could compare and contrast initial plans with the reality of today’s social life. With unemployment rate at almost 50%, the neighborhood is striving to maintain community life through a large number of non-profit organizations. People there also have to face the harmful impact of its reputation that only shows and often distorts one side of the story.

Students’ ICL assignment was to write a one-page reflection on their experience there based on their observations and their knowledge of Toulouse city center to compare and contrast with this other part of the city.




Sean: It struck me as well when our guide told us the story of how the man got rejected for his job based on where he lived. The fact that a whole neighborhood can be classified as such to the point where his interviewer did not even look at the resume makes me cringe.Ben: It made me sad to see such a proactive and somewhat futuristic project turn into something so run-down but the community still seems to be thriving.

Macayla: The pond and green areas made me feel entirely different, though. Aside from the gardens in Toulouse, it was the first time that I felt close to nature in the city. The pond was calming and I could see myself hanging around there on my own time. It was a drastically different feeling from the rest of the neighborhood because of this.

Barrett: I believe that this tour was given to us in order to show us that things aren’t always as they appear, considering that La Reynerie is now considered a fairly dangerous neighborhood, but in reality, it was not like that at all. 

Claire: We learned that two men had worked together to create the neighborhood and each detail of the city’s structure served a purpose for the betterment of the community.

Anna: My overall experience in Mirail was extremely positive and filled with friendly interactions, beautiful scenery, and extremely fascinating history. It made me very sad to hear the tale of the demise of the Mirail from a bustling utopia to a down-trodden immigrant neighborhood.

Ashley: From my experiences with impoverished communities, it is usually the people on the outside that do more harm to the community than the people who live there.



Study Abroad Spring 2018 - Gastronomy in focus!

 Spring Study Abroad program is halfway and a lot has happened since the students landed at Blagnac airport! Our Language and Culture and Business and Culture programs have kept our students quite busy studying at Toulouse Business School and Institut Catholique de Toulouse, on top of the CIEE-designed courses they have been following.

Once they are done with their daily classes, CIEE makes sure they get some further exposure to French culture by setting up activities in which they will find out about big C and small C aspects of the society: museums and main historical sites on the one hand; traditional and community life on the other hand.

Once a month, this Blog will focus on one aspect of our programs among the following: academics, faculty, host families, one-day trips, overnight excursions, students’ intercultural observations…

This month, we have decided to focus on the most popular activities we have set up so far for students: somehow, they are always related to food, whether it is tasting or making or both!

Here are some examples of what our student have done in Toulouse since January:

Orientation Lunch at “Au bon Peuple chez Navarre”, a rural like restaurant with its long wooden tables and decorations dating back to the XVth century. The food is traditional and homy!




Continue reading "Study Abroad Spring 2018 - Gastronomy in focus!" »


Home away from home

At CIEE Toulouse, we are so grateful for our friendly and welcoming families! They are such a highlight of the program by opening their doors and family lives to our students and helping them improve their French. At the same time students receive unique and personal insights into French culture by living with a French family.

Here is a shout out to this semester’s families:

The Poublan family

  PoublanIzzy celebrated her birthday with her family and friends!   Publan2

The Sellier family




Daryl and his 5 year old host-brother Gaspard curl up for a film








The De Saint Front family




Véronique, Juliet’s host mother is an operetta singer.

Juliet also loves singing and Véronique was able to secure her a small part in:

“Le Pays du Sourire” (The Country of Smile)!

The operetta group played in one of the most prestigious theaters in Toulouse, then in Bordeaux and Saint Etienne! It was a unique  and glamorous opportunity for Juliet!





The Husseini family


The Robilliard family


The family enjoying an American dish Vanessa cooked.

The Boireau family



Goofing around before coffee, that's family!


Students who travel together learn together

Day trip to Carcassonne: 

As part of their “Masterworks of French Art” course, students went to visit the enchanting  castle of Carcassonne! 


The medieval fortress was classed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 and is rumored to be the inspiration for the Disney castle.

The visit illustrated firsthand what they learned during the course about the Middle Ages, church and society. The students were able to discuss on site the fight against Heresy (Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade).  



The purpose of this trip was to mirror the program focus on business and culture. If we' re talking business in Paris, visiting La Défense is a must. This business district has over 3600 companies including 15 out of the 50 leading world companies!


"Personnages Fantastiques” - Miro


"Araignée Rouge" - Calder

La Défense is less known for its numerous artistic works, but they are definitely worth noting: the architecture is an amazing mix of all-types buildings, but at the same time sculptures and water fountains diversify the landscape!


Visits of course to the central tourist stops such as Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower were necessary and students tried their best to understand the Parisian way of life!

They went to see a play called :“How to Become Parisian in One Hour”: a survival guide to fit in in the capital! It was a great insider's perspective on the mystery of Parisian personality!



 Testing escargot!!

And to top it all off last but not least, they discovered the delicious edible offerings of Paris …!  


Learning the secrets of macarons


Alongside chef Romain Laval, students learned the European style of baking with a scale and the necessity of exact measuring in pastry making!



After some hardwork there was the tasty reward of the classic French macaron!



Discovering Toulouse

As part of their “Masterworks of Art” class, students visited all key historical sites in Toulouse with their professor, Eric Créma.




Toulouse has a wealthy historical heritage with monuments such as the Saint Sernin basilica, the largest Romanesque basilica in Europe, the Augustins Museum ((Romanesque and Gothic sculpture), Saint-Etienne Cathedral, and the Jacobins’ Convent (in the above photo).

Students also had the opportunity to discover the cutting-edge and very modern aspect of the city with a visit to Fablab!

The Toulouse Fablab was the first of its kind to be created in France. It is an open space that makes numerical material available to everyone to create all sorts of innovative objects. It is a laboratory at the crossroads of science and poetry. Students learned about 3-D printing and found out that with this technology one can even print  a pizza or a chocolate cake!

FablabHere, Lingchich Yang, our guide is showing a works of one of Fablab founders, Gilles Azzaro, a voice sculptor.

A couple of years ago, he was asked by Barack Obama to “sculpt” a voice message for Michelle’s birthday!


Introduction to Pétanque

No matter which park one is passing in Toulouse, one can definitely come across the local sport of Pétanque in action on a daily basis! The basic idea is to throw heavy metal balls as close as possible to the cochonnet, which is a small “target” ball. Yesterday, students had the opportunity to test their skills!








So…which one is closest to the “cochonnet”?

Things can get heated and competitive players sometimes use a yard stick to measure the exact distance between the balls and the cochonnet!


Bienvenue en France Fall 2016

CIEE TOULOUSE is happy and excited to welcome its Fall semester Business and Culture students who come from all corners of the US!


From left to right:

Isabelle (Izzy) Rudolph - University of Redlands

Fernanda De Noronha Tilkian - Babson College

Elizabeth (Libbie) Reed - Wofford College

Daryl Hurley II - Wittenberg University

Juliet Oman - University of Illinois

The group of joyful and enthusiastic of students will have the opportunity to follow courses at Toulouse Business School, Université of Toulouse 1 and at our CIEE Study Center.

At the CIEE study center, students will follow a French language course as well as “Masterworks of French Art” and “European Economic Integration” courses. Three of them will also do an Internship in three young, dynamic and thriving startups!

This semester, we are also offering for the first time the Intercultural and Communication Leadership Course (ICL) taught by the center Resident Director. Students will find out about the challenges of intercultural skill development and become more familiar with French culture and values.