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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Jul 7 / Meggan Ellis

First Impressions

Well, I’ve made it to Perigueux! It’s already been an eventful, tiring week and it’s not even over yet. I moved into my dorm last Friday, had orientation the following day, and since then we’ve hit the ground running with classes and rehearsals.

There are three levels of French that all of the students have been placed in. I’m in level 1, which assumes nothing but very basic knowledge. Each student is assigned to a vocal teacher and a coach, and we all have additional coachings with the¬†resident art song expert.

FAVA students Tyler, Calebria (Wayne State grad student), and Julia rehearsing the French national anthem

FAVA students Tyler, Calebria (Wayne State grad student), and Julia rehearsing the French national anthem

Despite the intense rehearsal schedule, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to socialize and explore the city as well. Perigueux is in the middle of P√©rigord and is the capital of the area. Originally founded 2000 years ago, the city is amazing blend of ancient, modern, and everything in between. One of the coolest things I’ve seen so far is La Cathedrale Saint Front. It’s a huge Byzantine cathedral that has had several facelifts over the years; however, the original structure was built in the 1st century AD!

Cathedrale Saint Front at dusk

Cathedrale Saint Front at dusk

Overall, I’m starting to feel comfortable here. I can navigate myself to key destinations like the grocery store and the conservatory, and the other students are incredibly friendly. Even the locals tend to seem more amused than frustrated by my broken French! And it’s hard to miss American food when everything here is so much fresher–I could definitely use some Detroit One Coney, but somehow I think I’ll manage. I’ll update again on one of my busier days so I can give you a feeling for how it’s all run! Thanks for reading, and bye for now.

–Meg

Map of Perigueux's location in France (Perigueux Wikipedia page)

Map of Perigueux’s location in France (Perigueux Wikipedia page)

 

FAVA students including myself enjoying Les Nuits Gourmandes, a weekly summer street market with community businesses and performances.

FAVA students including myself enjoying Les Nuits Gourmandes, a weekly summer street market with community businesses and performances.

 

Students Hannah (center) and Virginia (far right) dancing along to a swing dancing performance during Les Nuits Gourmandes

Students Hannah (center) and Virginia (far right) dancing along to a swing dancing performance during Les Nuits Gourmandes

 

The Saturday morning farmers' market at Place de la Clautre outside La Cathedrale Saint Front

The Saturday morning farmers’ market at Place de la Clautre outside La Cathedrale Saint Front

 

View of one of the many winding streets

View of one of the many winding streets

 

L'Isle river, which runs through Perigueux

L’Isle river, which runs through Perigueux

 

The view from my practice room at the conservatoire

The view from my practice room at the conservatoire