This past Spring, I had the opportunity to study in Paris for almost four months. I participated in a special IES program solely for Hope students. There are not many study abroad programs that cater to dancers. IES has worked carefully with the Hope Dance and French Departments to offer students the opportunity to study dance abroad.
In Paris, I attended classes at the IES center with other study abroad students from around the United States. I took a French language and culture class, as well as “Paris Musées,” an art history course in which we were able to visit many of the incredible pieces we studied. I also attended classes at le Centre de Danse du Marais, one of the famed dance schools in Paris. I took six courses at le Centre, including ballet technique, Limon and Graham modern dance technique, and baroque dance. All of my classes were taught in French by French professors.
Because I was in a specialized dance program, my schedule was very different than the other students with whom I took academic classes. I took classes at IES on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then danced all day Wednesday as well as Sunday morning. Depending on my schedule for the week, I also had technique classes on selected evenings and Saturday. Despite the workload, I was able to travel substantially. I visited Normandy and Giverny on IES sponsored field trips. I also visited the French Alps, Lyon, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Spain, and Geneva, Switzerland. My student visa was still valid after my final exams, and I traveled to Florence, Venice, and Rome, Italy before heading back to the States in mid-May.
In addition to providing student apartments, IES offers the unique opportunity for students to live with a host family. While “at home” in Paris, I lived in the 16th arrondissement, dining and socializing with my host family 3 nights a week. My daily interactions provided an inside peek into French family life and culture, while still allowing me independency.
My spring semester in Paris was a whirlwind of fun, change, and growth. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to live and breathe Paris for a few short months. Hope has worked hard to provide study abroad opportunities for students with varied academic interests, and I hope that many dance and French students will take advantage of this opportunity in the future.