Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

A Message from Jennifer Epting '03

Languages, Literatures, & Cultures Jennifer Epting
Class of '03

French & English

1. Are you currently employed in the work force or continuing your education? If so, where?

I currently work as the Coordinator of Alumni Relations at the French-American School of New York. I also do work for the Communications and Development Offices at the School. The School is based in Westchester, NY (more specifically, my office is in Scarsdale) and is a bilingual and bicultural school.

2. Do you enjoy what you're doing?

My job is the perfect solution for someone who straddled two majors at school- I continue to wear a variety of hats everyday at work, which keeps me from getting bored! I use French everyday with parents, students, faculty, and administration at the school and I do quite a bit of translation from French to English. I'm also doing a lot of writing, so it's a nice blend to draw from my English major as well.

3. What are your plans for the future?

I'm headed back to graduate school (probably next year). It took a few valuable years of thinking and gaining experience to figure out what I'd like to pursue in grad school, and I've decided to study linguistics or a variation of that. I think that bilingualism and second language acquisition is going to be an important field in this country and I think it's really interesting to talk about that not only on a linguistic level, but also a cultural and social level.

4. Have you ever been able to use your knowledge of French language/culture?

Absolutely- the fact that I speak French allows me to become closer with the parent population at my school. And it's not only that I'm bringing that to the table- my job continues to inform me about French culture and language issues that I don't know about.

5. Do you find that the understanding of cultural differences that you've developed as a French major/minor plays a role in your life?

After living abroad, I returned home and wanted to hug every immigrant on the street! I think more than my French major, my time spent living abroad proved that being a "stranger" in another place can be difficult at times. Having lived that myself, I certainly think that I'm more understanding when it comes to people of other cultures or traditions. It's one of the reasons that I encourage so many students to spend time in another place, outside their "comfort zone."

6. Is there anything you'd like to share about your personal life?

When I studied in Aix-en-Provence, I didn't make a lot of European friends. When I returned to France after I graduated, it became a goal of mine to push myself to make friends who were not only American. I achieved that and now when I go to France, I feel much less like a tourist and a lot more like it's my home away from home.