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Program Description:

Program Overview     

World War II shaped the course of the twentieth century and France occupied a central place in the history of that war. After Germany's victory in the Battle of France in 1940, the Nazi's occupied over half of the country, including Paris. French citizens participated in the Resistance in growing numbers, conducting campaigns of sabotage and assisting the escape of downed Allied bomber crew members. The D-Day landings in June 1944, the largest military sea-borne invasion in history, marked the start of the Battle of Normandy and the beginning of the final chapter in the defeat of Nazi Germany. Students in this course will learn about World War II through the lens of the French experience and we will then travel to France to see first-hand the places where many of the pivotal events transpired. The class will tour the Normandy beaches where the D-Day landings occurred, exploring the German battlements that formed Hitler's Atlantic Wall, and walking in the footsteps of the American, British and Canadian soldiers who overcame those defenses. In the latter part of the week, we will visit sites connected to the history of the French Resistance. These include the maze of Catacombs which lie beneath the city of Paris as well as the Arc de Triomphe through which the Free French Forces marched in August 1944 when Paris was liberated. Along with those historic sites, the class will tour some of France's great museums, including those dedicated to preserving the history of D-Day, such as the Utah Beach Landing Museum, the Airborne Museum, and the D-Day Experience Museum. Other museums will center on the French experience, including the Museum of the Liberation of Paris and the French Army Museum. In order to gain a perspective on the rich French history that informed the country's nationalism, we will also visit sites with connections to the medieval past, such as Mont St. Michel, a 1200-year-old fortified abbey and pilgrimage site, located on a picturesque island off the coast of Normandy.

Program Quicklinks     

Housing and Meals
Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
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Any pre-requisite courses are established by the faculty leader or department hosting the course.  The following have been listed as pre-requisites for consideration to enroll in this course and travel on the embedded education abroad program:
  • No pre-requisites.
  • This course is open to all majors and/or all colleges.
  • Admission in the course and permission to travel with the group are at the discretion of the faculty leader and/or academic department hosting the course.  Academic standing and disciplinary or conduct issues may impact eligibility.

Housing and Meals

During the embedded travel component, housing will consist of overnight accommodations at a hotel/hostel.

Program Costs

Students pay regular Penn State tuition (either in-state or out-of-state) for the credits associated with the embedded course.  Travel costs, lodging, meals, excursions, and other fees are determined by the program budget which is set by the program leader.  Please consult the program leader for additional information.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Global Programs administers a scholarship that is specifically designated to support students studying abroad on embedded courses.  The scholarship is competitive, and the deadlines to apply are strictly enforced.  Please review the Embedded Programs Scholarship eligibility, deadlines, and application process.

For More Information

For more information about this course, please contact the program leader: David Witwer, by emailing

How to Apply

 The process for enrolling in an embedded course varies according to the instructor and/or department.  The program leader has indicated that in order to enroll in the course and travel component, students must contact the program leader.

Studying Abroad with a Disability

Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.




Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring- Embedded 2020 08/21/2019
Rolling Admission 03/07/2020 03/15/2020
NOTE: The application deadline date is NOT as it appears above. Please contact the program leader David Witwer by emailing if you are interested in applying for this embedded program.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed