My name is Madeleine Aggeler and I’m a senior at William and Mary, majoring in French and History. My parents’ started sending me to french schools when I was in kindergarten, and I was not aware that an English education was an option until the first grade, when my cousin told me that they got to speak English at their school. Despite this initial shock, I continued to attend french schools until grade 10, and pursued french classes throughout high school and college.
When I first came to William and Mary, I only planned to pursue a French minor, but my French classes quickly proved to be some of my most interesting and challenging classes. My major has allowed me to study a wide array of topics, including poetry, history, and film, and my classes and professors have provided me with some of my most fulfilling educational experiences.
After graduating in May, I will be serving the Peace Corps for 27 months, and then hope to pursue graduate studies in France.
At the end of my first year here at W&M, I expressed an interest in Global Studies to my freshman adviser While it was difficult to narrow down what I wanted to study, she told me that the Russian Studies department was one of the best, most devoted faculties in the college. Since then, I’ve worked in our RPSS department for three years; the opportunities and experiences I’ve had here have helped to shape my entire William and Mary experience and my growth as a student. Through the Russian Department and the Reeves Center, I was able to study in St. Petersburg for six weeks, where I worked on an oral history project conducting interviews with native Russians. In addition to RPSS, I’ll graduate with a degree in Government and hope to teach English in Russia for a year before possibly attending law school.
My name is Lindsey Anderson. I am graduating in May as a French & Francophone Studies major and Philosophy minor. I was first introduced to French in high school in North Carolina and I went to Montpellier the summer after my freshman year at William & Mary, and since then started taking German as well. My interests are analytic philosophy and post-colonial theory (talk about disparate!). My senior seminar paper analyses the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris as a colonial monument and lieu de mémoire.
This summer I will begin my Master’s in Teaching, and I intend to be teaching French in a public high school or private pre-school/grammar school in North Carolina by this Fall. Both possibilities will indubitably involve my favorite children’s book, Le Petit Prince. My advisor, Giulia Pacini, has encouraged and inspired me all through my time here and I can not thank her and the spectacular MLL faculty enough.
My name is Bonnie Beckner and I have studied both Linguistics and Chinese Language and Culture here at the College. Some of my favorite memories from my college experience are from the summer I spent abroad with the William and Mary Chinese department. Studying for nine weeks in Beijing with my peers taught me to be more independent, and more confident with my language skills. After graduation, I plan to move to Hangzhou, China where I will be teaching English at Bear American English school. I am excited for the opportunity to once again live abroad, and continue studying Chinese.
As a Tunisian French American, speaking 5 languages, I believe that people everywhere are connected and art is a universal language. I was born in the northern city of Tunisia, Bizerte. At the age of six, my parents immigrated to France where I attended Nice University and majored in Foreign Languages. Since 1991, The USA has been my home where I have since taken many opportunities to share my love for the arts.
As a passionate artist, but also a strong believer in community services, I realized that I could extend my civic engagement through volunteering in art. Sharing it with the community came to me very naturally and with an unlimited passion. I am also a vegetarian and an ecologist. Also, my cultural heritage linked to three continents and my passion for the paintbrush opened my mind to the beauty of mother earth and its wonders.
I chose to study French to improve my communication skills and later share those skills with the community. I am currently in the Five Year Program of the School of Education at The College of William and Mary, working on a future Master with an endorsement in the French language. Through paint on canvas and the mastering of the French language, I will I attempt to bring a vision of hope and a vision of peace. My wish of the future is to see a world more united a world ready for challenges and exploration. My experience in the Modern Languages Department has been very fulfilling and in that context, I would like to thank all my French professors for giving me the knowledge and the tools to excel and become a better person
My name is Megan Bentley and I’m from Northern Virginia. I’m a graduating senior at the College with a double major in Hispanic Studies and Women’s Studies. I started learning Spanish in first grade at an immersion school and when I was asked as a kindergartener if I wanted to take Spanish the next year I never knew how important it would be to me. Now I’m privileged to have studied abroad in Cádiz, Spain with some amazing people and to be going back as a research assistant this summer. Having the opportunity to speak with and help others has been wonderful and I have loved learning about the rich and complex histories and cultures of a variety of hispanohablantes while improving my confidence in the language. When I return this summer I will be starting the 5th Year MAEd program here so I can help other students learn new languages!
I was born and have lived my entire life in Fairfax, and developed an interest in German Studies when I began reading German novels during my last year of high school. During my junior year I was privileged to be able to study at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster and explore the Westphalian countryside. Some particular interests, which I have encountered in my course work and in my own reading, include the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, on whose conceptions of truth I am currently writing an honors thesis, the juristic thought of Carl Schmitt, the prose of Franz Kafka and of Heinrich von Kleist, as well as the films of Werner Herzog. After graduation I plan to pursue a Master’s of Education with the aim of teaching high school English.
I first began studying french at the age of ten to prepare for a class trip to Paris. Though the trip ended up being cancelled my studies continued. In high school I participated in a Rotary International student exchange spending a summer in the south of Belgium. In college I wound up majoring in French along with physics, and my French experience culminated in participating in William and Mary’s Montpellier summer study abroad program. Next year I will be studying Physics at the graduate level, making this the first time in over 10 years I have not enrolled in some type of French course. My love of the language however, will continue on as I have developed a life long passion for the french language and culture (especially the food). I hope to travel back to France in the future, and possibly even find a job there as a physicist some day.
I had always wanted to study Japanese. I chose to attend William and Mary because of its opportunities with Japanese in and out of the classroom, and once here decided to major in East Asian Studies (technically Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) and picked up a secondary major in psychology along the way. During my time here I took Japanese classes through the 400 level, lived in the Japanese language house, served as president of the Japanese Culture Association for my junior and senior year, and began working as a TA and grader for the Japanese department. Beyond William and Mary, I worked at a Japanese language immersion school every summer as a language instructor and then later administrator, and attended a Japanese language intensive program at Keio University for one semester.
I really loved my experiences with the East Asian Studies department, but also enjoyed my psychology studies. When planning for the future, I had a difficult time imaging giving up either one. However, my real passion ultimately lies with Japanese and so I have decided to strive to become a Japanese language teacher. I plan to attend graduate school in the near future, but am first hoping to return to Japan to teach English. It has been an adventure, and I look forward to what comes next.
I came to William & Mary with a strong interest in literature and foreign languages, and I decided to major in Hispanic Studies after taking several fascinating courses that allowed me to engage with a variety of time periods, regions, and approaches to the analysis of Hispanic cultural production. Over the course of my four years at W&M, I have had the opportunity to study abroad twice (in Cuzco, Peru and Seville, Spain) and to conduct a number of research projects, including an honors thesis on the role of scientific discourse in establishing the right to govern in colonial Peru. I look forward to continuing my studies of Hispanic literature upon entering graduate school this fall.
My name is Dereck Chapman (夏德瑞) and I am graduating with a double major in Chinese and Government with the class of 2013. I started studying Chinese at William and Mary in the fall of 2010. At the time, I was desperately trying to decide whether to study Arabic or Chinese. However, given my personal interests, Chinese seemed like the best fit. Since then, I haven’t looked back. My Chinese major has afforded me several opportunities that made my William and Mary experience as great as it has been. I’ve lived and studied abroad in Beijing for close to a year, interned at William and Mary’s Confucius Institute, and even got to organize the Chinese department’s second Chinese Language Competition. Most valuable, however, has been the relationships I have formed with the Chinese department faculty. One of William and Mary’s most appealing features is the small student to teacher ratio and the opportunity to form strong relationships with professors. For me, this has been on of the most memorable aspects of our Chinese department and essentially what makes it as great as it is. After graduation, I will be heading back to Beijing to attend the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP) at Tsinghua University. While it is surreal to be leaving William and Mary, I am very excited to increase my Chinese language capabilities and continue living in China.
I am pursuing a double-major in German Studies and History. As a sophomore, I resumed the study of German I began in high school, and spent the following summer abroad at the Universität Potsdam. The immersion program at the Universität Potsdam greatly improved my ability and comfort with German, and bolstered my interest in the history and culture of German-speaking Europe. I continued my study of German afterwards, eventually adding German Studies as a second major. Under Professor Leventhal’s direction, I am preparing an honors thesis comparing the roles government-driven industrialization played in the rise of expansionist militarism in Germany and Japan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am also a teaching assistant for Professor Morrison’s German 102 class.
I am a Hispanic Studies and Public Policy double major, hailing from the suburbs of Chicago. When I came to William & Mary, I knew that I wanted to continue my study of the Spanish language and study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. After taking Intro to Hispanic Studies, I realized that I was not only interested in the language, but also the stories of native Spanish speakers. I studied abroad on the La Plata Program in Argentina in Fall 2011 and could not have had a better experience. From living in a homestay to traveling to all corners of Argentina and experiencing the country during a presidential election, I relished every moment to improve and polish my Spanish language skills. I am currently writing a Public Policy honors thesis about Latino student achievement and bureaucratic representation in U.S. public schools and plan to continue my study of education policy, especially this racial achievement gap, by working at a research institution post-graduation and eventually pursuing a Ph.D.
I am a Chinese and English double major. During my years at the College, I have been very involved with the William and Mary Rowing team, holding an executive position and serving as Men’s Varsity Team Captain. In the summer of 2012, I studied Chinese at Middlebury College’s Summer Language School. This experience accelerated my understanding of Chinese, laying the foundation for a solid senior year with the Chinese department. Through studying Chinese language and culture at William and Mary, I have gained a deep appreciation for Chinese culture, both ancient and modern, as well as my own American culture. I plan to continue to study Chinese language and culture, both in China and in the US.
Originally interested in majoring in biology and environmental science, I took my first Hispanic Studies class in order to maintain the Spanish I learned in high school. I quickly fell in love with the program and decided to become a major. One of the many highlights of my time at William and Mary was being able to use the language skills and cultural knowledge I acquired in Hispanic Studies classes to communicate with people during three alternative break trips to Honduras. I also love drawing connections between my Hispanic Studies and Environmental Policy classes. Finally, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a semester of academic and personal growth in La Plata, Argentina. In June I will be moving to Mount Airy, North Carolina to do health outreach with migrant farmworkers.
I am a double major in Hispanic Studies and Global Studies with a Concentration in Latin America here at the College. I decided to major in Hispanic Studies early on so that I could take advantage of the many opportunities that the department has to offer. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Cádiz in the summer of 2011, the summer after my sophomore year. The following summer I secured an incredible internship with the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC, where I worked in the Cultural Office translating and helping plan events. After graduation I am looking forward to finding a career path that will allow me to use my Spanish on a daily basis.
I am a senior Hispanic Studies major from Richmond, VA. Since middle school, both in and outside of school, Spanish has always been the subject that most excites me. I think that the process of learning a language is one of the most fun, challenging, frustrating, useful, and rewarding things you can do. This major has been fascinating to me because of its completely interdisciplinary nature. It incorporates so many vastly varying goals and interests that cross borders, time periods, and languages. Topics are relevant, interesting, and discussions are in Spanish so there is never room to let your language skills lie idle.
One of the coolest experiences my major led me to was last semester when I studied abroad in San, Jose, Costa Rica. I spent 4 extremely meaningful months there living with my tico family and learned such an incredible amount, about the Spanish language, about myself, and about other people.
After graduating I will be in the 5 Year Master’s Program here at William and Mary for another year to complete my Master’s of Education in Foreign Language for Spanish along with a TESL endorsement. I hope, in my classroom at least, to transform the way foreign languages are traditionally taught and instead immerse students in authentic experiences and to really spark their interest in the language.
I am Betsy Goldemen, a Chinese language and government double major. After graduation, I will participate in the Critical Language Scholarship program in Qingdao, China for eight weeks during the summer and will then continue my studies in Beijing. By studying Chinese at William and Mary, I have gained the ability to think deeply and critically about issues related to Chinese studies, to conduct high quality research by drawing on both English- and Mandarin-language sources, and to understand the culture, history, and philosophy of China. Studying Chinese at William and Mary has been a valuable supplement to my understanding of US-China relations and has altered my perspective on foreign affairs, making me more open-minded to other perspectives.
Kayla Grant graduates as an English and French double major, having been awarded Highest Honors for her thesis in the English Department. She studied French throughout her time at William and Mary, and also had the opportunity to practice her language skills while studying abroad in Lyon, France and Meknes, Morocco. Kayla also studied Arabic for four years and served as a teaching assistant in an Arabic 101-102 course. Outside of class, Kayla plays the cello in the William and Mary Symphony Orchestra and the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, works at Swem Library, and is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Next year, she looks forward to teaching English at the primary level in Versailles with the Teaching Assistantship Program in France.
Majoring in Hispanic Studies means being able to contribute to the ongoing development of the field. As a major, I felt encouraged to conduct scholarly pursuits even when I was only starting, and that encouragement has remained. The Hispanic Studies program at W&M is very inclusive. All students are rewarded for the effort and thoughts that they bring, even if they are from different disciplines. I would recommend all majors in the field to go abroad at some point, as it’s an excellent opportunity to combine one’s academic knowledge with a sort of knowledge gleaned from personal experience. After majoring in Hispanic Studies, I do feel that I have improved my ability in Spanish. However, when it comes to my understanding of the peoples that use the language, I respect that I have much yet to learn. I believe though that the Hispanic Studies major has equipped me with the curiosity and knowledge to do that further learning.
My name is Angela Hales, and I’m currently a senior at William and Mary graduating with a double major in French and Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Linguistics.
My interest in French began in the eighth grade and grew throughout high school, where I had a superb mentor in my French teacher, Madame Fowler-Jones. I was fortunate enough to travel to France twice during high school on short educational trips organized by Madame. My interest in languages and their structure led me to continue my studies in French as well as Linguistics at William and Mary. The professors in the College’s French department are exceptional. My French major advisor Professor Giulia Pacini has been an excellent resource for all things Francophone and has encouraged me to challenge myself throughout college. I especially enjoyed my summer study abroad trip to Montpellier, France, led by Professor Michael Leruth. Immersion in the French language and culture even for a short time helped me to improve my language skills.
Studying a modern language is extremely important; it opens up many interesting career possibilities! Following my graduation this December, I hope to teach English abroad in a Francophone country. I plan eventually to attend graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in Bilingual Education.
Since I was six years old, I’ve been in love with the French language. I tried to teach myself French by listening to cheesy “Family Circus Lyric Language French” tapes. At that time, however, I definitely could not imagine the day that I would be graduating from W&M as a French and European Studies double major! At the College, I have taken many courses that have provided me with interdisciplinary exposure to my various interests in French politics, European history, and international relations. I am so grateful to the wonderful professors in the French department who have really fostered my interests in French culture. I am also so thankful for the opportunity I had to study abroad at Sciences-Po Lille last spring. It was by far the best experience of my life, and I cannot wait to go back to France. After graduation, I hope to return to France as a Teaching Assistant.
When I arrived at William and Mary I had always had an interest in Hispanic culture, but I never thought that interest would lead me to declare it as my major. I knew from the start that I wanted to major in Psychology, but It was my “Latin@ Studies” freshmen seminar taught by Professor Riofrio that sealed the deal for me to declare a double major in Hispanic Studies too. Having all my classes taught in Spanish was at first an overwhelming thought, and at times proved to be very challenging; however, it pushed me to improve my language skills, and gave me the confidence to have the best experience of my life in Sevilla, Spain for a semester abroad. Immersing myself in another culture, and being constantly surrounded by native Spanish speakers was so surreal. I became extremely close with my host-family, and Sevilla quickly became a home away from home. After graduation, I plan to complete my masters here at the School of Education with an endorsement in teaching ESL. My dream, which I’m sure will become a reality, is to return to Spain to teach English, and then, obviously, to stop by Sevilla to greet mi familia sevillana con dos besos.
Majoring in Hispanic Studies and Government, I have enjoyed combining these interests in my coursework, research, and internships. I have particularly benefited from the flexibility that Hispanic Studies offers through courses and experiences related to both Spain and Latin America. Through William and Mary’s Cádiz, Spain study abroad program, I researched immigrants’ representation in the Spanish health care system. I studied and gained experience in U.S.-Latin American diplomacy through internships with the National Security Archive Southern Cone Project and the U.S. Department of State. I presented to the policy community a white paper on the possible effects of U.S. immigration reform on Mexico’s stability as a fellow with the Project on International Peace and Security, William and Mary’s undergraduate think tank. In the future, I look forward to continuing to pursue these interests in a career in public policy.
I chose to study German because of my family history, but the German Studies Department has taught me that there is so much more to the subject than just acquiring the language. I have gained a sense of the history of Germany within a European context, I have learned about the culture and seen it come to life outside of the classroom when I studied abroad through the Potsdam Program, and I have a greater appreciation for the intricacies of global relations and my own place as an American in that spectrum.
I am currently applying for jobs with international applications, many with German museums and institutions, in DC and Philadelphia for next year, and I plan to continue on to law school the following fall.
My name is Alexis Higgins and I am a transfer student from New Jersey.
I have always been in love with the French language, culture and history since I began taking the language when I was around the age of 12. I found it to be so beautiful which is why I have stayed with the language for these many years.
This past summer was my first trip to France, I took part in the Summer in Montpellier Program and it was the most memorable experience with which I have ever been blessed. Before I went to France I was still intimidated by the language. My plan was that depending on my experience abroad, I would then decide whether I would continue to major in the language or only receive a minor. My time in Montpellier confirmed the choice of majoring in French because I fell in love with the culture and the country more than I ever though possible.
I had any amazing time in Montpellier and the cities I visited once the program concluded. The most influential experience I had was learning about the French culture and how we are similar and different from my host family and getting to know them. I adored my host family and they were always so welcoming. Each morning I had my “French breakfast” with my host mom Lilly. As we became closer with one another, our conversations in the morning became deeper as well, to the point where I would have to run out the door in order to not miss the tram with the other girls from the neighborhood. I think the most amazing conversation we had was when we began to compare the problems women face in the workplace. I left breakfast extremely happy that my French mom had a feminist side to her!
My time abroad was filled with endless experiences that I hope to never forget and I am determined to return to France as soon as possible. I hope that wherever my career path may lead, that it keeps me connected to experiences I had this past summer.
My name is Daniel Hodges and I am a senior specializing in Francophone Studies and International Relations at the College of William and Mary. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, I started learning French at an early age and continued this passion throughout college, first by studying abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris and then by conducting Francophone-based research at Aid Data.
In Junior year, I was awarded the McCormack-Reboussin Scholarship and subsequently conducted documentary-based research in Belgium and France for a senior honors thesis. My project concerns French involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and specifically, it focuses on key events in Congolese history to argue that France always had an interest in the country even though it was colonized by King Leopold of Belgium. I examine how French interest has changed over the centuries and focus on recent developments spearheaded by France’s Ministry of Cooperation in order to better understand this de facto metropole-colony relationship.
After graduation from William and Mary, I plan on teaching English in French Guyana and taking law courses at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane in Cayenne. I will then attend a law school with a joint-degree program and obtain both my French and American law degrees in order to pursue a career in Franco-American intellectual property law.
After learning about William and Mary’s unique study abroad programs, I decided to combine my love of Spanish with my passion for education and double major in Hispanic Studies and Secondary Education. Within Hispanic Studies, I studied and conducted academic research in Cádiz, Spain and gained a greater understanding of the human rights movements in Latin America through an internship with the semester abroad program in La Plata, Argentina, among many other wonderful experiences. After graduating this May, I am headed to the University of Louisville, where I will pursue a MA in Spanish and have been offered a Graduate Teaching Assistantship of two years.
I am a senior, double majoring in Hispanic Studies and Secondary Education. I chose to major in Hispanic Studies because I wanted to be able to communicate with Spanish speaking individuals from all parts of the world. For me, it’s not just enough to know the language but you have to have some cultural and historical knowledge as well in order to understand the perspectives of the people you wish to communicate to. Upon graduating, I will begin teaching Spanish to 9th through 12th graders. Language learning will be a high priority in my classroom; however, helping students gain an understanding of the different cultures and helping them to use the language outside of the classroom will be two of my overarching goals.
I am a Hispanic Studies and Psychology double Major from Suffolk, Virginia. My love of the Spanish language began in high school where I served as a translator during service trips to Managua, Nicaragua. My college career in Hispanic Studies sent me on a journey through roughly and hilariously translated poetry, literary criticism of the mind-bending symbolism only found in Spanish literature, and colorful – sometimes delicious – cultural study as I analyzed Gitano influence on Flamenco in Cadiz, Spain. I hope to carry my language skills into my intended career in family therapy and also dream of hiking the Camino de Santiago sometime after graduation. I say that the most valuable takeaway from my courses in Hispanic Studies was the new perspective gained through careful study in and of other countries and their cultures. The ability to make a mean Spanish tortilla was a close second.
I am a senior currently double majoring in Hispanic Studies and English at the College. As a Modern Languages student, I have been able to take courses geared towards my Hispanic Studies major and courses geared toward a future career as an English teacher abroad. Through my course load, I have immersed myself in both Latin American and Spanish history, culture, and literature.
The most valuable experience I have gained as a William and Mary student and a Modern Languages student has been my time spent abroad. Through the Reves Center, I have been able to study both in Cádiz and Sevilla, Spain. I am currently completing my semester abroad in Sevilla, and the language immersion and personal experiences are much more than I could ever have asked for in my study of a foreign language. I hope to carry my academic experiences both at home and abroad with me after graduation as an English teacher abroad or as an international journalist.
Learning another language is more than just being able to talk to someone with different words. Learning a language involves a serious amount of patience, determination, and the ability to open your mind to the endless differences found in cultures around the world. As a student studying Spanish, I have learned vocabulary, grammar, and a very important sense of cultural relativity.
I will graduate from the College of William & Mary in May 2013 with a double major in Chinese and Finance with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. I gained extensive linguistic and cultural understanding during the William & Mary summer program at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2011. My experience in the capital and elsewhere within the country was a life-altering experience that I will always be grateful for. Upon graduation I will be working for a technology and business strategy company in Charlotte, NC that builds high growth businesses nationwide. I expect to incorporate my knowledge of Chinese in my career in the near future. Studying Chinese has dramatically augmented my experience at the College and I am extremely grateful for the wonderful department members who have guided my studies and have been personally invested in my success at the College and beyond.
Hi. My name is Inho Kim and I am currently double majoring in Chinese and Economics. I plan to go back to South Korea and serve my military service there for a few years as an officer. I truly believe that studying Chinese at WM allowed me to learn the language, culture, and history of China in a very profound way that I would not have been able to find anywhere else. I could not have asked for better professors, language programs, and fellow Chinese Major students who studied with me in many different classes and who I now consider close friends.
My name is Catherine Lipper, and I am a graduating senior originally from New Providence, NJ. I am a double major in International Relations and French and Francophone Studies. I first became interested in both international relations and French when I lived abroad in London, England for four years during elementary school. While at W&M, I have enjoyed taking French courses on scandalous women in literature, French cinema, secrets and revelations in literature, French identity constructions of sub-Saharan Africa, and French cultural studies. I studied abroad last spring in Brussels, Belgium with Internships in Francophone Europe (IFE). While in Brussels, I also interned with ESISC, the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, as a member of their World Terror Watch team. I presented my research on the aftermath of the Arab uprisings at the Fête de la Recherche in November 2012. Upon graduation, I intend to work in international affairs, either in Washington D.C. or New York City.
I am a Chinese and Finance Double-Major originally from Chesapeake, Virginia. On campus I am involved with the Undergraduate Honor Council, Tribe Rugby, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and a few volunteer organizations. This summer I will be participating in the South China Internship Program in Guangzhou, China. Afterwards I will return to William and Mary to finish up business classes in the fall and then seek full-time employment in China for a few years. Ultimately I plan to pursue a J.D. /M.B.A. Studying Chinese has made learning over the past four years exciting and challenging. I have learned to communicate with people from a different part of the world and how to go about exploring their culture. I now am able to think globally and conduct research in multiple languages. Furthermore, I have gained the ability to recite lyrics of sheer ecstasy into the ears of listeners through Chinese poetry. Finally, and most importantly, I have made lifelong relationships with classmates and faculty.
I’m Alex McGrath, A Russian Studies and International Relations double major at the College of William and Mary. In high school I very much enjoyed studying history and world geography, as well as following current world events. When I arrived at college, I decided I wanted to turn my interest in history into relevant internationally oriented skills, and I thus found myself seeking out both the international relations and Russian language departments.
I chose to major in Russian because I think having high proficiency in a foreign language brings with it considerable career opportunities. I chose Russian partly because of my interest in history, but also because the faculty I encountered in the Russian department are brilliant, friendly, and lead focused and inspiring classes. Through the Russian department I have been able to form strong relationships with professors as well as classmates, participate in tangible and productive projects, and study abroad. After graduation I hope to become a Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State, and work in Eurasia on issues of security, stability, and cooperation.
As the son of a French mother, I already had a strong incentive to take French classes as early as middle school. However, it wasn’t until spring semester 2012 after two years on the fence, that I actually decided to pursue a French major. A decision, I couldn’t have made without the support of my family, my fellow francophiles, my professors especially my adviser Michael Leruth, and two wonderful years in the French House.
I have always been interested in languages and looked to the W&M Hispanic Studies Department as a way to expand my fluency in Spanish. I consider the true capstone of my major to be her semester spent abroad in Sevilla, Spain. While in Andalucía I worked teaching theatre and English to children and teens at Fundación Don Bosco and danced on the side at Sevilla Dance Center.
After graduating this May, I hope to continue using my Spanish in work as an oral interpreter. I will spend the summer translating and stage-managing for an Argentinean dance company touring in Miami and hope this will lead to future work as an interpreter!
My double major in Hispanic Studies and Government was a foregone conclusion before I arrived at college; although I’m not sure my freshman self quite realized that. I fell in love with Spain at 15, after traveling abroad alone to live with a host family and I have never looked back. Once I arrived at William & Mary, I realized that being a Hispanic Studies major could translate my love of the language and culture into an academic understanding. The interdisciplinary focus of Hispanic Studies allowed me to integrate my interests in political science as well, whether it is the history of the Spanish Civil War or the representational power of minority groups in our society. Through the Hispanic Studies department, I have been able to experience living abroad for a semester, in Seville, Spain. The full immersion in Spanish culture allowed me to apply those lessons while learning in a loving Spanish home.
I came to the College of William and Mary in 2009 to learn about Chinese language and culture from some of the country’s best professors in that field. Studying in the Chinese department provided me with many challenges and opportunities, and allowed me to make lasting friendships with people living halfway around the world. After graduation, I plan to return to China to continue studying Mandarin Chinese, and hope to one day be fluent in the language.
For me, deciding to become a Hispanic Studies major took in a variety of factors. I was able to satisfy my creativity by incorporating cultural production (art, literature, film, music, dance….) into my studies. At the same time, the practicality of developing my Spanish language skills was undeniably beneficial to my community, career, and life in general. Last, and certainly not least, I reasoned that majoring in Hispanic Studies would legitimize my wanderlust and desire to learn more about the world. I loved, for example, having the opportunity to study the history of flamenco, or modern art, with Spanish teachers while in Sevilla, Spain. The in-class, all-in-Spanish experiences themselves were fascinating, and our many trips to museums, monuments, and performances added a depth to my understanding that I found invaluable. Being a major in the Hispanic Studies department has no doubt challenged me and tested my limits, yet in doing so it has definitely expanded my knowledge of the world and myself.
I am a senior Hispanic Studies major from Haymarket, Virginia. Always having a love for the Spanish language and a desire to teach, I decided to major in Hispanic Studies sophomore year after working with some truly inspiring professors. I spent the 2011-2012 academic year in Spain studying at the University of Seville and teaching high school and adult English classes. I am specifically interested in the way in which language and culture give access to educational opportunity, and in the coming years will be applying what I have learned through the Hispanic Studies department to working with English Language Learners in high-need New York City public schools.
Bonjour! My name is Madelaine Spangler, and I am a senior at the College from Richmond, Virginia. I am a French and International Relations double major.
As a young child, I fell in love with French language and culture. My mother speaks French fluently, and whether she was teaching me simple words or reading Madeline at bedtime, I knew that I wanted to learn the language myself. Fortunately, I was able to take French classes at the high school level from 6th-12th grade. I was accepted at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, a high school for students interested in government and international studies, where my passion for French and politics grew. This combination of interests made William and Mary my clear first choice for college, and I ended up applying early decision!
When I first came to William and Mary, I wasn’t sure if I could handle the International Relations and French double major that I wanted to pursue. Fortunately, I was assigned the best freshman academic advisor I could ever ask for in Professor Giulia Pacini. She encouraged me to “go for it” and pursue a French major, and I cannot express enough how grateful I am for all of encouragement and assistance she has given me. Once I decided to major, I enrolled in some of the most interesting classes of my college career! From a seminar on the French Revolution to a course on francophone Africa, these courses not only enriched my knowledge of French culture, but also enhanced my understanding of many concepts I was simultaneously studying in my international relations classes. I was even lucky enough to spend a summer studying abroad in Montpellier between my sophomore and junior year, where I put my language skills to the test in what I consider a journey of true self-discovery.
I am very sad to graduate this December and leave behind such an amazing group of friends and professors, but I know that I am leaving the College with the skill set to pursue my dreams and one day become a Foreign Service Officer. In the meantime, I am planning to serve as a Legislative Aide during the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session and will continue to pursue opportunities that combine my passions for both government and French.
I am a German Studies and Government double-major. I have been studying German since my freshman year at William and Mary and lived in the German House first semester sophomore year. During my second semester sophomore year I studied abroad at Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany through the American Junior Year Abroad program. My semester at Heidelberg was one of my undergraduate highlights and helped to improve both my spoken and written German. At Heidelberg I was able to combine my interest in Government and German by taking courses ranging from German politics to the German welfare state. It also gave me the opportunity to travel around Germany, specifically southern Germany and to experience German culture. During my junior year I was a TA for Professor Seidl-Gomez’s German 201 class. I am currently an intern at Amnesty International where I get to combine my interest in Government and German by working on Advocacy in Europe.
From living in the “Casa Italiana,” to studying Renaissance Art for a summer in Florence, to teaching English to kindergarteners in Siena for five months, my experiences with the Italian culture and language have been eye-opening.
Prior to entering William and Mary, learning a second language revolved around memorizing vocabulary and filling out grammar worksheets, but the Italian Department here has provided me with authentic opportunities to interact with Italian culture. I’ve been blessed to study abroad twice and be welcomed into two very different, but equally wonderful host families.
While teaching English at an elementary school during my time in Siena, I found that I have a true love for education. I’ve been able to continue that passion for teaching and foreign languages as a TA for Italian 101-102 and I will be teaching English as a Second Language next year in Memphis, TN.
For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to foreign languages and cultures, attributing my interest not only to my multi-ethnic family, but also, perhaps surprisingly, to my solely English-speaking upbringing. Throughout my childhood, I had exposure to many cultures, Portuguese and Puerto Rican being the most prevalent. But somehow, without the language, I felt like I was missing out. To my curious young mind, it was a secret code that I hadn’t yet cracked, and it became my mission to solve it.
I began studying Spanish in school at age 12 and Portuguese on my own at 16, but the greatest opportunities presented themselves at William & Mary. I chose to become a Hispanic Studies major because being able to really communicate with the non-English-speaking people I encounter inspires me. Getting beyond the surface motivates me because being able to share language makes a person come alive. My abilities in Spanish increased dramatically after just one semester at the College, and in the next two years, I was able to spend two incredible semesters abroad, the first in Florianópolis, Brazil, and the second in Seville, Spain. These adventures have had such a wonderful impact on my life, and as a result of my experiences abroad and here at W & M, I speak Spanish fluently and have an advanced level of conversational Portuguese. This has given me the special gift of being able to develop relationships with truly amazing people that I never would have gotten to know if I hadn’t studied these languages. I am eternally grateful.
Next year, I plan to receive my Masters in Foreign Language Education and ESL at the W & M School of Education. Then, in the years following, I plan to find a job teaching Spanish in the US or English abroad so that I can share my passion for languages and cultures with others. I also hope to travel as much as possible, return to Brazil to solidify my Portuguese, learn Italian, and write a novel about all of my adventures.