Deaf Culture, History, and Sign Language in France

May 14 - June 3, 2023

A group of students posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

ASLA 113: French Sign Language and Deaf Culture in France (4 credits)

The American Sign Language (ASL) Program at the University of Rochester offers a unique study abroad experience in France during the summer for Deaf and hearing college-level ASL students and professionals. This three-week program gives ASL users an opportunity to learn French Sign Language and French Deaf culture in both formal and informal settings and to further their understanding of the international Deaf world. The program is not limited to University of Rochester students and is open to anyone who meets the program prerequisites.

A native Deaf French faculty member from Rochester works with several faculty members in the French Deaf community to jointly plan the program, schedule, and curriculum offered to ASL students and professionals.

This four-credit program focuses on basic and advanced learning of conversational LSF (French Sign Language) and offers field trips fostering a broad understanding of French Deaf culture and general French culture in Paris as well as the regions beyond the capital.

Students attend classes on LSF and French Deaf history and culture in the first week. They also attend guided tours of culturally significant sights such as renowned museums, Deaf theater, Lyon and other villages, and Deaf schools. All classes and tours will be conducted in LSF and International Sign.

Study begins before going to France, as students will receive the course syllabus and materials for review and familiarization. This will be built upon during the LSF and Deaf Culture classes in Paris, France.

Download a Printable Flyer [pdf]

Program Prerequisites

Rochester students must have successfully completed ASLA 105: Intermediate American Sign Language before studying abroad in Paris. For non-UR students, a sign communication proficiency interview is not required, but if applicants have one, it must be rated at the intermediate-level or above.

Applicants’ sign language proficiency will also be evaluated by a conversation with the program director. Learning written French is optional for this program.

Application and Program Deadlines

Apply online through the Education Abroad Portal. The deadline for applying is February 15, 2023.

Program Dates

All participants must arrive in Paris on Sunday, May 14. Please be in touch with our office as well as the instructor, Guillaume Chastel, to organize your arrival in Paris.

The course program will conclude on Saturday, June 3. Please make sure that your return flight leaves Saturday June 3.

Program Costs

The program cost for 2023 is $4000. The cost includes accommodations in France, program-sponsored in-country travel, site visits, field trips, and some meals.

Not included in this price are items such as the cost of roundtrip airfare between Rochester and Paris, academic supplies, passports, visa (if needed), food, and other personal expenses. Estimated costs for lunch and dinner over the 20 days are a minimum of $300.

Program costs are subject to change due to currency fluctuations, unexpected increases in transportation costs, program changes or University of Rochester policy changes.

The University offers a variety of scholarships for students who participate in programs organized or led by Rochester faculty. Undergraduates who participate in faculty programs abroad for credit are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to students with little or no previous participation in a program abroad. Selection is based on financial need, merit, and the student's ability to articulate their interest in going abroad. Recipients will be expected to share their experiences with the University community and/or with the scholarship donor, depending upon the scholarship awarded.

Program Requirements

This program is open to any student who meets the academic prerequisites of the course, has at least 15 credit hours of university instruction, and has at least intermediate-level ASL skills. You must have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA to participate in any education abroad program or be accepted upon special permission of the instructor.

All participants require final approval by the faculty member. We also reserve the right to review conduct records as part of our application process and student conduct records are considered when making the determination on an applicant.

Program Continuing Education Credit for Professionals

If you would like to earn RID CEU’s for registered interpreters for the Deaf, contact Guillaume Chastel for information at

Program Contacts

Professor Guillaume Chastel
(585) 286-2714 (VP)

American Sign Language Program
(585) 273-5165

Center for Education Abroad
(585) 275-7532