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The Berridge Arts Program’s Creative Semester is a unique opportunity for students to live in a creative community led by professional artists, in an 18th-century chateau in Normandy, France, on a gap year abroad.

What the program offers:

  • Guided excursions
  • Cultural experiences
  • Artistic workshops
  • Hands-on classes in all disciplines including Filmmaking, Writing, Studio Art, Photography, Theatre, Music and Design for Stage and Screen

Creative Semester is for any student interested in exploring the arts, experiencing French culture and living in community. The program welcomes students of all levels of interest and experience (from complete beginner to those already in pursuit of a specific creative career). You might be looking to apply to an arts college or film program, pick up a completely new skill, deepen your artistic abilities or just enjoy some right-brained travel before pursuing other passions. Wherever you are at on your artistic journey, we work with you to craft your gap time into an enriching and meaningful time abroad.

The Arts at Creative Semester

Each participant chooses an Artistic Concentration from:

  • Film
  • Theatre
  • Studio Art
  • Music
  • Design for Stage/Screen

Students will have a range of classes in their chosen concentration, learning new skills and building a portfolio of work as they go.

The program also offers a wide variety of workshops in everything from Acting for the Camera to Zine Making. Workshops are open to all participants regardless of their chosen concentration so you can develop your current skills or learn something completely new. You’ll have time and space to move projects from concept to completion, collaborate with peers and receive feedback from your faculty mentor.

Faculty at Creative Semester

The faculty at Creative Semester are all working, professional artists who take time out from thriving creative careers to teach and mentor on the program. Students will also be assigned a personal mentor to guide their artistic practice. There are opportunities for internships, college advice and creative career counseling.

Residential Life at Creative Semester

Creative Semester is hosted between two beautiful, historical residences: Chateau le Mont Epinguet, and La Palmeraie in Normandy, France.

Excursions and Experiences

Normandy, France is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich regions in all of Europe. Settled by the Romans, conquered by the Vikings and occupied by the Germans, Normandy has over two-thousand years of history to discover. The program includes a range of excursions including the D-Day Landing Sites, medieval Bayeux and Mont St Michel, a monastery over a thousand years old on a tidal island. A range of hands-on experiences such as breadmaking, visits to local cider makers and cheese makers and trips to local French markets enhance your experience of Normandy, inform your creative process and boost your French language skills.

Program Highlights and Excursions

Some of the places you will go include:

  • Mont St Michel, s 900-year-old monetary on a tidal island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Paris on our 4-day artist insiders tour which includes all the key sites and many hidden gems
  • D-Day Landing sites with a WWII historian including the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach
  • Bricquebec, a local village with a 14th century castle ruin and weekly, bustling French market
  • Cherbourg, a port city surrounded by a Napoleonic  fort and penultimate stop of the HMS Titanic
  • Bayeux and the story of the Norman conquest including Caen, Bayeux Cathedral, the Bayeux tapestry
  • Château des Ravalet, an 16th century chateau with a dark history surrounded by world-famous gardens
  • The Nez de Jobourg, coastal cliffs rising 128 metres out of the sea and the best coastal hiking in Europe
  • Coutances and Château Fort de Pirou, an 11th century castle boasting far reaching views from the parapets
  • Granville, a costal town and home to the Musee Christian Dior

Some of the things you will do include:

  • A three-day Narrative Storytelling workshop to develop your writing and listening skills
  • Build creative skills with professional artists including Filmmaking, Music, Acting and Studio Art (Painting, Drawing, Photography, Ceramics, Design)
  • Learn to live the Norman way with good food, nature and time for reflection at the center of life
  • Advance or jumpstart French language skills with immersion experiences
  • Have time and space to work on artistic projects for portfolio use and personal growth
  • Work in student teams to run our residence, organize activities and contribute to student life

Paris Weekend

The program includes a 4-day trip to Paris hitting the must-see sites and exploring some hidden gems. Our Paris trip hits the must-see sites including the Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise, Notre Dame, Arc du Triomphe, Pantheon and Sacre Coeur. We’ll also explore some hidden gems such as the famous English bookstore Shakespeare and Co, Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Musee Rodin and Musée de l’Orangerie which houses one of the finest collections of Impressionist paintings including Monet’s waterlily murals. We’ll spend an afternoon sketching or writing at Les Deux Magots, the café haunt of many great writers and you’ll have time to explore, shop or museum hop on your own.

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  • Monday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Tuesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Wednesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Thursday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Friday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • $$$$
  • Price Range $16,500+
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Additional Details

  • Travel Required:Yes
  • International Students Welcome:Yes

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