AUDITIONS- As is discussed on the Ecole Marceau website,
auditions take place during the span of one week, and consist of an
interview, a few days of classes, and the presentation of an original work.
During this time, the professors are looking more for potential than skill.
They are not necessarily looking for students who already know how to do
mime, but rather students who they feel have the capacity to learn what they
have to teach. The professors will observe your coordination, the ease or
difficulty with which you are able to do what they ask of you, and how well
you listen to what they say. Listening carefully, being cooperative and
enthusiastic, and keeping an open mind and a friendly attitude will help you
greatly during your audition.
VISAS - Whether or not you need a visa to enter France, to
study there, and/or to work there depends on several factors, including your
country of citizenship. It is extremely important that you learn your visa
requirements as early as possible and that you follow procedures very
carefully. Failure to do so could result in many problems, up to and
including your having to leave the country.
* Check the requirements - You might want to
do some reading on the French government website France Diplomatie (See Links
below). Then, find and contact the French Consulate (Consulat de France)
in the city closest to where you live (See Links
below). They will be able to give you the most current and accurate
information and instructions for applying for a visa if you need one.
* Apply as early as possible - Approval of a visa
can take time, and you may need to gather some documents first. ***** VERY IMPORTANT!!! ***** :
You must acquire the proper visa BEFORE you enter France.
Normally, you are not allowed to change the status of your visa while you
are in France. If you have the wrong type of visa, you will not only have to
leave the country in order to secure the proper visa, you will have to
return to the city where you live in order to make the change. Citizens
of some countries are allowed to enter France without formally applying for
a visa. By entering the country, these visitors are considered to have an
implied tourist visa, that may be valid for a stay of a few months, for
example. If someone enters on a tourist visa like this, it is normally not
allowed to change to a student visa while still in the country. It is then
necessary for the visitor to return to his/her home city to make this
One thing which makes this process seem complicated is this: When you
apply for a student visa, you will be asked to show proof that you have been
accepted to the school you plan to attend. Since you must first enter France
in order to audition for Ecole Marceau, obviously you cannot provide a
letter of acceptance before you go. You should ask the school for a letter
of pre-registration (une lettre de pre-inscription) which explains
that your acceptance to the school will be based on the results of an
audition you must undergo at the school itself. With this letter, the French
consulate should be able to grant you some type of student visa that takes
these circumstances into consideration.
Ask Ecole Marceau if they have any special arrangements that may
simplify this process for you. (See Residence Permit below for more
RESIDENCE PERMIT - Once you have the proper visa to enter
France (if you are one of those who is required to have a visa), you must
then obtain a Residence Permit (carte de sejour) in order to legally
live there. Normally this involves taking certain documents to the
Prefecture de Police (the agency that handles official documentation), and
having them place a Residence Permit inside your passport.
Something you should ask the Ecole Marceau administration about: In
1996, some sort of arrangement developed between Ecole Marceau and the
Prefecture de Police by which students were able to give the appropriate
documents to the school's administration, and they would obtain the
Residence Permits for the students. This arrangement also seemed to bypass
the need for some students to renew their student visas each year (students
visas are issued for one year at a time). Do not count on this, however.
Please check with the administration of Ecole Marceau to find out the
TUITION (Frais d'inscription) - Tuition is paid for one
year's instruction at a time. The school will often allow students to pay
the tuition in installments, once at the beginning of each trimester (every
three months), but you must pay on time in order to continue taking classes.
The tuition usually increases a little each year, so contact the school for
the most current information.
SCHOLARSHIPS & FINANCIAL AID - The school itself does not
offer scholarships or financial aid to its students. There may be financial
aid available to you from one or more other sources, though.
* French Government - Depending on your country of
citizenship, you may be eligible for financial aid from the French
government. You should ask the school for information they have about this.
You should also ask at the French Consulate closest to the city where you
live. (See Links below.) You might also want to look at
information offered by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministère des Affaires étrangères)
on their website. (See Links below.)
* Scholarships (les bourses) - Hundreds (if
not thousands) of different types of scholarships are offered by hundreds of
organizations, but many have very specific criteria for who can apply. It
can take a lot of research to find the scholarships for which you may be
eligible. Good places to start your search are the school, college, or
university you are now attending (or the last one you graduated), and also
the Internet. Your school should have an office that can assist you in
finding scholarship information, and the Internet has an ever-increasing
amount of information, including services to which you can pay a fee to
search for you. Start with any Internet search engine.
As I mentioned, many scholarships are very specific.
Eligibility can be based on where and what you want to study, where you are
from, your age, educational level, ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.
Before you begin your search, think of all the categories in which you can
classify yourself. The more categories you fit, the more scholarships may be
available to you.
In the United States, the Fulbright
Program is a well-known scholarship and grant program that offers aid
for studies overseas. It is also a very competitive scholarship, though.
* Aid for Housing Costs - See the section on Housing.
SCHOOL-RELATED EXPENSES - The school is not too particular
about what you wear to your classes, as long as you can stretch and move
properly. There are, however, a few things that you will be required to buy:
* A Fencing Jacket (veste d'escrime) and Glove
(gant) - Essential protective clothing for fencing classes. You
are not expected to have them when you arrive, and they will tell you where
you can buy them. They may even have an arrangement with a particular shop
that will give you a student discount on these items.
* A Length of Rope (corde) - For specific
exercises in Corporeal Mime class. Your instructor will tell you more about
* Shoes (chaussures) - Proper shoes are
required for ballet (danse classique), as well as for fencing (escrime).
(For fencing, ordinary sport shoes/sneakers will do.) In most other classes,
shoes are optional, and some students prefer to work in bare feet. Some
professors will have recommendations for shoes for their classes.
Dress at the school is usually casual. For classes, students don't dress to
impress anyone with fancy styles (and some professors may be conservative
about how much "style" they will allow in their classes).
FOOD - Food choices in Paris are almost infinite, but for the
student on a tight budget, there are some helpful options. If you want to
eat out but want to keep it inexpensive, there are cafeterias throughout the
city operated by the C.R.O.U.S. that offer decent hot meals and student
must show a student i.d. to get the discount. It's not fine French cuisine,
but it's food.
The school itself does not offer any food, only a coffee machine. There are,
however, two cafés within sight of the school's front door. (Well, one
is actually a bar, but they serve some food, too.) There are also two
grocery stores within walking distance for do-it-yourself snacks between
TRAVEL - Travel within the city of Paris is rather easy (most
of the time). A car is not really necessary to get around. There is an
extensive transportation system composed of the subway (Métro),
commuter train (RER), and bus. (See Links below.)
A bicycle will work well, too, but street traffic is often heavy, so use
caution when riding. Taxis are plentiful, but obviously not the least
The main problem with Paris transportation are the
frequent labor strikes by the train and bus operators. These strikes are usually
HEALTH INSURANCE - You will be required to have medical/health
insurance while you study in France. If you are a citizen of the European
Union, you may be covered under the French social security system (sécurité
sociale). Even if you have insurance in your home country, it may not
cover you while traveling or living abroad. You may need to purchase an
insurance policy in France. One way or another, though, you must be insured,
and the Marceau School will require you to show proof. There are many
policies offered in Paris that are designed especially for students. You may
want to check out several and compare coverage and price. Examples of
companies that offer student insurance are the C.R.O.U.S. (see Links
below), and Assistance Etudiants Etrangers.
Unless you know someone in Paris with whom you can
live, you will have to make living arrangements on your own. The Marceau School
does not provide or arrange housing for its students. Your options, then,
are renting a room, renting/sharing an apartment, or finding student housing.
* Apartments - Renting an apartment in Paris can
be very difficult. Apartments are small, expensive, and very much in demand.
When an apartment is advertised, many people may apply to rent it, and it is the
landlord who will make the decision. Landlords may require you to submit proof
of income and proof that you have a bank account in order to be considered.
It may be a good idea to finalize your living arrangements in
advance, but since you will probably be going to Paris not knowing whether or
not you will stay (until after the auditions), you might want to make
arrangements for temporary housing until you have been admitted to the school.
During the audition week, you will also have the opportunity to meet the other
potential students and perhaps find someone who wants to share an apartment.
* Student Housing - The French Consulate in your
country should have at least a little information about student housing in
Paris. They may provide you with a list of foyers, which are residences
for students run by various organizations. You will notice that many of these
are religious organizations, but not all of them require that you be of a
particular religious faith to live there. Foyers may also come with regulations
regarding conduct and curfews.
Another option (one that may also appear on the list
the consulate gives you) is the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris,
or just Cité Universitaire, as it is often called. (See Links below.)
This is a huge international student housing complex on the south edge of the
city. The Cité is comprised of 37 houses representing different countries,
and is home to more than 5000 students at any one time. Students wishing to live
there must first apply to the house representing their country, but if there is
no house for your country, you may submit a general application for admission to
any one of the houses. Rent in these houses varies, as does the type of
accommodations, and whether or not there are single rooms or shared rooms
available. The Cité offers many useful facilities for students, including a
restaurant, and is a wonderful place to form friendships with other students
from France and all over the world. See their website for more details.
FINANCIAL AID FOR HOUSING COSTS
The French government offers financial aid for
foreign students specifically for housing costs. This is called an allocation
logement. The amount to which you may be entitled depends on many factors,
including your rent and your own financial resources. You must first establish
residence in Paris before applying for this aid. Once you have done so, contact
the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales de Paris (CAF de Paris). (See Links below.)
They will tell you to appear in person at the specific office designated for the
area in which you live in order to apply. This money is offered freely, and all
it will cost you is some paperwork and bureaucracy, so don't miss out on this
Language will be an important part of your
experience in Paris and at the Marceau School. In general, the more effort you
put into learning the French language the better off you will be.
The Marceau School welcomes students from all over the
world, and there is always a variety of culture and language represented at the
school. It is, however, a French school, and as such the classes are
taught in French. The school recognizes the diversity of its students, though,
and makes an effort to accommodate them. As are many Europeans, most (if not
all) of the professors are multi-lingual and will do their best to communicate
effectively with each student during the audition week. Monsieur Marceau, in
particular, enjoys being able to speak several languages. Once the academic year
begins, the school usually offers a language study class once per week for any
students who are not fluent in French. Some students will take this class for
one year, others for two, but while the professors are lenient at the beginning,
they will expect every student to learn French quickly enough and well enough to
keep up in class.
In spite of the fact that most of the classes are
focused on the physical, professors' direction must be clearly understood.
Instruction is not limited to physical work, though. The study of mime is an
intellectual one as well, and the professors will offer much to their students
in their comments, observations, and lectures. Much of their wealth of knowledge
and experience is transmitted through their words, and a student who lacks
proficiency in the language will miss a lot. Students must also be able to
effectively communicate with the professors, administration, and their fellow
students, so a working knowledge of French is indispensable.
For those who have previously studied French, there may
still be a period of adjustment to living with it as their primary language. And
for those who speak English, there is an opportunity to "get by"
without really learning French well. I can assure you that a tendency to fall
back on English will limit your ability to understand that which may be very
important to you (for reasons of education, social interaction, and even
personal safety), will limit your ability to effectively express yourself, and
will often not be appreciated by the French people. (Contrary to some beliefs,
the French do like to speak English. What they don't like is when someone
assumes that they will speak it or insists that they do. They
greatly appreciate the effort to speak their languageeven more so when a
foreigner speaks it well.)
The best way to learn the French language is simply to
use it as much as possible. Around the school you might even pick up another
language as well!
WAYS TO LEARN FRENCH - Once in Paris, one popular way to learn
French is to get involved in a language exchange. You teach a native
French-speaker (francophone) your language, and they teach you French. Another
option, of course, is formal training. While the Marceau School offers a class,
it is only one or two hours per week. If you want to do some serious study you
might consider the Alliance Française. (See Links below.)
This worldwide organization has institutions both in Paris and in many countries
around the world, so you can begin studying before you arrive or once you're
already there. The instruction they offer includes short-term intensive study
for those who want to immerse themselves in their new language.
to the Marceau School on the site of mappy.fr.
The street the school is on is a small one, and will not appear on some maps
of Paris (especially free tourist maps). You will notice on the map that the
closest Métro stops to the school are Strasbourg-St. Denis and République.
Metro Map - This is a standard plan du métro for the city of
Paris on the website of the Paris area transportation system, the R.A.T.P.
French, English, German, and Spanish) - Information site of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères.
The Visit France section has information on visas, studying in France, financial
aid, language, foreign embassies and consulates in France, etc.
Caisse d'Allocations Familiales de
Paris (CAF de Paris) (website in French only) - Agency that
handles French government financial aid to foreign
students for housing costs.
* In the new window asking for the code postal, enter
75010 (the Marceau School's postal code) just as
an example for you to see more information, and then click validez. (To
find the actual office where you should go to apply, you'll need the postal
code for your residence in Paris.)
(website in French, also offers English and Spanish versions) - The
Alliance Française is a non- profit making organization created in 1883
with the aim of spreading French language and culture. It is a network of 1085 committees established in 138 countries and an educational
system of the French language serving around 400,000 students.