The French department created a very open and engaging microcosmic Francophone culture at Drew. From attending the goûters to participating in the Québec ShortTREC with Professor Placet-Kouassi, there was never a lack of options for me to stimulate my learning with extracurricular opportunities.
The highlight of my experience at Drew was conducting research at the Fonds Albert Camus in Aix-en-Provence as part of my honors thesis. The ability to research in France was something I never would have thought possible when I first arrived at Drew. It is a testament to the guidance the French department faculty provided me throughout my time at Drew. Thanks to them, I have been able to continue my research at the University of Oxford, where I am currently pursuing a master’s degree with a specialization in twentieth century French history.
One of the highlights of my experience as a French major at Drew was getting to spend a full semester living and studying in Paris. By the time my junior year came around, I felt confident enough in my French abilities to be able to traverse the city and take a full course load entirely in French. My proficiency in French has continued to allow me to travel back to France explore more of the country.
It’s challenging to do coursework in another language, but it has been extremely rewarding to not only have built the language skills, but to also have been introduced to new ideas and perspectives I don’t know if I would have ever become familiar with had not been for the French major.
The French department has also provided me and many other students with incredibly educational and immersive trips. With the help of the French department I was able to spend my first semester junior year abroad in Bordeaux, France where I took classes at Bordeaux III Montaigne Montesquieu. We also were able to go to Quebec where we visited Montreal and Old Quebec.
I am currently working for an environmental company based in Bordeaux, France while I teach high school level English (with the TAPIF program). I’ve been here since September and will be coming back to America in the summer of 2016 in order to pursue a Masters degree in environmental policy. I would never be here today if it weren’t for Prof. Pieretti and the Drew University French department.
My first independent experience abroad as a student and ambassador of Drew University deeply inspired my success at Drew and beyond. In total, I completed four international seminars, including the Morocco to Paris DIS, International Business in French course trip to Québec, and an exchange program with the Centre Parisien d’Études Critiques and Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 as a Kathryn Stanley Scholar. I graduated from Drew University with honors in French in 2014, having served as President of the Association Francophone for two terms, been awarded the Elbridge and Edna Smith Prize and inducted into the Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society.
Lessons learned from travel and cultural immersion in France greatly influenced my professional career as a writer and photographer for leading publications, brands and organizations. Honorable features and collaborations include Phoenix Magazine, Design Sponge, The Style Line and Bloguettes. You can find my latest story, “A Conscious Coming Together” in Conscious Magazine Issue 04 in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide.
While at Drew, I studied global politics focused on American, French, and Francophone political culture. A Drew International Seminar gave me my first exposure to a French-speaking place – the Caribbean island of Martinique – which I followed up with study abroad semesters in Brussels and Paris.
After internships during Drew semesters in Washington and at the United Nations in New York, I started my career as an associate with the Washington advocacy team at Human Rights Watch. I then worked for the same organization in Senegal and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, conducting research and advocacy on various human rights abuses.
I returned to graduate school to pursue master’s degrees from Sciences Po and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. I have since worked as an independent consultant for the United Nations and for various nongovernmental organizations and philanthropies on topics such as justice sector reform, conflict-related sexual violence, and post-conflict reconciliation.