University of Bordeaux 3
Michel de Montaigne
Mary Jo (Maria Josefa) Velasco is studying European History and Music. Prior to leaving for France, she described the goal of her study abroad program as adding depth to her studies in music and European history by experiencing a new dimension that will enhance her understanding of European culture. She has studied French, German and Spanish and previously traveled widely in Europe and Mexico. At UCSD she was involved in various community service projects and hoped to be able to continue that in some form in France, noting that it is a great way to learn about yourself and others.
At the university in Bordeaux Mary Jo has been taking many history classes. Her musical highlights were performances with an amateur chorale, accompanied in one instance by the Orchestre Nationale de Bordeaux. After singing in Mozart’s Requiem, Mary Jo wrote: “The Requiem concerts were incredible – I will never forget the experience of singing in such a huge old church to an enormous audience – and we did so well!”
She has experimented with two different living situations, particularly enjoying living with a host family (“my French mom is awesome!”) in a beautiful old apartment building directly across from the main cathedral.
During school breaks, Mary Jo has explored Ireland and Belgium and spent some time with her family. She reports that at the university there is less of an international atmosphere than she expected, and that “meeting and making French friends has been a bit difficult, even in the French university classes.” But she does have some good French friends now.