Author Archives: Julia Seavey

Former Middlebury exchange student publishes first book

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Sarah Maeght

Sarah Maeght, a former « marraine* » from Paris 7 and a former exchange student to Middlebury College, has recently published he first book, C’est où le Nord?  (Which way is North?).  Sarah, who is a middle school French teacher here in Paris, says that it is particularly the creative writing class that she took during her time at Middlebury College (VT) that inspired her to write.

In her book “full of humor and tenderness”** with its “modern and assured”** style, Maeght writes about Ella, a 24 year-old French teacher, during  her pursuit to find her own way while navigating break-ups, moves, and the challenges of teaching high school students in difficulty.  And then Ella meets Cléo with whom she discovers Paris nightlife, “unsure of where it could lead her….to love maybe?” **

 

 

Congratulations, Sarah!

 

*marraine=godmother.  At the Middlebury Ecole en France, we have a godmother/godfather program:  we engage French students from our partner institutions to act as mentors to our students to help them better integrate themselves into student life here in France.

**Albin Michel

 

 

Weekend in Dordogne

The weekend of February 6-7, our students studying in Bordeaux enjoyed a weekend trip to the region of Dordogne.

 

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The Dordogne region

 

Here is a brief summary from our intern in Paris, Kelly, who accompanied the students on the trip.

“Our students in Bordeaux traveled back in time to discover the rich history of the beautiful Dordogne region in southwestern France. Based in the vibrant town of Périgueux, students witnessed the passage of time during their visits to the prehistoric cave paintings in Lascaux, the crystal formations in the Grand Roc cave, the medieval city of Sarlat, and the 12th century castle of Castelnaud overlooking the Dordogne valley.”

 

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Grand Roc Cave

 

Groupe château Castelnaud

the group

 

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an open market

Cathédrale et marché Périgueux

the Périgueux Cathedral

Links:

Périgueux

Lascaux Caves

Grand Roc Cave

Laugerie Basse

Sarlat

Castelnaud Château

Weekend in Bourgogne

28 of our Paris students enjoyed a trip to Bourgogne this past weekend, the 30-31 of January.  Bourgogne is a region of France tAfficher l'image d'originehat is known mostly for its mustard, its pain d’epices, its crème de cassis and of course, its wine.

The weekend started off in Dijon where we went on a guided walking tour of the city, from the Notre Dame de Dijon to the Palais des Ducs to the covered market that was formerly a convent.  Everyone was also sure to, with the left hand, give a little rub to the owl carved into the side of Notre Dame de Dijon as it, so it is said, brings good luck.

Next we were off to Pommard via la route des grands cruscomplete with an unexpected yet thorough narration of some of the region’s history by our bus driver and where had the pleasure of visiting the Château de Pommard.   At the Château, we had the opportunity to go down into the cellars of the winery where we saw barrels upon barrels and bottles upon bottles of wine!  We learned about and saw the five different types of soil that are found in the vineyards of the Château and what different elements in the soil bring to a wine.  The tour ended on a sweet note, or rather many different notes, as we were lucky enough to do a wine tasting of 4 different wines produced at the Château de Pommard.  

Next stop: Beaune.  When we got to Beaune, the first stop was at the hotel to drop off our bags and enjoy a litte down time before dinner at the Conty restaurant.  For many of our students, it was their first experience eating terrine and duck!  During dinner, we did our traditional quiz, asking the students questions about what we saw and what we learned that day, complete with a prize for the winner.  After dinner, it’s hop, au lit! to be ready for the next day.

 

Day two started with a guided walking tour of Beaune, starring l’Hôtel Dieu de Beaune.  This beautiful building dates to 1443 when, after the 100 Years War, Chancellor Nicolas Rolin wanted to create something to help the most needy in the aftermath of war and plague.  We also visited the Basilique of Beaune and the home a well-known alchemist.

After the morning visit and lunch, it was time for the last stop on our trip:  la moutarderie!  The moutarderie Fallot gave us a wonderful tour of their moutarderie (where mustard is made), explaining the history and fabrication methods of this delicious Bourgogne specialty.  The students got to taste mustard seeds as well as try their hands at making mustard, ending the tour with a dégustation of a few different mustards paired with varied foods.  

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, it was a great weekend of learning and discovery, of trying new things, and of getting to know France (and each other) a bit better!

 

For more pictures of our weekend, head to our Facebook page:  Middlebury College en France

 

Professors in the media

Two professors with whom Middlebury works have recently been in the media.  Professor Xavier Le Person participated on the show “Secrets de l’histoire.” (“History’s Secrets”)  on France 2 in an episode about Henri III.

Professor Nicolas Roussellier was featured on France Culture’s podcast, “L’Invité des Matins” (“The Morning Guest”), contributing to a discussion about François Mitterand.

 

You can listen to and watch here:

 

 

Xavier Le Person

france-2  s200_xavier.le_person

 

 

Nicolas Roussellier  roussellier

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Semester Two Begins

Since the beginning of January we have been quite busy welcoming 48 new students to our Paris program and 8 to our Bordeaux program for the Spring 2016 semester.  The students are settling into their new homes with their host families, discovering their new cities, speaking only in French, and discovering what it means to be a student at a French university; classes have officially begun for most of our students, with the rest starting this coming week!

During orientation, aside from gathering all of the important and practical information, our students have also enjoyed visits, activites, meeting their respective godmothers and godfathers*, and a conference on current events in France (with dessert provided!).   In Paris, the students had the opportunity to visit the Louvre and go on a historic tour of Paris with Professor Julie Stevenson, as well as go on a “ice-breaker” scavenger hunt aimed at familiarizing them with the city and some of its transport systems.  The Bordeaux students will have the chance to go on a guided visit of The Grand Theatre of Bordeaux this Saturday the 23rd.  Both groups of students, Paris and Bordeaux, also have weekend trips coming up.  The Bordeaux students will be heading to the Dordogne region on the 6-7th of February.  The Paris students will be heading to the Bourgogne region on the 30-31st of January (posts about these trips to follow!).

We are very excited to have so many new students here and are looking forward to a great spring semester!

*As part of our program, we have at each partner university one or two French students who act as mentors, or godmothers and godfathers as we say in French, for our students. They help the students better orient themselves and integrate themselves on campus, and they also do activities and visits together.

 

Here are some photos of our Paris students committing to the Language Pledge! 

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What is the Language Pledge? Why do we do it?

Here at The Middlebury School in France, our students commit to the Language Pledge and promise to speak only French during their time here.  Our program proudly requires this commitment because throughout our 70 years of experience, we have witnessed  the efficiency and effectiveness of total immersion. Our students make measurable and marked progress in their French language skills, and in this way, stand out from other foreign students.  ​

 

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 signing the Language Pledge! 

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reciting the Language Pledge!

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reciting the Language Pledge!

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And some photos, taken by the students,  from the scavenger hunt! 

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Catherine, Grace, and Gabrielle by the Eiffel Tower.

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Sirun, Madeline, and Sola by Sacre Coeur.

 

 

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Tony, Evelin, and Emma found some color in the sea of black that is the classic Parisian habit of dressing in all black! 

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Meeting new people…or as Alex and Thomas say, “Where are we? Who is she?”

 

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Nhi, Jackson, and Anastasia comparing their noses to Cyrano’s!

Update: 15 November

We are continuing to regularly communicate with our students.  Tomorrow, November 16th, we will welcome them at our Middlebury Center here in Paris to talk about Friday night’s events, to answer their questions, and they will also have to possibility to speak with a counselor.