Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: French & Francophone Studies

Zaccaria, Joe (Class of 1981)

Joe Zaccaria (class of 1981) writes: “If not for my French studies at W&M . . . I probably wouldn’t have known of Montpellier other than as a three-minute train station stop on the way to Carcassonne or Barcelona. I wouldn’t have discovered the joys of the landscapes, language, “vieilles pierres”, and people of Languedoc and Provence. I wouldn’t have needed to find a way to get back to France after my junior year, and I wouldn’t have had my W&M professors to help me get a French government teaching assistantship in Marseille, so I wouldn’t have lived there for three years. I wouldn’t have met the people there who made me think it would me fun to live in Denmark, so I wouldn’t have been in Copenhagen teaching English and French for three years. I wouldn’t have met the French friend there who introduced me to my Canadian wife, so I wouldn’t have lived in Ontario for a year (which I could do by getting a work permit to teach French) while I applied to law schools. I wouldn’t have gone to Michigan Law School because it was closest to Ontario, and I wouldn’t have moved back to Canada with my wife for good after practicing law for a few years in the States. So I wouldn’t be in Southern Ontario now, and I probably wouldn’t be back to my first love, teaching (which I first did as an “apprentice teacher” under Professor Cloutier in ’78-’79 and ’80-‘81). I wouldn’t be so happy teaching Grade 5 and 6 in a really good French Immersion school, and I wouldn’t have a wife and daughter who understand (well, sort of) why there are still lavender buds in the pocket of my jacket from our trip to France three years ago.”

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