Apr 27, 2017 | Arts and Education
A blog post by Ruby Robertson:
(Cover Image: Ruby at Mont Saint-Michel.)
Last year I participated in the European Summer Program (ESP) at the Universite Catholique de Lille, where I studied art museums in the North of France. This elective contributed towards my Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Criminology degree, and quickly became one of the best experiences I have so far encountered. I met students from all around the world, and even some who had come from Deakin that I had not met before.
The structure of the classes was initially confronting, but I was able to adapt to the differences, and the certain je ne sais quoi of French culture. I soon came to realise that schedules had trivial significance, as mealtimes and social interactions were of paramount importance. I was not used to having one and a half hours allocated to lunch everyday, as usually at home I ate on the run. Cultural norms such as these made it easier to enjoy my experience, and increased my cultural resilience.
Being in Lille, we had the luxury of easy travel to neighbouring countries in our spare time. I spent one weekend in Brussels with friends where all we did was explore the city, eat frites and waffles, and drink delicious Belgian beer. There was so much for us to do, and two days was not enough there. My new found friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of travel external to the ESP organised activities.
I also was lucky enough to travel to Normandy with ESP, where I dipped my toes in the water at Omaha Beach, the location infamous for the D-Day landing during the World War II. I also visited Mont Saint-Michel (pictured above), something I never would have experienced if it hadn’t have been for ESP. This site visit was one of the many highlights of ESP for me, as I was overwhelmed by the history of the Abbey, spanning almost one thousand years, it’s architecture and views. It most definitely was worth the notorious hours spent in traffic on the bus!
(Ruby with friends at ESP closing ceremony.)
I continue to reminisce with students I met at ESP, who similarly agree that it was one of the most challenging, yet exciting opportunities they have participated in. Above is a photo of the fabulous people I met. We stand in the courtyard of the university at the program’s closing ceremony, a celebratory event of all we had achieved, and an opportunity to farewell those who we had spent every day of the last month with.
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