The Hope College Newsletter
French is much more than just learning new vocabulary, grammar and phonetic rules. To many, French is a way to interact and communicate with a larger part of
Zach Nielsen (Dec. '09), a Hope College student from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is
majoring in French, with a minor in Chemistry. In the future he plans to work in
operations and logistics for an international humanitarian aid organization,
using his French to make people who have lost their homes and normal lives feel
comfortable and loved. Nielsen writes of his overseas experiences in a personal
and meaningful way:
"I spent fall semester of 2008 on an adventure in Geneva, Switzerland, as a
member of the SIT Development Studies and Public Health program."
Zach Nielsen (second to the left) with his host family in Switzerland.
"Switzerland (not Sweden! everyone gets them confused) is a small jewel in the
middle of Western Europe. It’s a country so in touch with its natural resources that more than two-thirds of the country’s electricity is generated by renewable
hydroelectric power; it’s so in touch with its history and lineage that my host family’s ancestors have lived in the same village for over 450 years; it’s so in touch with its long-standing tradition of offering warm hospitality that when I met a stranger at a grocery store and he found out that I was visiting his village and wanted to cross-country ski, he took me back to his house and let me use his brand new skis for free."
"My program’s theme was Development Studies and Public Health and Geneva is the perfect spot for that kind of program—it’s the international super-center of all humanitarian aid and other
international organizations. Instead of being in a classroom, we had class at a different aid organization every day. Our lecturers were public
health professionals at
organizations like the United Nations, WHO, UNHCR, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. They immersed me in
the public health environment, helping me to learn in innovative ways and enabling me to see what a career in that field looks like.
My learning experiences culminated in an Independent Research Project during the last four weeks
of my program. My research
focused on the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on how aid agencies are inhibited from helping.
I met with professionals from headquarters of organizations who enabled me to better understand the situation from different
These are a few of the enlightening experiences that I had because I went to study in a place I’d
never been to before. Every day
I spent in Switzerland was an adventure: I was immersed in Swiss culture, used my French daily out of necessity, and learned
about humanitarianism and public health, all of which I know will somehow be a part of the rest of my life."
Clean Water for Cameroon By Rachel Reese
Rachel Rees (’09), a double major in French and Nursing, is interested in local and global health. She has been to Cameroon twice over the Hope May term.
As I reflect on the past four years I have spent at Hope, I am more and more amazed at the ways in which God has woven together the different threads of my life to create a picture that is so fulfilling and eye opening. I came to college knowing two things:
1) I wanted to be trained in a profession that would allow me to serve other people every single day and 2) whatever my primary major would be, I would also major in French and study overseas. As a nursing major I have found a field that allows me to enter into relationships with people who are hurting and provide for them when they need it most. However, I have also found that my knowledge of French opens up possibilities beyond the confines of the English-speaking
world and this revelation excites me even more.
"This project has challenged me in ways I never
would have imagined...."
In May 2008 I had the opportunity to participate in a clean water project in Nkuv, Cameroon, a small village innorthwestern Cameroon where English and French are spoken, along with the tribal languages. The project aims to improve water quality through the use of clean water filters, water quantity by the construction of a water distribution system, hygiene through health education teaching, and sanitation. Research shows that addressing these four aspects of health will bring about the greatest health benefit for a community.
This project has challenged me in ways I never would have imagined and has truly shaped the way I view the world. Being able to incorporate my nursing knowledge and my French language skills to communicate with villagers and people in the cities we passed through was exciting and liberating. Over the course of the past two years I have begun to feel a growing pull toward using these gifts to serve people in French speaking countries, preferably in Africa. My
heart has grown close to these people and I have found such joy in working alongside them.
I believe God has gifted me with a love for French. Even though I often get questioning looks from people when I tell them I am a nursing and
French double major, as that does not seem like a very practical or common combination, I am convinced that both majors will prove to be relevant
for the work God has laid out for me to do in this life. I am excited for what lies ahead.
Studying Médecine sur la Côte d'Azur
Successfully combining two different academic interests is no problem for Hope student Lauren Clack ('10), from Bloomfield Hills, MI. Lauren will be entering her third year at Hope as a French and Biology major. She plans on continuing her studies in medicine at the graduate level. Lauren writes of her experiences with the program 'France for the Pre-Med' through Washington University in Saint Louis. She studied this summer in Nice, France with 25 other students from various universities.
"During my stay in Nice I participated in an internship in Neurosurgery at l'Hôpital Pasteur during which I assisted with patient visits and several surgical interventions. In addition I was able to develop great relations with the hospital staff. I could not have asked for a greater opportunity to have an inside look at the French medical system and experience a medical internship at a level that would not have been accessible to me before finishing my pre-medical studies in the US.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the program was the level of independence and maturity expected from the participants. During the internship there was no one saying 'do this' or 'follow me' so you had to learn quickly to be selfmotivated and run with the big dogs! This independence wasn't limited to just the internship, as the students were free to travel during the weekends and explore the bus system of the Côte d'Azur. I also traveled to Paris, St. Tropez, and Italy and visited several villages near Nice that are off the beaten tourist track."
On the Right: Lauren Clack
"This was my first time in France and I could not have been happier with the experience. As a matter of fact, I loved France so much that I decided to prolong my stay another 5 weeks!
Having finished my studies for the program, I'm now making the most of my extended stay in France. I've made some great friends here who help give me the inside view of French life. Thanks to them I've been able to experience French concerts, cafes, and camping, à la française!"
The Co-Curricular French Program '08-'09
This past year at Hope College, our French Department has filled our schedules with interesting speakers, events and ways to improve and better appreciate the French language and culture.
• The Fall Semester commenced with a colloquium by Professor Vincent Desroches of Western Michigan University. In celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Québec City, he spoke on the endurance of the francophone culture in North America.
• French students had the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago to view an exhibit on artistic expressions from the royalty of Benin, an ancient kingdom in present-day Nigeria. The group learned of the diverse artistic mediums, ivory, beads, and brass among others and how they contributed to the culture.
• During Hope's annual Critical Issues Symposium, Nicole Buono (Class of '92) showed the Hope population an example of the very practical, but yet personal and compassionate purposes she has assigned to her French language abilities. Buono spoke on her work combating AIDS in Africa. "Even though the globe is attempting to come together to fight this disease, there is still disgust towards people with AIDS," writes Kaitlin Johnson ('12). Buono's goals are to spread awareness, to educate, and to support international programs, financially and otherwise.
• In November, the campus experienced a lighter side of culture by dining on a French Gourmet Dinner at Phelps Hall in connection with National French Week! Classic French dishes like Coquilles St. Jacques, Salade Niçoise, Ratatouille and, of course, crêpes Suzettes were served at the dinner.
• Another fun activity was the regular Ciné-Club, presenting French films and giving students a taste of French culture.
• In the Spring, The French Department organized a panel of students returning from Study Abroad programs. Elizabeth Olson ('09) recounted her May term in Nice, France. She spent her time in the pre-med program as well as with her host family. After a semester in Geneva, Switzerland, Zachary Nielsen (Dec. '09) spoke and answered questions on his experience. He advised the audience on Study Abroad, " What you put in is what you will get out of it." Returning from Nantes was Christine Hostetler ('10) who took local classes in Art History and French Grammar while living with a host family. She also had the opportunity to travel around Europe. Last was Laura Stritzke ('10) who stayed in Paris and experienced bigcity life.
• To enlighten students on a littleknown episode of French history, Dr. Otto Selles of Calvin College gave a lecture on Huguenot (a French Calvinist) Anne Robert and her religious sect, today known as the Multipliants. Persecuted by Catholic France, the Huguenots worshipped in secret until Robert's home (the main gathering site) was raided, and followers were arrested or executed. Selles' research on the fascinating episode of the arrest and the documents recovered give us a glimpse of 18th-century France.
• Finishing the academic year was a presentation given by Hope graduate Elise Edwards ('06). Elise majored in French and International Studies. She recounted her job search and her entrance into the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Specialist. In April 2007, she headed to Jakarta, Indonesia for her new position with the U.S. Embassy. She had many opportunities to travel across Asia during her two-year post. She has recently chosen to spend her next two years at the embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. She will be using her French on another adventure!
Exploring France in Toulouse and Rennes
by Natalie DeGeorge ('10)
Natalie, from St. Clair Shores, Michigan is a French and International Studies double major, and possibly an Economics minor. She hopes to return to France to further improve her speaking skills and also has plans to apply to a master's program. During the Fall 2009 semester, she will be the RA of the French House and will serve as the Secretary of the International Relations Club.
Living in France for a year was something that I had never seriously considered. Studying abroad for a semester was an easy enough commitment, but consecrating an entire academic year to another country, culture and language seemed to me an entirely different story.
My nine-month stay in France was split between two very different cities: Toulouse in the southwest, steeped in Occitan influence, and Rennes in the northwest, swelling with Breton pride.
During the fall, I studied with the School for International Training (SIT) in Toulouse, where I spent my mornings in a Français Langue Étrangère (FLE- the French equivalent of ESL classes) program with other aspiring Francophones, and my afternoons in highly specialized seminars whose topics ranged from French economics to the roots of French identity.
My spring semester was spent in Rennes, the capital of Brittany, with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) where I was enrolled in yet more FLE-type classes as well as other courses of my choice.
The latter of the two programs was more similar to a typical college schedule, punctuated by a period of midterm and final exams. The former program, however, was comprised of one-timeonly lecture-based seminars; it also included a 10-day village study coupled with various excursions, and culminated in the preparing and subsequent presentation of an extensive research paper conducted and written entirely in French.
"I explored countless shops and boutiques and bought savory ham and cheese crêpes from street vendors."
Even more striking than the different formats that structured each program were the differences between the cities of Toulouse and Rennes. Toulouse, la ville rose as it is called, is home to the current rugby champions of France, demonstrates a regional cuisine and architecture colored with Mediterranean influences and, along with the rest of the south of France, is characterized by a laidback approach to life. Walking the ever-busy streets of Toulouse, I explored countless shops and boutiques and bought savory ham and cheese crêpes from street vendors. I learned that the back wall of my current school was built over the ancient, fortified ramparts that used to encircle Toulouse when it was just a fledging Roman city. During one of our many excursions, I saw the residence of José Bové, the farmer who led to the highly publicized dismantling of a McDonald’s restaurant in Aveyron. I spoke with shepherds in the Pyrénées Mountains about the dangers and consequences of the French government’s initiative to reintroduce Slovenian bears to the area in an effort to bolster the dwindling native population.
After three months in the Rose City, I developed a surprisingly strong affinity for Toulouse and the south of France as a whole, a sentiment that I was quick to express when I arrived in Rennes for spring semester.
The first time I shared my love of savory crêpes with a Rennais, I was met with a look of skepticism. Home to galettes, the buckwheat flour equivalent of savory crêpes, Rennes is the last place I should have expected such an opinion to be unquestionably accepted. I even encountered doubts concerning the very existence of my beloved “crêpes salées.” Hard cider always accompanied a meal of galettes, and the combination of the two was always heralded as a “true” Breton meal by my host family. I was immediately made aware of the strong sense of community that existed in the much smaller and more compact city of Rennes.
The deeply ingrained regional patriotism challenged my newly found southern pride, and while I have not lost my inexplicable feeling of hailing from the south of France, I ended my experience being considerably more comfortable in Rennes. Much to my delight, my host parents informed me that I did not have an American accent, but had the singsong rhythm of southern French and sported some unidentifiable “European” accent. I also witnessed the college students at the University of Rennes 2 (the campus where my program was hosted) stage a “blocage”, which consists of emptying all the chairs and tables of the ground floor classrooms and piling them in the doorways of every academic building to prevent classes from taking place. While it was amusing for the first week, we quickly tired of the constant protesting and blocked entrances, wishing fervently the student union and administration would resolve their issues.
Being able to spend my year abroad in two different French cities was the most beneficial way for me to experience as much as I could in the little time I was afforded. The perspective that it granted me is priceless, and I can only hope to be able to return to France in the near future.
Hope College Celebrates Student Research
This past March six French student researchers were invited to attend the Ninth Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance.
Left: Student researchers and French professors celebrate their learning successes. (L to R) C. Schrock, S. Williams, Prof. Chapuis- Alvarez, R. Alfuth, R. Sikkema, Prof. Larsen, A. Wiers, and A. Hawkins.
Ryan Alfuth ('11) presented his research on French President Nicolas Sarkozy's role and political policies.
Women who worked in the Resistance Movement during the Nazi Occupation of France were the subject of Rachel Sikkema's ('11) research.
Avril Wiers ('11) chose to write on "The French Trinity of Egyptology: Napoleon, Champollion, and Vivant- Denon in Egypt."
"A Woman Ahead of her Time: The Life of Camille Claudel" was presented by Sarah Williams ('09) who researched the life of sculptor Camille Claudel.
Allison Hawkins ('09) researched the life of French artist Paul Gauguin in her paper, "Gauguin and the Polynesian Myth." Allison also presented research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. She spoke on "Motion Masters: The Influence of Calder on Tinguely's Quest for Innovation in Sculpture." Her research covered sculptor Alexander Calder's influence on Jean Tinguely who, in turn, surpassed Calder. Allison's work is to be published in the Conference Proceedings. Allison will be studying Contemporary Design at Sotheby's Institute of Art in London next year.
Also presenting her research at Hope College's celebration was Caitlin Schrock ('09), who chose to delve into the life of Gabrielle Roy, a 20th century French Canadian author.
Hope College is proud to have so many accomplished French student researchers!
Honors and Awards '09
Hope College congratulates many students on their academic excellence.
French majors and minors were elected to the prestigious and nation's oldest honorary society Phi Beta Kappa: Allison Hawkins, Nova Hinman, Rachel Rees, Laura Shears and Sarah Williams.
Left: Spring '09 French Seminar students for their final meeting at Dr. Larsen's home.
Mortar Board, a National Honor Society begun in 1918, presented awards to French students Lauren Moak, Jeeyeon Park, and Jeffrey Vrendenburg.
French student Karen Luidens received both the Dean for the Arts and Humanities Award and also placed second in the Multicultural Essay Contest Award for the CrossRoads Project.
Students George Khoury, Karen Luidens and Sarah Williams were awarded the departmental Linda D. Palmer Memorial Award in French. The Marguerite Prins French Award was given to Allison Hawkins, Christine Pattinson and Rachel Rees.
Caitlin Schrock received the AATF Outstanding Senior in French Award, and George Khoury was awarded with the Paul G. Fried Prize in International Education.
Left: French Students and faculty at 2009 graduation
Hope's French scholars are quite the Renaissance people and have received a wide variety of awards to prove it. Forrest Gordon and Sarah Multer were presented with the Hope College Athletic Blanket Award, Forrest Gordon with the Senior Sigma Xi Research Award in Mathematics and Nova Hinman with the same in Psychology. Karly Fogelsonger received the Academy of American Poets Award, Christine Hostetler the Stanley Harrington Art Award as well as the Jon F Kay Art Award. The Hope Chemistry Senior Award for Research was given to Amy Speelman. Sarah Williams was awarded the Florence Cavanaugh Dance Award. The English Department awarded prizes to French students Laura Shears, Danielle La Fleur, and Amy Weber. The Nursing Department presented Rachel Rees with the Senior Nursing Award. Junior ('10) Michael Bertrand was awarded the Charles E. Lake Memorial Prize in Philosophy. The James Dyke van Putten Political Science Prize was given to Lauren Johnson and the Jeannette Gustafson Memorial Gift was given to Erin Sundberg for her studies in Sociology.
Congratulations to all our French students!
Teaching Assistantships and Study Abroad
After Graduation, several of Hope's French students have been offered Teaching Assistantships. The French government awards this opportunity to travel to France or its territories and teach English in the local high schools and sometimes universities. Allison Templeton ('09) will be teaching in Montpellier in the south of France, Anna West ('09) in Caen in Normandy, France, Sarah Williams ('09) in Nantes, France. Also Ashley Holtgrewe ('08) is teaching in Martinique this year.
||Cameroon [SITCulture and Development]
|Academic Year 2008-2009
||Toulouse [SIT], Rennes [CIEE]
||Cameroon [SITDevelopment & Social Change]
||Nice [France Pre-Med]
||Nice [France Pre-Med]
|IES= International Education of Students
|SIT= School for International Training
|CIEE= Council on International Education Exchange
Learning from the Best By Julian Hinson
Julian (second from left) is a premed student from Minneapolis, MN who enjoys nearly all forms of competitive sport, travel and culture, reading, and cooking. Graduating in 2010, Julian is a double major in Chemistry and French with plans to attend medical school to practice medicine in urban America and West Africa. He is also considering a Masters in Public health, and further education in French.
My experience with the France for the pre-med program consisted of a stay of five weeks on the French Riviera as one of twenty-five students interning at one of three hospitals. A typical day included shadowing a physician for four hours, then two hours of class, and finally a lecture from a visiting doctor. This is an awesome experience if one limits oneself to this description alone; but as is often the case with study in France, there was so much more.
My experience at the Hôpital Pasteur took place in an endocrinology ward, doing daily rounds with a physician, an intern and several externs. While the majority of our cases concerned diabetics, the visits offered insight into the French medical system, which, while functioning much better than our own, still has its flaws. We were introduced to all the deleterious effects of high blood sugar and the resultant desensitization of the feet. (I can assure you, Dermite Ocre doesn’t look any better in French than it does in English).
A Washington University professor and a local French professor taught our courses (their Niçois accent is much more fun than Parisian French) which consisted of an introduction to the culture and practice of French medicine (did you know that aluminum may play a role in the onset of Alzheimer’s? Or that a surgeon, while staring at a monitor, may operate on a fetus in advance of its birth? The latter issue raised some interesting questions about the difference between the French and American concept of “Life”). We also of course made sure to fit in visits to the beach.
Finally, the best family I could have hoped for housed me: my grammar needed improving, my host-mum was an elementary school teacher, and the family offered me an environment where I could truly learn about the culture of France. Between visits to Monaco, Antibes, and Eze, we argued over Sarkozy, Obama, smoking, and romance. When I wasn’t poring over Montaigne, Molière, and Camus, we were munching Carpaccio (raw beef dish) and Soca (chick pea pancake) between daily baguettes, pain au chocolat, and homemade Italian jelly courtesy of the first person who indicated to me the definition of “French Wit” (and taught me all the slang I am now employing).
un poème par Lyndi Johnson ('10)
À Haïti vivait un garçon.
Il n’avait ni mère, ni père,
Il n’avait pas même de maison.
Il était orphelin.
Chaque jour de ses yeux remplis d'espoir,
Quelqu'un qui voudrait l'adopter
Sans trop y croire.
Chaque nuit des larmes sur ses joues ont
Mais il essayait de les cacher
Pour ne pas blesser le matin
Ses amis, comme lui, orphelins
Les plages d'Haïti étaient telles
Que des familles y voyageaient de très loin
Des familles si riches, si belles!
Pourtant, lui restait seul, toujours orphelin.
Mais un jour, Dieu lui a envoyé
Une réponse à ses prières
Quelqu’un qui l'aimerait et dont il serait fier.
Il ne serait pas toujours orphelin.
La réponse qui est venue
Était une femme américaine.
Elle n'avait jamais su
Que ses enfants seraient une demi-douzaine.
Mais le jour où elle a rencontré
À l'orphelinat ce beau garçon
Elle a su qu'elle ne pourrait s'en aller
Sans celui qui s'appelle Gaston.
Gaston est parti avec sa nouvelle mère
Il a trouvé une nouvelle famille qui l'a étreint,
Un père, trois soeurs, et un nouveau frère,
Il ne serait plus jamais orphelin.
|Je rêve de Madagascar.|
un poème par Avril Wiers ('11)
C’est une oasis de verdure dans le scintillement de l’Océan
Près de l’Afrique continentale, mais loin du reste du monde.
L’île est perdue dans un flot céruléen
Je suis attirée par les forêts, comme une vagabonde
J'ai mis du thé et du pain dans un sac et sauté la clôture.
Je rêve de Madagascar.
La lumière liquide pénètre le couvert forestier,
Et la pluie glisse sur les feuilles en dessous.
Les lémurs, les singes primitifs, dansent sur le sentier,
Une joyeuse symphonie est produite par les coucous,
Leurs yeux orange brillent dans le ciel bleu.
Je rêve de Madagascar.
Je marche lentement dans les forêts vertes, chaudes,
Les lézards colorés grimpent sur les branches noueuses
Et je regarde la vapeur qui s’échappe de la peau des
Les ombres cachent dans leurs bras les tortues frileuses.
Je m’arrête un instant pour sentir le parfum d’une fleur
rouge, comme le soleil.
Je rêve de Madagascar.
Je viens d’une grande clairière dans la forêt, j’entre dans les
L’herbe grandit vers le ciel pour atteindre un plus grand
Les arbres deviennent comme des huisseries,
Encadrent les paysages ; il commence à pleuvoir
Et je m’abrite à un coin dans le tronc d’un baobab.
Je rêve de Madagascar.
Les gouttes de pluie s’écrasent férocement contre ma vitre
Je me réveille dans mon lit, loin de l’île de mes illusions,
La seule chose dont je me souvienne de la forêt est ma
Dans ce rêve récurent, je cherche des émotions
Qui vont arriver quand je visiterai l’île…finalement.
French Faculty Activity
Isabelle Chapuis Alvarez presented a paper « D’Astérix à Sarko, quelle Bande Dessinée utiliser dans la classe de français? » last March during the annual meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters held at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. While in France, during summer vacation with her family, she visited friends and family in the Loire Valley where she also had the pleasure to share memories with her eighth grade teacher. She visited the roman churches of the Poitou-Charentes region and paid tribute to the martyrs of WWII in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. She also enjoyed gastronomic specialties in the Périgord region, and spent a few nights in picturesque troglodytic homes in Saumur, before immersing herself in the vibrant cultural life of the capital.
Anne Larsen prepared a paper “Crossing the Public and Private Divide: Dorothy Moore and André Rivet on Women in the Church” for the Sixteenth-Century Studies What's New with the French Faculty? Conference in Saint-Louis (Oct. 08) for which she also organized three sessions on “Women Writers and Political Engagement in Manuscript and Print I, II, and III.” She was awarded the 2008 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Best Reference from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference for her co-edited Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England. In June, she enjoyed hiking in the Alpes Vaudoises with members of her family and attended a couple of events in Geneva commemorating the fifth centenary of John Calvin’s birth.
Brigitte Hamon-Porter presented a paper «Réinventer l’île : Vai : La rivière au ciel sans nuages (1990) de Michou Chaze et Mutismes (2003) de Tutuau Peu» at the M/MLA Conference (Nov '08) and a second paper “Quête identitaire dans la littérature de la Nouvelle-Calédonie” at the Conference on Romance Languages in Cincinatti (May '09). She is pursuing her work on writers from the Pacific islands. Her summer vacation took her again to the West side of the United States where she hiked in the National Parks of the state of Washington.
Pamela Edmunds, who teaches Beginning French, enjoyed a wonderful three week stay in Paris this summer with her family. She exchanged homes with a Parisian family (think 'The Holiday' movie! :) ). The trip started with an enjoyable week in the countryside in the southwestern region of France (Toulouse, Carcassonne, etc.) where they were able to experience a French wedding/reception and stay with hospitable French families, both in a B&B setting as well with acquaintances. This voyage enabled her to live again like a Française, shopping at the marchés, visiting the châteaux all the while introducing her family to the wonderful French way of life in the Île de France.
From the Editor's Desk. The French faculty is pleased to feature each year essays written by students who benefit from
the rich and varied overseas French and francophone programs organized by Hope's Office of International Education.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Amy OtisDe
Grau, Director of International Education, and her staff for
their exemplary aid in guiding our students into the program(s) of greatest benefit to them. The French faculty also seeks
to feature the outstanding academic work of our students. To this effect, we highlight their research and creative writing
The French Newsletter is published by the French section funded through the Department of Modern and Classical
Languages. Please contact Anne Larsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for items to be included in the next issue. Comments and
queries from alumni are also welcome! Thanks to Gina Veltman (’12) for her efforts in designing, writing, and formatting
this bulletin and to all those who submitted essays to the 2009 Hope French Newsletter!