Normandy, France

Normandy Fact Sheet

Apply now to reserve your place in Normandy, France.
DATES: May 24 – June 20, 2019

PROGRAM COST: $4,995 + airfare. (Includes: Tuition – 3 credits; travel insurance; farewell dinner; reporting trips and transport from London to the D-Day beaches to Paris; home stay accommodations with two meals a day in Rouen and youth hostels in London and Paris.)

GENERAL LOCATION: The course gathers and starts in London, includes a reporting trip to Paris and is based in Rouen, France, near the Normandy D-Day beaches on France’s north coast.

FOCUS: Multimedia journalism on the 75th anniversary of the U.S., U.K. and Canadian troops’ D-Day invasion liberating France from Germany – OR opinion writing on European perspectives of the U.S., President Trump and/or Canada.

COOPERATING UNIVERSITIES: University of Jamestown; University of Massachusetts-Amherst; State University of New York-Oswego; Ball State University.

CONTACT: Questions about the Normandy Project? Contact Program Director Mike Dorsher, Ph.D., at: (

The Normandy Project

The D-Day invasion that started June 6, 1944, on the beaches of Normandy, France, began the end of World War II – and its 75th anniversary this coming June will mark the last major gathering of living participants and eyewitnesses of that world-changing event.

We will be there, and you can, too!

The Jardin des Plantes in Rouen.

We will land on the beaches of Normandy the first week of June with an international team of journalism students to chronicle the D-Day anniversary events and stories. Alternatively, you can join this program and participate in our new opinion writing course, learning and then contextualizing how Europeans view the United States, President Trump or the Trudeau administration in Canada.

But first, we will gather in London to do some background reporting and research on the planning of the D-Day invasion, to explore the British underpinnings of U.S. and Canadian cultures – and to have our first foreign interactions in a language we all speak. We will stay in a centrally located youth hostel for these first five nights. We’ll spend days blogging on Churchill’s Underground War Room, the National Gallery’s war images and Impressionist paintings of Normandy, the effects of Britain’s “Brexit” withdrawal from the European Union and the current state of U.K.-French-U.S.-Canadian relations.

From London, we will take a commuter train to England’s southeast coast, catch a ferry and cross the same part of the English Channel that most of the D-Day troops did 75 years earlier. Upon landing in France, we’ll take another scenic train ride about an hour inland to Rouen, the capital of Normandy and the base city for our course. Rouen is where French-English loyalists burned St. Joan of Arc at the stake in 1431, where Impressionist Claude Monet made 30 differently lit paintings of the city’s soaring cathedral – and where we’ll be accommodated within the host homes and classrooms of “French in Normandy,” the leading language school in northern France.

In Rouen, we will settle into a routine of each morning’s French language and culture lessons – customized for you whether you’ve never spoken French or are nearly fluent – followed by separate journalism and opinion writing lessons. We’ll break for a leisurely lunch, as the French do. Then we’ll spend our afternoons out reporting and researching -- with faculty and interpreters -- and later producing and editing packages of multimedia stories and editorials.

For centuries, the English and French cultures have quaintly mixed throughout Normandy in general and Rouen in particular. Here we’ll produce stories on the effects of climate change, the EU perspective on Brexit, what the French think of President Trump, Franco-Canadian partnerships, migrant workers, art, music and, of course, D-Day anniversary participants. “French in Normandy” will bus us to and from the D-Day beachheads for at least three reporting trips, before, during and after the June 6 anniversary.

The following week, we’ll complete our reporting or editorials with a safety-conscious, four-day weekend trip to Paris, the famed “city of lights,” France’s capital and still the world’s capital of fashion, food and art. We’ll seek out the art that exhibited Normandy’s beauty and the seniors who remember the Americans’ liberation of Paris after D-Day. But there will be free time for shopping and sightseeing, too.

The Rouen cathedral soars 500 feet.

For the final week, we’ll return to Rouen to complete French lessons, your editorials or your multimedia journalism, making sure everyone comes away with an in-depth, well-edited digital “clip” for their portfolio. We’ll finish on June 20 with a farewell dinner to celebrate our accomplishments, our insights and our friendships among classmates from across the U.S. and Canada. The next morning, students can catch trains to Paris or London for return flights to North America – or for independent travel throughout Europe. Bon voyage, n’est pas?!


Students will earn three credits of upper-division communication electives for this course, either in journalism or opinion writing. The credits will be issued by the University of Jamestown, and we will work with you so they are easily transferable to your university.

Housing and French Instruction

In Rouen, students will stay in pairs with professional host families, vetted by “French in Normandy.” You’ll eat two meals a day with them and get their inside tips on culture, sights and sources. Plus, there’s no better way to practice and expand upon the French you’re learning in class each morning. You’ll learn more French in 24 days of cultural immersion than an entire semester in the classroom.


Students should bring their own laptop computer and digital or video cameras and recorders as well. The program will provide some equipment as needed.


(Subject to enrollments/budget)

Michael Dorsher, Ph.D. (Normandy Program Director and ieiMedia Executive Director) is an emeritus professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a former Fulbright Scholar at McGill University in Montréal. Advanced in French and Spanish, Mike was ieiMedia’s program director in Nice, France, in 2014-16, and he previously led journalism students to Peru and England. He was an award-winning journalist for 20 years, capped by four years as a founding editor of

Steve Fox (opinion writing) is a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Steve has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years, including 10 at The Washington Post’s website, and has taught at UMass for the past 11 years. He revived the department’s Opinion Writing class over the past several years and writes regular columns for several journalistic outlets, including the Daily Hampshire Gazette and The Poynter Institute.

Eileen Gilligan, Ph.D., (multimedia faculty) has taught journalism at the State University of New York at Oswego since 2005. A former political and statehouse reporter in Delaware, Dr. Gilligan regularly leads student trips to Paris where they study how media work in France. She enjoys freelancing for a local family magazine and hiking with her dog in the U.S. and Europe.

Gary Metzker (multimedia faculty) has been a full-time lecturer at California State University, Long Beach, since 2008 and serves as design adviser for the Pinnacle- and Pacemaker-award-winning Daily 49er and DIG Magazine. In 2013, the California Journalism Education Coalition named him Journalism Educator of the Year. For almost 25 years, he worked at the Los Angeles Times as sports news editor, metro news editor, A-1 editor and senior editor. During that time, Metzker was a part of four Pulitzer Prize-winning staff awards for breaking news and spot news.

Sharon S. Kessler, MPA (social media faculty) is a freelance writer in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who was an editor at the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune for nearly 10 years and The Washington Post for nearly five years. She is a certified digital marketing professional, and she was an interactive media strategist for the nonprofit Saint Paul Foundation. She was a visiting journalist in ieiMedia’s Nice, France, programs in 2014 and 2015.

View complete faculty biographies on our Normandy Faculty Page.

Program Cost

The cost is $4,995 plus airfare. Included: tuition – 3 credits, accommodations and two meals a day with a host family, farewell dinner, travel insurance, French and journalism or PR lessons, travel costs from London to Normandy to Paris. Graduates and students who do not need credit can deduct $450 from the program cost.

Financial Aid

Students studying abroad for the summer term have limited financial aid options, but Pell grant recipients are encouraged to apply and receive our help in applying for a Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Check with your school’s financial aid office and your study abroad offices to find out if other assistance is available. More information on financial aid is available here.

Apply now to reserve your place in the Normandy, France, program. Or, contact Program Director Mike Dorsher at: Students must fill out the online application and include contact information for two references using the “Apply Now” link. A $100 application fee is required with the application but will be applied in full to your program fees or refunded if you are not accepted into the program. Application deadline: March 1, 2019.

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