MacJannet Scholars recall Tufts in Talloires, summer 2018
Every summer, the Tufts University European Center organizes the Tufts in Talloires program, a six-week academic program for Tufts undergraduate students. Its students— 75 in summer 2018— receive a unique combination: two credit bearing Tufts University courses from a range of disciplines, plus the opportunity to live with a French host family and get firsthand experience of French culture. With a nod to Donald MacJannet’s belief in learning by experiencing, all the classes offered in Talloires connect in some way with the local region to give students an experiential component to their coursework. As students have become more globally minded, the popularity of our program has grown. The Tufts in Talloires Program has become an important (and sometimes the only) vehicle for students to live abroad and to discover the world beyond what they’ve always known.
The MacJannet Foundation has been instrumental in making this possibility a reality for many students through its generous annual support of the Tufts European Center’s scholarship fund. Last summer, the MacJannet Foundation’s grant of $36,525, combined with other scholarship support from Tufts, helped the European Center offer financial support to 29 students who might not otherwise have been able to travel to Talloires. These “MacJannet Scholars,” in turn, help ensure a more diverse student community for the Tufts in Talloires Program, something that enriches our own community while also teaching our French neighbors and hosts about the richness and diversity of American students.Every year, we on the Tufts staff see how six weeks in Talloires can have a profound and long-lasting impact on students’ lives.
A retired professor reconsiders his education
By Guy Benveniste
I was born in Paris into a large immigrant family that had fiercely adopted French culture and language. My parents spoke French; my father did not know English. My numerous cousins, aunts and uncles all spoke French.
In 1936, when I was nine, my mother’s sister moved to Paris from Prague and enrolled her two children at The Elms, the MacJannets’ school outside Paris. My aunt arranged with Donald MacJannet to allow me to attend some classes and activities at The Elms on Thursdays and Sundays, when the French schools did not hold classes. That summer, my cousins went to the MacJannet Camp in Talloires, and I joined them there for the summers of 1936, ’37 and ’38. I also went skiing with a MacJannet group led by Donald’s brother-in-law, Emory Foster, in Caux and Font Romeu in ’37 and ’38. By then my English had improved. (I learned to sing “Our Indiana,” the fight song of Indiana University, from one of my camp counselors.)
With her pipes, Priscilla Barclay teamed up with Charlotte MacJannet to find new ways to repair a shattered world
By Selma Odom and John Habron
Talloires, spring 1958: Charlotte MacJannet and Priscilla Barclay, two elegant educators in their 50s— one born German, the other English— greet colleagues at the opening of a course organized by the International Union of Dalcroze Teachers.
They have gathered in the garden at the crumbling 900-year-old Prieuré, which Charlotte and her husband Donald MacJannet had recently acquired. Here Charlotte guides performers and teachers from Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, England, Austria, and Denmark through a ten-day exploration of “the body as an instrument for artistic expression.”
To many, the MacJannets were primarily concerned about the cause of international good will—first between Americans and the French (beginning in the 1920s through their school outside Paris and their camp at Talloires), later between American and Europeans (through their international exchange programs) and ultimately among peoples throughout the globe (through international conferences at the Prieuré as well as today’s MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship).
International relations was of course important to the MacJannets. But then, that subject is important to many other people as well. How were the MacJannets different?
In my own view of the MacJannet ideals, international goodwill was a by-product rather than the centerpiece of their vision. Above all, I believe, the MacJannets had unique ideas about the ingredients of a great education.
Today’s MacJannet Traveling Fellows programs— oriented around the Prieuré in Talloires— essentially continues the key elements of the MacJannet educational design: a welcoming atmosphere; a sense of nature’s enchantment; the opportunity to take risks in cultivating the individual’s potential; and the chance to become bi-lingual and cross-cultural.what Rousseau saw as his natural goodness while participating in an inevitably corrupt society.
The significance of working in a building with a thousand years of history first struck me when then Tufts President Jean Mayer expressed his delight that Tufts could now claim to be older than Harvard, by six centuries!
As a Frenchman, Mayer was no stranger to old buildings, and indeed admired the Prieuré’s ancient stones right from his first visit there, in 1976. I was with him, and it was pretty clear that his fertile imagination was working overtime to determine how to convince the Tufts trustees to take on this precious responsibility, virtually unprecedented for an American university.
Editor’s note: Tufts in Talloires is a six-week summer program offering academic courses to Tufts undergraduates—74 last summer—at the Tufts European Center while simultaneously housing them with host French families living in and around Annecy. The program’s 29 MacJannet Scholars—so named because the MacJannet Foundation subsidizes their fees—reflected on the experience in an anonymous online survey. Excerpts are below. – D.R.
The idea of spending six weeks with a host family is very intimidating, but it is definitely worth it. I had a great time and learned a lot, and getting to know my host family was one of the highlights of my experience here.
The best aspect of the program was the host families. We may have our differences, and mine did not always seem what I expected, but that is the best way to learn a new culture and language. My host family was very nice and involved. Had I done this experience without a host family, I don’t believe I would have had such formative experiences or as much fun.
Talloires is an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in the French culture and broaden your horizons by living with a host family while still having the comfort of other Tufts students and staff around for support. I would not have been able to study abroad without this experience. I felt I developed new relationships and made friends I would have never met at Tufts.
My patient host mom
Maybe it’s something in the mountains, maybe it’s the magic of France, but these experiences, many unexpected, will be ones I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
Living and breathing cheese
Tufts in Talloires always seemed like an interesting program to attend, but you will never understand how magical it is until you live, breathe, and eat all of the cheese in Talloires. I loved how I was always able to find a faculty member or intern, no matter the time. Everyone went out of their way to help me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am pleasantly surprised at how great my time here was. Talloires has become one of my favorite places in the world. It’s everything you’d expect and more.
Tufts in Talloires also offered a beautiful view while taking two Tufts credits. But be warned: These are actual classes that you have to take seriously. The best part of this program is the opportunity to learn a new culture while reconfirming your personal culture and history.
Connecting with professors
The structure of the two Tufts courses paired with hiking, swimming and exploring every day is a great way to spend a portion of summer. The small class-sized setting made both of my classes very engaging. It was easy to connect with professors about the course material and even get to know them outside of class as well. The field trips for each class were also a really unique part of the learning experience. But the best part of the program was the setting and the program’s reputation in town, because you really feel welcomed into a totally new community.
Summer camp, plus….
The Tufts in Talloires program feels like a summer camp where you can let your inner child be free all the while taking interesting and engaging classes rooted in the surrounding culture.
Everyday French life
The ability to really experience everyday life in France was the most enjoyable part. I really felt like I got to know the local Talloires community better than I expected. Over the course of the program, you can make great memories and really engage with the local community.
Learning from the landscape
I am in awe of how beautiful Annecy and Talloires are. You learn just as much from the mountains, lake, and culture as you do in your classes.
Once in a lifetime
I would say it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a new culture, to meet incredible people, and to get a jump on some course credit. What more could you ask for?
Living on a different continent for six weeks is the best decision you can make. I loved spending time and getting to know my family, exploring this city and being able to travel to other European cities, since we are so centrally located.
Best places in the world
Talloires and Annecy are the best places in the world. The nature is beyond gorgeous, the food is the best you’ll ever have, and the people have inspired me and taught me so much.
Six weeks of growth
By the end of the six weeks, you will be astonished at how you have grown and by the unique ways in which you have taken advantage of the opportunities here.
French isn’t necessary, but…
While speaking French is not necessary to come here, it is extremely helpful, especially for getting to know the people and the culture around you.
Unique learning experience
Gaining independence in an international setting— this was the most daunting aspect before I left but now I know I can handle it (well)!
Now I understand
Everyone tells you how nice the people are and how stunning the environment is, but you don’t feel it until you’re living it.
Push that zone
Go out of your way to connect with as many people as possible! Don’t allow yourself to settle in your comfort zone, but continuously push yourself to keep getting to know more people and do more things.
Once in a lifetime
It truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to hike in the Alps every week. I made strong friendships that I know will continue at Tufts and keep these wonderful memories alive.
Talloires is a special, quiet place where you can relax and study at the same time, something I haven’t found as easy in Boston. My experience here changed how I felt about schooling and living.
Take advantage of this time to brush up on your French, eat too much cheese, and slow down to the Talloires pace of life.
My new home
It is an amazing opportunity where I learned a lot about France and myself. I think it will be weird going back home, because Talloires has become my home.
New York getaway: Our four Annecy exchange students with other Tufts friends. Félix Deceunik kneels in front, center. In the second row, Sylvain Chalot is second from left in a grey T-shirt; Etienne Chalot wears a striped T-shirt and sunglasses; and Marine Paumard stands next to Etienne.
Editor’s note: With funding from the MacJannet Foundation, each year Les Amis du Prieuré de Talloires provides scholarships to students living around Lake Annecy to spend four weeks attending the English summer program at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Four students were chosen last summer. Excerpts from their accounts (as well as one by their teacher) appear below.
Six MacJannet Fletcher Fellows gathered in December 2017 for the MacJannet Foundation’s annual Fletcher Fellows dinner at Tufts University. From left are: Stefan Tschauko (Austria), Juliette Devillard (Switzerland/U.K.), Mattia Balsiger (Switzerland), Lucia Pantigoso Vargas (Peru), Christina Klotz (Germany), and Charles Bonfils (Switzerland). (Photo by Alan Henrikson.)
Note: Since 1967, an endowment from Donald MacJannet has helped support international studies and graduate exchange programs between the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. This year this program supported ten “MacJannet Fletcher Fellows”; by now the program numbers some 200 alumni. Each fall, the MacJannet Foundation supports an annual dinner at the Fletcher School to honor these Fellows. The dinner held in December 2017 was attended by six of these outstanding students, representing six European countries and a broad range of interests and experiences. Below, three of this year’s new Fellows discuss their hopes and dreams—for themselves as well as the planet.
Editor’s note: The MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, launched in 2009, recognizes exemplary university student civic engagement programs around the world. The Prize is sponsored jointly by the MacJannet Foundation and the Talloires Network, a global association of 379 universities in 77 countries on six continents, all committed to developing student leaders who are actively engaged with society. To date, the Prize has attracted 495 nominations, of which 38 have been awarded first, second, or third place prizes and 19 have received honorable mentions.
In June 2017, instead of awarding additional prizes, the Talloires Network assembled 12 previous prizewinners in Xalapa, Mexico, to spend four days exchanging ideas about how institutions of higher education can best promote social responsibility and human dignity. Support from the MacJannet Foundation covered travel and lodging for these 12 past Prize winners. The following is excerpted from the conference report written by Lorlene Hoyt, executive director of the Talloires Network. – D.R.
By Dan Rottenberg
The day the MacJannets made a ruin sing again
Like Donald and Charlotte MacJannets themselves, the 1,000-year-old Prieuré of Talloires reinvented itself several times before the building and the MacJannets finally discovered each other. It was chartered as a Benedictine abbey in 1018, and for centuries it governed Talloires, first as the seat of the Benedictine prior and after the 14th Century through a long line of lay priors chosen from the region’s aristocratic families. But during the French Revolution, angry mobs ransacked the building, leaving it a ruin for nearly two centuries.
Now fast-forward to the late 1950s and the MacJannet Camps just down the road in Angon, where Donald MacJannet was contemplating his next chapter. As Charlotte later explained, “I wanted something Donald could do after he was 70— something that would be a passion for him.” She found the solution in the ruined Prieuré, which Donald acquired at auction in 1958 for just $10,000.