Testimonials by Recent Graduates
Firstly, I am truly grateful for all the exposés that my French professors require in their classes. French does not come natural to me and to be confident or at least to fake confidence in order to present in another language is empowering...after it's over. I've realized that law is also a foreign language. It is fused with French, Latin and who knows what else but if I get 'cold called' as in if I am randomly asked to present to the class about a case and its legal jargon, I can do so and fake confidence. It is the numerous exposés and the amazing and supportive French professors that have gotten me where I am today. Secondly, I also now appreciate the 92% being an A which is unlike other classes as it pushed me to always do my best and not submit mediocre work which in the legal world could get me fired or even disbarred. Thirdly, writing a thesis in French or at least translating is such a feat that once you've completed it, grad school should be a breeze. Lastly, I truly love and miss the entire French department-they've become a supportive family of which I'm extremely grateful.
Ever since 7th grade when my French teacher walked into the room and said "Bonjour!", I have been totally in love! The French language and culture are so beautiful. I knew that I had to make them an important part of my learning career, and Rutgers was the best place to do so. I majored in Psychology and minored in French studies and it was the best decision I ever made! The professors that make up the French Department at Rutgers are amazing. They are passionate about what they teach, which makes the learning experience so much better. Every class is different, the teaching is fresh, and the atmosphere provokes an excitement for learning. What I learned in the classroom not only from the professors, but from the other students as well really enhanced my development. The professors are there to see you succeed and really master the language as well as the culture, and I am so grateful to have been a part of that!
Audrey Del Campo Roach
I have a sort of insatiable curiosity about why things are the way they are, particularly with regard to language. The French faculty at Rutgers helped me to explore and expand this curiosity and were consistently supportive throughout my time there. Toward the end of my first year, I met Prof. Deprez, to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. After joining her lab as an Aresty Undergraduate Research Assistant at the start of my sophomore year, I was able to engage with the French language in a totally new way. Research became an integral part of my French Linguistics and Linguistics double major. My dual-department senior capstone project was an investigation of the role of intonation and context in the interpretation of ambiguous negative expressions like “personne ne mange rien”. With the support of the French faculty, as well as generous grants from the French Embassy in the US and the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, I was able to go to France to collect the data for this project. My experiences as a student in the French classrooms at Rutgers have also helped me to feel more confident as I start this year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bulgaria, where I hope to infect my students with the same curiosity for language.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that my time with the French department at Rutgers has been the most influential academic experience in my undergraduate career. Through all of the courses and major/minor permutations that I tried on, the literary and analytic approach that was developed since my very first French course crucially informed my four years at Rutgers. I am confident, moreover, that as I leave New Brunswick, the skills that I developed as an undergrad will serve as a backbone in whatever I undertake. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the chance to work with a quality department and with its incredibly supportive and immensely intelligent faculty – I don't think I would've been able to accomplish all that I did and have such a positive experience elsewhere!
Ye (Sam) Lee
As a recent graduate, I'm very happy with my decision to major in French Literature in addition to Biology. During my four years at Rutgers, I had an opportunity to take a wide variety of courses within the French Department, all of which have contributed to my growth as a student and expanded my critical thinking skills. The instruction that I received from my French professors has significantly improved my oral, written and reading abilities not only in French, but also in English. In addition to learning about the literary movements, history and culture of France, I learned how to think creatively, read discerningly and write with intention.
In hopes of having a career in the medical field, I decided to pursue a biological sciences major at Rutgers University, but all too quickly I realized that I could not leave my deep love of the French language, literature and culture behind. Though picking up another major was one of the more difficult things I've done, it's payed off in more ways than I could have anticipated. It kept me sane and intellectually stimulated for four years by giving me a break from my hectic science courses as well as providing me with so many rich and engaging conversations and theories that it allowed me to challenge myself. As I am now beginning what could be considered the most critical point in my life, I can honestly admit that my French major still influences a significant part of my everyday life as student in Harvard Medical School. From learning about medical terminology with Latin based words to conversing with the immigrant Creole-speaking population here in Boston, which makes up about 11% of the total, I can sincerely admit with great pleasure that pursuing french at Rutgers University was one of my greatest accomplishments as well as a gift that keeps on giving.
Majoring in French was one of the best ways I (unknowingly) prepared myself for graduate school. I came to Rutgers with a vague appreciation for French culture and left with a solid grounding in the nuances of the language, a strong grasp of French literary history and a good sense of the social issues facing contemporary France.
I doubt that my application to graduate school would have been as strong had it not been for the opportunities that the French department offered me as an undergrad. Four years of rigorous language training capped off by a self-designed senior thesis certainly gave me a competitive edge when applying to graduate programs, many of which, I learned later, actively seek out students with a demonstrated commitment to learning languages.
Although my graduate work is in modern Armenian literature in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia, French is an essential tool that I use constantly in my research. If I didn't know French, so much of the scholarship in my field would be unintelligible to me. Many seem to think that studying French is limiting or impractical, but, in reality, it is a skill that is vital in a wide array of disciplines. I am very grateful to the devoted French department faculty for helping me cultivate this knowledge and credit them, in large part, with making my time at Rutgers so extraordinary.
I transferred to Rutgers from NYU in the spring of 2013. Coming from a university with a student body even larger than that of Rutgers, I was prepared to fight to be heard and to be helped by administrators while I worked through the process of transferring credits and choosing a major. The French department, however, did everything in its power to ease my transition. I felt welcomed into the department and the professors and advisors made me feel genuinely important to them. Professor Shaw recommended that I spend the summer semester of 2013 in Paris in order to catch me up to the upper-level courses in the major since I only had a few semesters at Rutgers to complete all the requirements. The great group of students and professors that participated in the Summer in Paris program provided me with a world class academic experience.