When I was abroad in Tours, France, waking up in the morning and speaking French was amazing. Coming from rural Ohio, I never imagined I would get to do this.
During Commencement, Brandon received The Jeannine C. Liutkus Prize for the Bucknell en France student who, through individual initiative and perseverance, improved their proficiency in French, made the most of the opportunity to live in the French culture, and showed significant personal growth.
"After this past year of experiences, my Bucknell life has never been clearer — it's both educational and meditative. I am evaluating why I'm doing what I'm doing. When I was abroad in Tours, France, waking up in the morning and speaking French was amazing. Coming from rural Ohio, I never imagined I would get to do this. The French department and Bucknell en France's program advisers are the educators who helped me blossom into my full potential. I found very quickly that I could genuinely engage with French people and culture, and I was embraced by a core group of French peers — these are the experiences that will take me beyond college.
"Through support from the Bucknell Public Interest Program (BPIP), I was able to intern at City Hall in Tours. I had unbelievable experiences learning and understanding the economic, cultural and educational partnerships between Tours and other cities, such as Parma, Italy. This internship was an investment, not just an experience. I felt fully integrated because of the generosity and mentorship my boss showed me both in and outside of work. She even invited me to a family gathering at her home! Internships are not part of the Bucknell en France program, but I told my advisers this was a goal of mine and they helped me make it happen. My number one rule in life is to have aspirations, but not expectations. Whether it be studying French and international relations here at Bucknell, or abroad in France, my experiences have been unexpectedly and inexplicably enriching.
"The art of living is a well known historical French concept; a sensorial experience that truly gives others (no matter what national identity) an understanding of where we come from. By learning French language rhythm and conviviality, I unlocked a new life that was formerly hidden and unknown. I am writing an honors thesis in French, and my hope is to return to France to complete a master's degree in international relations as a Fulbright Scholar."
Brandon is from Wooster, Ohio
Posted November 19, 2015