Claire Schoonmaker ’25

French Major
Posted on March 13th, 2023 by

“The department is super welcoming! It is small enough that I’ve shared French courses with the same classmates multiple times and the professors all know me.”

Claire’s interest in the French language began in middle school when she started taking French courses. She continued throughout high school and didn’t want to stop when she got to college, saying, “My advisor told me that if I was planning on taking a French course every semester in college, I might as well major in it!” Claire describes the small community feel of her French classes as something that has been influential in her time at Gustavus. She says, “I have had amazing discussions and developed friendships from seeing people I know in my French classes.” In particular, she remembers a day towards the end of a semester in one of her French classes when her professor had a film and pastry day as a refreshing break from the work leading up to finals. She says, “We spent an hour and a half enjoying a French film, delicious French patisserie, and each others’ company.” Of the faculty within the Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department, Claire has developed an especially close relationship with her French advisor. Of her advisor, she says, “She cares about my long term goals, but also asks about what is happening in my everyday life. I feel like I can ask her anything about the department and she’ll know the answer.” Her advisor has also helped her to plan a future study abroad opportunity, in which she will be spending her entire junior year in Morocco, while still being able to graduate on time. The department faculty have also given Claire ideas about post-graduation opportunities. She is strongly considering the Teaching Assistant Program in France, in which she would be able to teach in France for a year. She says, “The faculty have prepared me to be a good candidate through the quality of their French classes and through the resources they provide.” Outside of her French studies, Claire is also a flutist in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, an officer of the Geology Club, and a member of the Math/Computer Science/Statistics Club. 


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