Spring 2018

Study Abroad Tahiti TikiOffered in the spring of even numbered years, next offered in Spring 2018.

The faculty director for the Spring 2018 Tahiti program is French Professor Jan Solberg of Kalamazoo College (MI).

Tahiti, with its French colonial background and Polynesian heritage, is a setting that allows students to have a rich cultural experience through the combination of Western and non-Western traditions in one location. It also gives participants the opportunity to experience life in a location very different from Iowa-that of a tropical island.

All students, regardless of major, are welcome to participate in this semester-long study abroad program based at Simpson’s partner institution, the University of French Polynesia (UPF) on the South Pacific island of Tahiti. Given that French is the language of communication in Tahiti and the language of instruction at UPF, participation in the program carries a prerequisite of two college-level French classes (minimum 8-credit hours). Even this minimal language background will prime participants to make faster linguistic progress in country.

Students on the program will take a core of courses designed specifically for them: a level-appropriate French-for-foreigners course (4 credits), Traditional and Modern Polynesian Music (1 credit), History and Political Institutions in Tahiti (1 credit), Literature of the South Pacific in French Translation (1 credit), Archeology and Ancient Polynesian Civilization (1 credit), and a study abroad reflection course (4 credits, ECC: Global Perspective) taught in English by the program’s faculty director. The faculty director will also offer a course taught in both French and English entitled Storytelling in French Polynesia: Then and Now (4 credits, ECC:  Oral Communication).   Study abroad students will also be permitted to enroll in regularly offered classes at the University of French Polynesia with the instructor’s permission, as per their language level, academic interests, and curricular needs.

Students will live in a dormitory with kitchen facilities they may use with others on the program, and they will receive a regular meal stipend with which to purchase food for themselves.  A couple of weekend stays with host families during the program will give students the opportunity to learn more about Tahitian culture and society first hand.

2012 group arrival to PPT--smallCost of the program

To participate in the program, students pay Simpson tuition, room and board plus a program fee estimated to be between $3,000 – $3,500. In addition, students are also responsible for covering their air transportation costs to and from Tahiti at an approximate cost of $1,600 from Des Moines as well as the cost of obtaining their French student visa (approximately $200).


Students must take and pass the one-credit hour orientation course (or its online equivalent) during the fall semester preceding the semester in Tahiti. Students must also have a grade point average of at least 2.5 both at the time of application for the program, and at the time of departure in order to be able to study abroad. Also, students must have successfully completed FREN 111 (two semesters of college-level French) or more prior to studying abroad in Tahiti.

Learning about rays

Learning about rays

To apply for admission into the program, students should complete the online application, and upload all of the required documents by Saturday, April 15, 2017.  An application includes:

  • Creating an account on the new online application system, and then completing the online application process on that site.
  • Writing a one to two page personal statement explaining why you’re interested in this semester program and how it fits into your educational goals.
  • Providing the names and contact information for two people who could serve as references (neither of whom are related to you and at least one should be a Simpson professor) on your skills, abilities, and character.

Then, upload the following to your Simpson SC Connect account:

  • a copy of your Simpson College degree audit.  Once you’ve obtained your degree audit on your SC Connect account, right click within the web browser and “Select All”. Then right click again and select “Copy”. Open a new document in Microsoft Word and change the orientation to Landscape. Then Right click in the document to “Paste” the Degree Audit into the new Word document. Save this document as a .pdf file by selecting “PDF” from the “Save file type” drop down menu which is located below the file name.  Then upload the file
  • a copy of the data page from your passport, if you already have it, but if you don’t already have a passport, then upload a copy of your completed passport application (with your SSN blacked out). Please note: you are not required to submit that completed passport application, the supporting documentation or the associated processing fee to the Warren County Recorder’s Office or any other passport application processing site until you’ve received notification that you have been accepted into a travel course.
  • Proof that you’ve made a $200 non-refundable deposit to the Simpson College Business Office.  This deposit is applied toward the total program cost.  If the applicant is not accepted into the program, the funds will be credited back to the student’s account.

When you complete your application materials, you will be asked to sign up for a 15-minute interview with the Program Director and the Director of International Education, which will take place during the week of Mar. 20, 2017.

Students will be notified of their status in the Tahiti program during the week of Mar. 27, 2017.   A second deposit payment of $300 will be due by October 15, 2017.

Final program payment is due to be paid with Spring Semester tuition, room, and board by January 2, 2018.

For more information, contact:

Jan Solberg

Professor of French at Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, Michigan)


Jay Wilkinson

Director of International Education
Simpson College
701 North C Street
Indianola, IA 50125
(515) 961-1288
toll free (800) 362-2454, ext. 1288

Study Abroad Tahiti Tiki Village