London, Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome
Starting college in the spring or taking a Gap Year? Why not kick start your time doing something worthwhile with this amazing leap into European culture. Beginning with two weeks in London, the course focuses on art, power and the nature of European politics. It then moves to the English countryside and the birthplace of Shakespeare then on to Paris and the South of France to study modernism.
Next we move to the beautiful hilltop town of Montepulciano in Tuscany for two weeks of cultural immersion through Italian language learning and a home-stay. We also take this time to study other aspects of Italian culture, such as cookery, film and drawing. The idea is to use our time well and develop new skills.
The Semester Program then joins the autumn Gap Course for an in depth exploration of Italy and European civilisation as described next.
The aim of our stay in London is to absorb the great collections of art as well as to lay down the groundwork for the rest of European history. Our programme of visits will focus on the levers of the state: Monarchy, Republicanism, Law and the Church. Equally, we will focus on art and architecture and the literary renaissance of the English language – Shakespeare. We will visit many of the greatest monuments in London with a weekend visit to Oxford. The British Museum and the other great institutions will be on the tour, as well as lesser-known sites and private collections. In the evenings, there will be options to go to the theatre, embark on a short history of film and perhaps even go to the football.
Set in the wonderful Warwickshire countryside, with acres of parkland and woodland to enjoy, and teepees and yurts to sleep in, this is designed as a break from the hurly burly of city life before plunging into Paris. We have time to explore on foot and by bike. We then spend a day celebrating Shakespeare and visiting Stratford-upon-Avon where he was born and brought up.
Having established the foundations of Europe in London we will enjoy the flair and sheer beauty of Paris. Naturally, we will take in those great collections built of art from elsewhere, such as the Louvre, but the main thrust of Paris will be to appreciate the birth of modern painting from the Impressionists, through Post Impressionism, to Picasso and Modernism. This is the kernel of Paris and what makes it a unique cultural centre. While in Paris, we will learn much about food, to be sure.
SOUTH OF FRANCE
After a week in Paris we head by train to the south of France where the group will be based in Nice with day trips to the surrounding area. This area has lured actors, composers and artists for more than a century who found themselves lifted to higher planes of creativity. We will have a chance to study works by Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Cocteau, Léger, Miró, Giacometti and Renoir.
After a heady month of intense culture, we feel it would be appropriate to relax in the Italian sun for two weeks. While staying in Montepulciano, students will be able to take up courses in Italian language, drawing and cookery. The idea is to use our time well and explore new skills.
The course is carefully constructed but, at the same time, we are interested in everything; drawings, contemporary art, conservation, gardens, music as well as painting, architecture and sculpture.