GAP YEAR PROGRAM
Explore your creativity and connect with other artists from around the world.
Creative Semester is a unique opportunity to live in a creative community led by professional artists. Based in an 18th-century chateau in Normandy, France, Creative Semester offers a blend of guided excursions, cultural experiences, artistic workshops and hands-on classes in all disciplines including Filmmaking, Writing, Studio Art, Photography, Theatre, Music and Design for Stage and Screen. Immerse yourself in French history and culture while developing your creativity and discovering opportunities for personal growth. The program is taught entirely in English with optional French language learning.
Dates and Details
BERRIDGE CREATIVE SEMESTER
Sept 30th - Dec 7th, 2023
Jan 28th - April 1st, 2024
Inclusive of all room, board, airport transfers and admissions.
Not included: airfare to Paris, CDG. Some meals on Paris weekend, meals on excursion days and dinner out nights.
Scholarships are available for this program.
Open to students between the ages of 18 - 22 of all levels of experience. Requires an online application and interview.
All creative interests welcome including Theatre, Film, Studio Art, Ceramics, Photography, Writing, Music and Design (Lighting, Set and Costume for stage and/or screen)
AT CREATIVE SEMESTER
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 experience from complete beginner to those in pursuit of a specific creative career. You might be looking to apply to Art or Film school, 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, the program offers a nurturing, supportive environment to discover where your creativity can take you.
AT CREATIVE SEMESTER
Each participant chooses an Artistic Concentration from Film, Theatre, Studio Art, Music or Design for Stage/Screen.
You'll have a range of classes in your chosen concentration, learning new skills and building a portfolio of work as you 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 new. You'll have time and space to move projects from concept to completion, collaborate with peers and receive feedback from your faculty mentor.
Learn more about Artistic Concentrations and Creative Workshops
AT CREATIVE SEMESTER
Our faculty bring with them decades of experience as industry professionals.
The faculty at Creative Semester are all working, professional artists who take time out from thriving creative careers to teach and mentor our young artists. Learn from them first hand as you build skills, work on personal creative projects and collaborate with your peers. You'll be assigned a personal mentor to guide you in your artistic practice and there are opportunities for internships, college advice and creative career counselling.
CHATEAU LE MONT EPINGUET
Creative Semester is hosted at Chateau le Mont Epinguet 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 our local bakery delivers fresh bread daily.
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.
WHERE YOU WILL GO . . .
Our excursions include:
Mont St Michel, a monastery over a thousand years old on a tidal island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
D-Day Landing including the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach led by a WWII historian
Bricquebec, a local town with a 10th century castle ruin and weekly, bustling French market
Cherbourg, a port city surrounded by a Napoleonic fort and penultimate stop of the RMS Titanic
The sites of the Norman Conquest including Caen, Bayeux Cathedral, the Bayeux Tapestry
Saint-Vaast-La-Hougue, a beautiful fishing village, with beaches and great fresh seafood
Château des Ravalet, a 16th century chateau with a dark history
The Nez de Jobourg, coastal cliffs rising 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 its parapets
WHAT YOU WILL DO . . .
Our activities include:
A three-day Narativ Storytelling workshop to develop your writing and listening skills
Build creative skills with professional artists including Filmmaking, Studio Art, Writing, Music and Acting
Learn to live the Norman way with good food, nature and time for reflection at the center of life
Visit a 16th century windmill learning how to mill flour and bake bread in an ancient wood-fired oven
Advance or jumpstart French language skills with optional 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
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 cafe haunt of many great writers and you'll have time to explore, shop or museum hop on your own.
WHO IS THIS PROGRAM FOR?
Are you looking for some right-brained travel before you start college? Or are you a dedicated artist pursuing a creative career? This program is for anyone interested in French culture and exploring the arts while living in community. The program encompasses a wide range of subject interests including History, Architecture, Literature, Art History and Politics. We work with each student to tailor their gap time into an enriching and meaningful experience abroad.
Consider this program if you would like to:
live in a beautiful part of rural France and have an insider's experience of French life
access more creativity and develop right-brain thinking
complete a portfolio or develop new creative skills such as Filmmaking, Painting and Drawing or Music Composition, Acting, Writing and Theatre making
build practical life skills in a supportive environment
advance or jumpstart your French language skills
Do I need to speak French?
No. Our program is taught entirely in English with optional French language classes.
What if I have a lot of French?
Great! You'll have plenty of immersion opportunities and French language classes if you wish.
Do I need to have experience in my art?
No. We mentor artists at all levels from complete beginners to experienced artists.
Do I have to choose just one art discipline?
Each student chooses an Artistic Concentration as their focus but you can sample as many workshops as you wish and develop work in other disciplines in your own time.
What is a typical day like?
The program varies in pace according to what we are doing that day or week. Take a look at the calendar for the whole program to see what we do each day.