Testimonials from French and Francophone Studies Alumni
Click here to download the “Where Are They Now? French Studies Alumni” pamphlet.
My time as a student of the French Studies department has been a great learning experience. My favorite part has been the small and intimate class sizes and the close relationships I got to develop with my professors!
Over the past four years I have had the opportunity to work closely with other Italian and French students and professors through the classroom, advisory board, and Italian club. The French and Italian department is a delightful group and you would be hard pressed to find another department on this campus in which the students and professors are as enthusiastic about their own department.
My experience studying French at Colby proved to be a remarkable one, both inside and outside the classroom. During my senior year, I put my French skills to good use in the community, working as an interpreter and classroom assistant at Hope Acts, a nonprofit that provides support to asylum seekers in Portland, Maine.
I would say the most important aspect of my time as a French major at Colby was spending my junior year abroad in Aix-en-Provence. This experience challenged me in ways I had not anticipated beforehand and helped me grow both as a French scholar and person. Perhaps the most enriching part of this experience was coming back to Colby and seeing how my time abroad changed my perception of myself and my studies in French. I am grateful for my mentors in the French department and the support they continue to provide as I prepare to spend another year working in France post-grad.
From my experience with the department of French at Colby College, the professors truly value both oral and written language acquisition. I truly appreciated how the goal of this program is to become a strong communicator in French and does not focus solely on literary and historical analysis. The upper level courses are for the most part based on literature, but they are in fact used as the foundation for acquiring a high level of French comprehension.
I’d like to thank the French department for helping me to expand my French education. The study of French has provided me with an outlet for self expression, invaluable new ways of seeing the world, and a deeper understanding of the French language and of francophone culture. Merci beaucoup!
Studying in the French Department has maximized my drive to think critically about different ideas/concepts/philosophies as well as analyze these ideas in order to formulate my own. From learning, thinking and writing in French, I gained a lot of freedom. I explored and discovered other cultures as well as my own background/culture beyond France. In the future, I plan to use speaking, reading, understanding French mostly on a personal level. It will be a way of impacting my world or may be the world behind the curtains.
Over the course of my four years at Colby, French Studies has helped me perfect a whole host of skills, including creative and critical thinking. It is a very interdisciplinary major that pushes you to think outside the box and helps you better connect with the francophone world. However, I think the most valuable skill I’ve gained from being a French major is learning how to communicate effectively, and from there, effectively learning how to bridge culture, as well as ethnic, racial, and national identities.
My courses at Colby and abroad in France have allowed me to understand and appreciate experiences different from my own, as well as analyze my own experiences in a new light. Learning French has improved my communication and writing skills in both French and English. Through thinking and working in another language, I have gained the ability to think cross-culturally and adopt various new points of view.
My time as a French Major both on and off the Colby campus came to be my greatest advantage when it came to pursuing and ultimately achieving my goal for post-grad: a job in consulting. Through my studies, I was able to acquire the tools necessary to read critically, analyze written work, and structure a thesis with well-thought-out arguments, all in a foreign language. On campus, I was fortunate enough to work closely with many of the professors in the French Department. The close attention I was able to receive form the Department was crucial in my learning here at Colby as they were able to give me the insight I needed into producing the best work possible.
Testimonials from Italian Studies Alumni
My journey as an Italian minor started sophomore year with IT125 as a Liberal Arts language requirement. I had taken Spanish in high school and was ready for a new adventure. After the first course, I knew I wanted to study the “language of Dante” further and decided to pursue a Minor. Throughout the years at Colby I learned both Italian as a third language and Italian as a third culture. I feel so confident in my knowledge of Italy that I could move there tomorrow and I would not feel out of place. Thank you Professor Ferrando and Professor Rizzo for sharing your beautiful culture with me. As a note to future minors: start early and take in as much information as you can, you will most definitely fall in love with Italian!
I had a great four years with the Italian Studies department taking courses in language, literature, and culture. Being part of a small (but strong!) department allowed me to work closely with my professors and pursue an independent study to combine several of my interests.
My Italian minor was one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable aspects of my Colby experience. I got the chance to engage and interact with the lingua bellissima in so many different ways: from spending three weeks fully immersed in the language in Siena during Jan Plan to reading the best components of Italian literature. Even if my Italian begins to fade in the years after Colby (hopefully not!), I would like think that the impact of Pirandello, Calvino, and Leopardi will always stay with me.
My Italian education taught me to be more open to and understanding of other cultures and gave me the skills to communicate well with others.
The Italian Program has allowed me to fully experience the liberal arts education: from Italian history and literature to using the digital humanities to explore water’s historic and cultural significance in the city of Milan for the Navigli Project. This has all greatly prepared me for life and positively helped shape my entrepreneurial plans upon graduation.
After Colby, I will be working at a commodities trading firm. This job requires having a good deal of knowledge about places outside of the US, and so being an Italian minor and having a love for other cultures will help me immensely with this. I’m very fortunate to have been able to work with such a great department during my time here, and I will deeply miss all of you!
An understanding, and appreciation, for Italian language and culture has been one of the greatest components of my personal and professional life. On a personal note, I’ve kept in touch with friends/family and Italy and try to make it back to the country to see them (they’ve even visited me in the USA too). On a professional note, I got my first job offer ever from my Italian Studies Minor. My interviewer spoke Italian and had lived in Italy for several years, and this connection opened up a broader connection between us.