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.

Donalene Roberts
French & Political Science, B.A. May 2016
J.D. expected May, 2019
Georgetown University Law Center

 


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
BA Psychology/ French, Rutgers Class of 2015
M.Div, Princeton Theological Seminary, expected 2019

 


Jeremy YeatonI 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.

Jeremy Yeaton
Double Major French & Linguistics: Graduated, January 2016
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bulgaria, 2016-2017

 



To double major in violin performance and French literature is no small feat, and I would not have survived it were it not for the unflaggingly supportive faculty of the French Department.  In my blissful, all-too-brief 4 years there, I fiddled and trumpeted my way through French chansons with Prof. Eisenzweig, skimmed 18th-century Haitian newspapers with Prof. Larrier, and, thanks to Prof. Shaw, organized a lecture-recital with Metropolitan Opera artists. To them and others, I owe a great debt of gratitude: my senior-year thesis, cultivated in a senior seminar in Caribbean francophone literature, brought me to France, China, Romania, Turkey, and, finally, to the Cambridges, where I was able to pursue studies in musicology.There are those who will caution against the study of foreign languages, and I pity the fools. The study of the French language has both broadened my intellect, permeating unexpectedly into la vie quotidienne, and allowed me to enter Harvard's PhD program in Historical Musicology laden with memories and one language requirement lighter.

Henry Stoll
BM, French & Violin Performance, 2013
MPhil, Music, University of Cambridge, 2014
PhD Student in Historical Musicology at Harvard, 2015

 



No matter the direction one plans to take with his/her career, studying the humanities is richly rewarding. As a French major, my communication skills – both oral and written – improved dramatically, as I learned the art of rhetoric in the context of a new language and culture. I can say with honesty that every professor I have met in the French department had a vested interest in my development as a student: they encouraged me to consider ideas from new perspectives, guided me as I refined my authorial voice, and even mentored me when I expressed interest in doing independent research. Moreover, the academic advising within the French major is excellent; advisers helped me balance a rigorous scientific course load alongside the major requirements. I am happy to announce that I achieved early admission into my top choice medical school and look forward to bringing the language and critical thinking skills that I gained through this major into the world of medicine.

Christopher Koprowski
BA, French / Medical Degree Program, 2014
RWJ Medical School, expected 2017



I came to Rutgers in a bit of a shaky state: I had taken some time off from college and had decided quite whimsically to be a French major after having cycled through mathematics and economics as choices. My decided combination clicked quite readily, however, and I found in Rutgers' French Department a substantive approach to the major. The originality and creativity encouraged in students' work is matched by the faculty's enthusiasm, which allowed me to find a certain confidence that I lacked coming in. I do believe that a fostered courage and comfort in a student's chosen major and field is crucial for any graduate, no matter where he or she may head after senior year. I found exactly that in the French Department, along with the necessary literary knowledge and skills. But a program that is only rigorous can feel cold; Rutgers' French program, on the other hand, has a warmth that complements the knowledge it offers.

Ryan Todd
BA, French, 2014
Ph.D. student in Romance Languages at U. Penn, beginning Fall 2014


 

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
BA French and Linguistics, 2014
English Teaching Assistant in a French High School (Pertuis, France, 2014-2015)
MSE in Computer Science/Natural Language Processing, Johns Hopkins, beginning Fall 2015


 

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.

By practicing reading and writing in French, I also gained the necessary skills to analyze biomedical texts and compose research papers in my science courses. After giving numerous presentations and speaking in front of my classmates in French, I have gained more confidence to speak in any public setting in either language. Outside the classroom, I have used these valuable skills when writing résumés, preparing for interviews and applying to Physician Assistant programs. In fact, I firmly believe that this major made me stand out as a well-rounded applicant and contributed to my acceptance into the Rutgers Physician Assistant Program. More importantly, I believe that I will be able to communicate more effectively with my patients in the future because my literature courses have taught me to perceive subtleties in language and human interaction, a skill that science alone cannot teach. The French major has given me vital tools for self-expression that I will continue to use in my personal life and beyond.

Natalya Andriyanycheva
BA French and Biological Sciences, 2014
Physician Assistant Program Class of 2017
Rutgers School of Health Related Professions


 

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.

Jessica Saliba
BA French and Biological Sciences, 2012
DMD Harvard, 2016


 

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.

Jennifer Manoukian
BA, French and Middle Eastern Studies, 2011
MA, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University, 2014


 

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.

Having now fallen completely in love with the city and the language, I went back to New Jersey with my semester abroad application already been complete for the following spring. I returned to Paris through the MICEFA exchange program, which was the ultimate step to understanding French culture and distancing myself from the nurturing environment that is the French department. Working closely with both Professor Shaw, my NJ-based advisor, and Dr. Catherine Healey here in France, I was able to explore new areas of French studies while still satisfying my major requirements. I had to freedom to explore new domains while still staying true to the curriculum guidelines.

But now that I've actually received my degree from Rutgers, a retrospective view of my time with the French department has shown me that I not only expanded my knowledge of a foreign language, but I was given the opportunity to explore the world, experience different cultures and come to better understand myself through it all. Because of the guidance and opportunities that were afforded to me through the French department, I am now living and working full-time in Paris.

Jacob Klein
BA, French, 2014