Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again

In the classic children's film Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Kris Kringle teaches Winter Warlock how to walk with a song, stating, "If you put one foot in front of another…" In Perpignan I find myself singing the same song in my head. However it is not all gum drops and sugar plums while walking in a city, especially a foreign one.

When I think of what I have experienced in my short stay in Perpignan so far, walking comes to my mind. I walk everywhere in Perpignan, and I enjoy it. I think walking around an area is the best way to get to know it.

But walking in Perpignan poses problems for someone from the United States. To start with, in the States the street signs tend to be placed on posts in an intersection of two streets. In Perpignan street signs are placed on the buildings, where they are harder to find. I have a hard time navigating through the city because I can't find the sign for the street I am on.

Crossing the street is also confusing in Perpignan. Back in the States I can time out to the T when I can start walking across. While I wait to cross, I mostly look at the traffic light to tell me when to cross not the "walk" sign. I wait eagerly for the yellow light to turn red for motorists passing in front of me, and then I'm off. Here in Perpignan the location of the traffic lights makes it difficult for me to count down the moment I can cross. Worse, no matter what street you want to cross, cars don't halt for a pedestrian. When I learned how to drive, stopping for a pedestrian was the golden rule. Here I get frustrated at the cars for not stopping.

Still, I continue to put one foot in front of the other.

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About the Program

Fifteen college students came from North America to Perpignan, France, in June 2011 to produce these videos and stories. To find out more, read a welcome letter from program director Rachele Kanigel, meet the program faculty and explore the 2010 website.