Photo courtesy of Abby Garmon (C’19)
By Suzanne Herrin
Abby Garmon (C’19) is a French major currently studying abroad in Paris as part of Sewanee’s Semester in Paris program.
Like many students, Garmon came into Sewanee not knowing exactly which subject she wanted to focus on. “I originally took French to fulfill my general education requirement, but I really enjoyed Professor [Laurie] Ramsey’s class, and she really encouraged me. I continued to take classes, and when it was time to choose a major, I decided that I wanted to do French,” said Garmon.
There are only four tenured professors in the French department. When asked which one she prefers, she answered, “They’re all so great, I can’t choose!”
One of the many benefits of a French major is the range of opportunities to use the language in one of the many French-speaking countries. Garmon wants to use French in her future career and explained, “Hopefully after I graduate from Sewanee, I’ll have the opportunity to use French. I think it would be really cool to live in France for a few years, either studying or working.”
Abby eagerly took advantage of the convenient study abroad program “Semester in Paris” to pursue her passion for the French language. “I recognized that this amazing opportunity to study in France is a once in a lifetime experience. I wanted to be immersed in the culture, language, and art of Paris,” said Garmon.
French professor Don Rung leads the trip to Paris, where the students take classes, trips to other parts of France, and are immersed in the rich culture. Garmon’s favorite things about France so far have been “going to the soccer game, the zoo, and all the museums.”
Before Garmon went to Paris, she found the French House to be a comforting and inspirational place to eat, talk, and learn about everything French. Garmon explained, “I love the events at the French house! They’re always really fun, and everyone is welcome.”
Garmon’s advice to those considering the French major is to feel comfortable pursuing the major no matter what level of French they have. “Don’t feel intimidated if you’re in one of the beginner levels! My first class was French 104, and I knew almost nothing. All of the French professors are really encouraging, and they really want you to succeed!”