MacJannet Scholars recall Tufts in Talloires, summer 2016

Editor’s note: Tufts in Talloires is six-week summer program that offers academic courses to Tufts undergraduates—87 last summer—at the Tufts European Center while simultaneously housing them with host French families living in and around Annecy. The program’s 37 MacJannet Scholars—so named because the MacJannet Foundation subsidizes their fees—reflected on the experience in the letters to the Foundation, which are excerpted below. —D.R.

Out of this world

I absolutely loved my host family, which also prepared me for having a host family for my semester abroad. I even get the unique opportunity to compare France to Chile, which I am now, and connect my observations. The mountains, flowers, wine, cheese, bread, beaches and especially the lake were out of this world. Au revoir, France.

—Alberto Rivera, Tufts ’18

 

Enlightening and amazing

We arrived nervous, excited and completely unaware of what the following six weeks would bring. We were going home more open, less fearful, more cultured and just completely in love with France and Europe in general. I can’t to visit Annecy and Talloires next year when I’m studying abroad next year in Paris and just revel in all the incredible memories that I made during my time there this summer.

—Amelia Austern, Tufts ’18

 

Challenging but unforgettable

I had many memorable moments, both good and bad, that made my six weeks in Talloires a challenging but unforgettable experience. I loved finally being able to dive into the lake, even in the cold of the night, after the rain cleared up. Messing around at the slack line festival was awesome, and I felt like I was really part of the local community. I felt independent and excited while exploring the local markets and buying fresh fruits and vegetables in French, and I loved playing with the small kittens in my host family’s house. I was thankful to have the help of the Tufts staff while navigating the French health care system during my visit to the doctor-mayor. Sometimes I found myself sitting at a restaurant, not exactly sure what I had ordered. But by the end of the six-week program, I realized that I had settled into a way of life within this new culture.

—Annie Bricker, Tufts ’19

 

Encounter with racism

The most positive thing for me that came out of this experience is the connections I made with the friends I travelled with. We had all know each other before going to Talloires, but we became so much closer. The late nights at the beach and deep discussions by the water really made us bond even more. As students of color, we experienced some racist people who affected us on a level we never knew possible. This made academics less of a priority and being in France harder, but having my friends around me made the experience easier to handle and I felt extremely supported. I can say that I have become more compassionate. I know I am a different person now, and I have changed for the better.

—Charlene Brew, Tufts ’19

 

My French improved

I thought the program might improve my French a lot faster compared to taking French at the Tufts Medford campus and I was absolutely right: My French improved more in those six weeks than it had the entire previous year.

—Eeman Malik, Tufts ’18

 

Awakening

The two courses I took—”Flowers of the Alps”—and “Dance, Movement, and the Creative Process”—were amazing by my standards (I have pretty average standards). For this I must thank the area surrounding Lake Annecy, for all of its beautiful flowers and spacious, alluring scenery. I honestly could not have taken those two class anywhere without getting a different—and not so amazing—experience.

—Herman Gallegos, Tufts ’19

 

Up close with faculty

THe small size of the Priory was a major advantage because I was able to interact with faculty on a daily basis and have conversations with them that I wouldn’t have on the Medford campus. Attending seminar-length classes on pretty much a daily basis was definitely an exercise of my mental endurance, especially if both classes were on the same day. The field trips were definitely a plus, mainly because I got to see the application of the course material beyond the classroom—something had not had the chance to do on the Medford campus.

—Isaiah M. Thomas, Tufts ’19

 

Lessons of the dinner table

My host parents were so welcoming and amazing. It was at the dinner table that we conversed, laughed, and ate delicious food. I already miss the croziflettes, tartiflettes, and escargots. Every meal was prepared with love and kindness. My host parents were also supportive and encouraging of my efforts to speak French. I cannot wait to return to school and show off my French.

—Jesse Najarro, Tufts ’19

 

Discovering my best self

Not only did I have amazing experiences, but also I became my best self. I believe that I am now more confident, positive, and appreciative of everything that I am and have. Tufts in Talloires is like an amazing hidden gem that some don’t know about, but that blesses those who do with its beauty and all the unbelievably incredible things about it.

—Matea Friedl, Tufts ’18

 

All the way from Korea

Growing up in South Korea and California, I was hesitant to move all the way to Boston for college while my parents lived in Korea. But the Tufts in Talloires program caught my eye right away, and eventually became a big factor when deciding between colleges. No other school has such a special program, where you get to spend six weeks taking summer classes in a beautiful French village and experiencing real French culture by living with a host family.

—Megan Kang, Tufts ’19

 

Seeing is believing

I now realize that a year ago, when my friends were describing to me their experiences, there was no way I could possibly know what it felt like to be in their shoes, until I stepped out of my comfort zone and did this program myself. Now, when people ask how I enjoyed the program, I tell them, “You have to sign up and find out yourself.”

—Michael Scandura, Tufts ’18