Rigorous, Peaceful, One-of-a-Kind Past Review

By (Dance; American Studies, Connecticut College) - abroad from 06/01/2010 to 07/01/2010 with

Washington University in Saint Louis: Lalacelle and Paris - Summer Movement Arts & Design in Europe: "MADE" in France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I left with a better idea of what I wanted to accomplish as a dancer and an artist, the beginnings of an artistic voice, and a stronger sense of confidence in my performative and choreographic abilities. I gained a thirst for travel and a curiosity for cultural immersion - something I wasn't able to achieve during this program, but plan to pursue in the future.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The educational aspects of this program were unparalleled. To be able to study, see, and create post-modern dance in the context of the European arts scene, and its resources, for a month definitely influenced my work, my choice of major, and my choice of internship/jobs post-grad. The program was extremely rigorous, and the vast majority of time was spent on studying, watching, or making dance.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program itself was very small (about 20 students), so the administration was also small. They traveled with us and stayed with us throughout the program. They were very helpful when we needed them, and very organized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The first week of the program, we traveled throughout Paris, and stayed in a hotel. The hotel we stayed in was fine - nothing special, but definitely comfortable and safe. The remainder of the month was spent in an artist residency home in Bourgogne, which was amazing. The house was big and beautiful, and featured a barn in the yard that the owners had converted into a dance studio, and another dance studio inside the house... a dream come true for any dancer/choreographer. This part of the program was a retreat where we could focus on the work we were creating.

* Food:

The food was great. In Paris, since we were housed in a hotel, I ate out all of the time with fellow students. This was delicious but not the best for my wallet. In Bourgogne, the owners of the residency home cooked us meals and we ate together every evening. It was essentially a 20 student home stay experience. The only challenge I had was being a vegetarian, and the meals always included meat. The home owners were as accommodating as possible, but I don't think they had a lot of experience with vegetarian eating.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since the weeks in Bourgogne were essentially an artist retreat, we really didn't interact with the local culture besides with our home stay family. We really only got to interact with the culture when we were in Paris, and it was only a week so I felt like a tourist. I wouldn't recommend this program for someone prioritizing cultural integration; this was essentially a artist retreat in a beautiful location.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no issues with health care on this program, and I didn't need to get any specific vaccines before traveling.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe both in Paris and (especially) in Bourgogne. In Paris we made an effort not to travel alone, especially at night, but overall I felt pretty safe. In Bourgogne it was ridiculously safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Since we were only paying for our meals in Paris (one week out of the month), it was pretty easy to live on a student's budget. In Bourgogne, all meals were included. We went on a few day trips and had opportunities to spend money, but it was never necessary to spend large amounts of money after the first week had ended.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50-100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are budgeting, definitely save some money for day trips out of Bourgogne.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

It wasn't necessary to be fluent in (or to know any) French in order to be accepted into the program, since the focus was on dance. Our Bourgogne host family was ESL, but if they knew you spoke some French they would encourage you to speak to them in only French (a bit of a friendly challenge).

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate French
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? It's great to have some idea of how to use French conversationally, so you have more of a chance to bond with the host family. It also made it easier in Paris, to be able to order things and ask for directions. But overall I don't think your experience in this program would be poor if you didn't know the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The residency in Bourgogne
  • The faculty
  • Creative opportunities to perform (site-specific) throughout France
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities for local interaction/cultural immersion
  • Longer program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had packed better walking shoes, and I wish I had saved some more money for day trips towards the end of the program.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!