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.
Last summer’s MacJannet Scholars reflected on their experiences. Excerpts of their comments are below.
It’s the environment
This program is what you make of it in truly every sense. I cannot stress enough how amazing this environment is and how conducive it has proven to be to learning, exploring, and falling in love with a new culture and experience.
Growth amid difficulty
I think that Tufts in Talloires is one of the best things I have ever done. After a difficult year at Tufts, coming to Talloires has helped me grow and change so much. I have made so many connections with students, teachers, and faculty members, and I know that I have found some of my best friends for life. I am so beyond grateful and happy that I decided to come on this unique, once in a lifetime experience.
This experience has been the best thing I’ve done at Tufts. I felt constantly welcome and supported during my time here and felt as if the staff did a great job fostering an amazing community.
Life’s most important lesson
This place taught me to appreciate all facets of life (talk to new people, eat all the cheese, run with the cows). The program reinvigorated in me an interest to excel academically, to care about doing well, to want to succeed because I love what I’m doing. From now on, I’m determined to hold on to the most important lesson I learned here: Life is to be enjoyed. Do all the things or nothing, with friends or flying solo— it doesn’t really matter. Derive excitement from the details of the experience.
Location, location, location
Talloires is the best thing Tufts has to offer. These six weeks were some of the best of my life. I had no idea how much I’d love France. I just know I’m going to come back.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to study in a special place with special people. I learned so much and really feel like I made many new friends going into my next semester at Tufts.
Community with professors
I would tell future students that Tufts in Talloires is an amazing and life-changing experience that will teach you more about yourself, the world, and other Tufts students in the best possible way. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been, and I know that I will stay friends with the friends I made here in just six weeks for a long time. The classes here are unlike any other class you’ll take, and the community that is fostered between students and professors is wonderful.
I had an incredible experience here. It feels and looks like a hidden paradise; it’s like living in a movie.
Talloires really changed my life. I was given a chance to explore the richness of the French culture including the language, food, religion, politics, water, etc. These are experiences that none wants to miss. They are indeed indispensable.
Pushed beyond my comfort zone
It’s been an experience unlike any other I’ve ever had,one during which I learned so much about not only culture and life, but about myself. Being here has pushed me out of every comfort zone I had before arriving and helped me better understand myself as a person.
What I learned at dinner
I was placed with a host family that spoke no English. Despite lots of frustrating miscommunications, there was one time every day where I felt incredibly connected to my gracious hosts and their community, regardless of the ever-present language barrier: the dinner table. My host parents lived quite modestly and did not cook elaborate meals, but that did not matter–every ingredient had a story, and every dinner lasted several hours. At the end of our meal every night, my host mom would bring out a plate of local cheeses. Before we were able to eat them, we learned about their stories. My host dad would explain the origin and taste of each cheese.
For example, he would explain how our Tomme des Bauges came from the mountain outside the dining room window. He also taught me how to differentiate between a summer Beaufort and a winter Beaufort, as they taste different based on what the cows graze on during that season. I was exposed to the true meaning of terroir at this tiny dinner table. I learned so much about how communities are tied to their local foods and how slight changes in climate can change their appeal. This experience made me reevaluate what and how I eat, because, more often than not, I cannot say where my food came from.
New best friends
I only knew a couple of people going in, and I was pretty nervous about making friends. However, my nerves faded quickly, because it wasn’t too difficult to find my “people.” Three weeks in, and I felt like I had already made new best friends. I think it is really amazing that this program can bring people together in such a short amount of time.