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Auvillar, Collioure, France

Program Description

This program offers an innovative course that bring art and psychology together in a team teaching environment for 3 credits. We engage in nature, creativity and connectedness as psychology, mindfulness and art intersect: we explore the expressive arts of sculpture, drawing, painting, poetry, sound and movement with expert guest lecturers.

On weekends we visit the treasures of the region such as the prehistoric sites of Peche Merle caves, the medieval villages of Rocamadour and Carcassone, the Musee Ingres, the Saint Cecile Cathedral in Albi, plus excursions to artist's studios, local vineyards, cheese-making, guest chef cooking demonstrations and France's natural wonder, le Gouffree de Padirac, (an underground river). Students complete the experience with an art event borne of community/university interdisciplinary partnership at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Auvilllar France. Guest poets, choreographers and visual artists bring innovation and excitement to the contemporary eco-psychology and art setting.

Location Description

The hillside village of Auvillar abounds with events: concerts, exhibitions, poetry readings, open air markets, museums, and monasteries. Recognized as one of "les plus beaux villages de France" Auvillar is set on the broad green Garonne River, with clearly visible remnants of the ancient hilltop fortifications, centuries-old buildings and a spirit of hospitality that has been passed down through generations in this stopover on the historical pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella. The region is noted for Faience pottery, superb restaurants, troubadour singing, cassoulet, foie gras, strawberries, exquisite wines and tantalizing cheeses.

During the last week of the program we travel to Collioure on the Mediterranean Sea. This is the fishing village where Matisse and Derain discovered Fauvism: we follow in the footsteps of the masters and create vivid works of art. There we visit historic sites of the Catalan region and savor the unique culture with seafood, flamenco music and dance.


Debbie Sturm| | Graduate Psychology

Agnes Carbrey | | Art


The studios and accommodations in Auvillar are provided by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) at the Moulin a Nef with internet access, full kitchen and laundry facilities. Students will be in shared double rooms. In Collioure the students live in a private seaside villa surrounded by olive and lemon trees.

Students will eat most lunches and dinners with the group and meals are provided as part of the program. Breakfast is on your own. In addition, students should plan to spend their own money on toiletries, special items, transportation and snacks.

Additional Items to Consider

Students will be required to have passports. Visas are not required for American citizens.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Some French is recommended but not required

Program open to all students

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Interview with Program Director 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


PSYC 200: Special Topics in Psychology: Nature, Creativity, and Expressive Arts in Southern France (3 credits)

PYSC 680 : Special Topics in Graduate Psychology: Nature, Creativity and Expressive Arts in Southern France (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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