Village Study

I’m currently in the midst of a two week village study in an even more southern region of France! I’ve been quite busy and discovering a multitude of things, so I’ll do updates in installments as not to overwhelm.¬†

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The first three days were with the whole program in the most beautiful city, Collioure. ¬†It’s right in vineyard, ocean, mini-mountain territory and just a hop away from Spain! ¬†Here we discovered a bit of the history of the “Retirada,” a movement of Spanish refugees to southern France in the late 1930s to escape Fascist persecution. ¬†Actually, it just so happens that we hiked one of the paths that some of the 500,000 Spanish immigrants used!¬†

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It was a bizarre sensation to be in one place and speaking French, walking for an hour or so, and then being in a new country and completely at a loss for words.  We had lunch in the little Spanish village we hiked to and it involved a lot of creative communication.

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Also in Collioure, we began looking at the history and current state of Catalogne culture. ¬†Catalogne is a cultural region that is mostly in Spain (with Bareclona as its capitol), but it reaches into the south-eastern regions of France. ¬†The language and culture are alive and well in the Spanish region, however they are fading in France. ¬† This is largely due to France’s extremely centralized education system which determines much of the curriculum for all schools in the nation. ¬†Nevertheless, there were plenty of red and yellow flags and donkeys (symbols of Catalogne) to be found.

Now I am living in a homestay in a small town doing a research project of my choosing. ¬†The town is about a 10 minute drive from the ocean, a 30 minute drive from Spain, and an hour and half bus ride to the mountains. ¬†And thankfully, I know each of these travel times through experience! ūüôā

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