Cristina Settar '08 (double major: French and psychology)

From an early age, Cristina had a passion for the French language. Regardless of other hobbies, interests, and subjects that came and went through her adolescent years, French always seemed to linger. When she came to Bucknell, she immediately gravitated towards the Bucknell en France program, which she found to be an absolutely life-changing experience. She felt ready and willing to fully immerse herself in the French culture and was beyond delighted to have the opportunity to head abroad. Bucknell staff members made her time in France easy from start to finish, even amidst the countless stressors associated with country-to-country travel.

After experiencing the hands-on, first person joys of living in a foreign land, she was hooked and felt that it seemed only natural to move forward in heated pursuit of a career involving French. However, she still found herself struggling. What exactly could she do with French after graduation, especially if she didn't specifically want to plunge into the world of academics? Her advisor, Renée Gosson, suggested an opportunity that Cristina thought almost too good to be true: a professional, business-oriented masters program located in Madison Wisconsin. It is a program available for students who had majored in French during their undergraduate years, but were seeking experiences beyond the classroom environment. Cristina knew that this program was a perfect fit for her, and after applying, was accepted for the fall of 2008.

Although the suggestion to apply to UW-Madison may seem small, Cristina feels that it completely changed the course of her life. She followed the path towards a career involving French, which she feels was undoubtedly one of the best decisions that she could have possibly made. The yearlong Masters program featured a study abroad experience as a means of enhancing one's professional and interpersonal skills in a foreign environment and overall, the program opened countless doors. She was able to expand, ameliorate, and refine her linguistic skills on an entirely different level, discovering the trials and tribulations associated with a "real-life" work experience in another country. She encountered several French colleagues who turned into lifelong friends.

At the end of her internship, Cristina was recruited for a position in project management at TransPerfect Translations, one of the largest private translation companies in the world, and wound up moving to New York City shortly thereafter. In a lucky twist, her particular position actually combined both of her majors. She handled life science-related work, focusing on psychology and mental healthcare, which linked her work to her psychology major. She also handled an incredibly broad range of languages, with a particular focus on handling French work, whenever possible. After nearly three years at TransPerfect Translations, she recently transitioned to another project management position at RR Donnelley, where she is currently working as a bilingual English to French Project Coordinator, still in the Life Sciences field. Furthermore, she was asked to submit an excerpt for the Executive Director of the Professional French Masters Program, which will be published in a scholarly collection later this year.

"French has truly become a living, breathing and ever-expanding aspect of my day-to-day life, and I couldn't be more thankful for my initial, eye-opening experiences at Bucknell. The warmth of the individualized attention provided by the French Department faculty was truly unmatched; such personalized support enriched and reinforced my love for French language, literature and culture alike, which propelled my gradual transition into the business world. The rigors of learning the basics (i.e., beginning with the challenges of the far-too-dreaded subjunctive, conquered during French 150) followed by subsequent expansion into the abstractions of the literary and artistic realms have truly paid off: my superior training at Bucknell undoubtedly placed me at the forefront of my classmates at UW-Madison, and the transition to post-graduate status truly felt seamless.

I continually express gratitude for the countless seeds that were planted throughout my time at Bucknell, which have gradually yielded such wonderful, colorful results on the cusp of my five-year reunion."

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