- Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
- Destinations: France
- Program Delivery: Residential
- Program Length: Semester
- Start Month: January
- Category: Performing & Visual Arts
- Selective: No
- Gender: Coed
- Ages: 19+
- Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Payment Terms
- Minimum Cost: $10,000 - $20,000
Berridge offers gap year and summer high school arts programs in the US and France. Since 2008, we have built creative communities in inspiring settings that empower our students with an expanded sense of self, passion for art and a wider perspective on the world.
The Berridge Creative Semester is a unique opportunity to live in a creative community led by professional artists and based in a 18th century chateau in Normandy, France. The program offers a blend of expert-led excursions, cultural experiences, personal development workshops and hands-on classes in all artistic disciplines including Filmmaking, Writing, Studio Art, Photography, Theatre and Music. Focus on an art you love, try something completely new or a combination of both. You’ll move projects from concept to completion and have time and space to develop ideas, get feedback and collaborate with peers. We welcome all levels of experience from complete beginner to the "creatively curious" to those looking to pursue creative careers.
Cultural Engagement, Creative Expression, Compassionate Leadership and Contemplative Living are the foundations of our program. These foundations are designed to help you engage more fully with the culture and people of France and facilitate a meaningful and fun experience during your time abroad. Discover your unique artistic voice, learn how to me a more compassionate leader and enjoy time and space to "just be" while you enjoy life in beautiful, rural northern France.
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 10-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
- Tatihou, an abandoned penal colony now a bird sanctuary accessed by amphibious vehicle
- 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, Studio Art, Writing, Music and Acting
- Learn French Cooking and Gastronomy from our in-house chef
- 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 weekly classes and immersion experiences
- Join the French Film Club and learn about the icons of French Cinema
- 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
- Learn meditation, mindfulness, yoga and other stress-reduction techniques
Faculty at Berridge
Our faculty bring with them decades of experience as industry professionals. You'll live in a creative community with working artists and benefit from their experience and wisdom. You'll be assigned a personal mentor to help you develop your projects, build skills and reflect on your artistic practice. Our faculty are more than just teachers, they are passionate artists, nurturing mentors and enthusiastic collaborators.
Residential Life at Berridge
Creative Semester is hosted at Chateau le Mont Epinguet, an 18th century chateau (French word for castle!) in the heart of Normandy, France. Built in 1751 by Count Mondesir, the chateau is the highest landmark on the Normandy Cotentin Peninsula. It has housed a nephew of the Pope, a French Admiral and served as German command in WWII. In 1991, it was bought by the Berridge Family. We have exclusive use of the whole property, a live-in chef who prepares home-cooked meals and fresh bread delivered daily from our bakery.
Paris Arts Week
Your time in France culminates in a week-long arts focused trip to Paris. See Paris through the artists lens and explore all that this great city has to offer. Our week in Paris will include all of the must-see sites and insiders tours of the Louvre and Musee D'Orsay. We'll explore some hidden gems including Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, where many of the greatest artists of France are buried and spend an afternoon writing or sketching at Les Deux Magots, the legendary café that has hosted artists for generations. We’ll visit the Comédie-Française, birthplace of the French theatre, and some famous Paris film sites that provided the writing inspiration for films such as Amelie and Ratatouille.
Immerse yourself in French history and culture while developing your creativity, and discovering opportunities for personal growth. Creative Semester welcomes artists of all levels of experience and the program is taught entirely in English with optional French language learning. Connect with artists from around the world, cultivate new artistic perspectives and discover where your creativity can take you on your gap year!