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"Returning to Folwell Hall was like returning to that chapter of my life when so much was ahead of me. My professors and fellow students taught me to harbor a keen curiosity for history and the arts and incited a passion to shape the future; my French Studies proved central to my formation. I hope for many more opportunities to connect with foreign language alumni."

— Nicole Frank, B.A. French Studies and English, Class of 2002




On Saturday morning, April 25, 174 alumni from GSD, French & Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese came to the beautifully remodeled Folwell Hall to enjoy the company of faculty, staff, and new or old friends. They gathered on the fourth floor for coffee and pastries, voted for the best student photographs from the past year's study abroad experiences, and donned "conversation pins" to facilitate discussions of how their language studies have enriched and informed their lives. Everyone then went to the first floor to participate in three mini-class sessions, choosing from the following seventeen mini-classes taught by a mix of faculty, students, and alumni:

Session A
Teaching Abroad - the Benefits and challenges
Regions of France
Language Learning Outside the Classroom
Finnish Origins: Linguistics % & Genetics
Danger in Francophone Africa
Convivencia in Medieval Iberia

Session B
Saints and Soldiers in Medieval France
The Historic Cultural Phenomenon of the Cuban Rumba
Language Leaning Assumptions
Growing Anti-Semitism in Europe
Divine Decadance: Berlin in the Roaring '20s
U.S. Latino Theater

Session C
25 Years After the Wall
Only in Italy: Events not to be Missed
Food, Energy & Politics in Germany
World Cafe: Contemporary Language Evolution & Impact of New Technologies
Latino Immigration

Comments from some of the alumni about their experience at the reunion:

Cynthia G. Fischer, B.A. 1972, Italian, Lawyer at Schnader Harrison Segal
& Lewis LLP

"I loved the reunion! Especially meeting so many Italian majors as I was the only one when I was majoring in Italian. It was lonely! I particularly enjoyed talking to a young man who is thinking of going to law school. I too became a lawyer and Italian is what got me my first job at an Italian law firm in New York."

Sue Wickham, B.A. 1973 French, Retired Director of Human Resources, Department of Administration, State of Minnesota

"After college much of what you hear is in sound bites. It's exciting to be able to hear what's below the surface on current issues."

Gretchen Walker, B.A. 1979 French, who is now a Reference Librarian at the Minneapolis law firm Dorsey and Whitney

"So energizing to return to Folwell Hall! The 4th floor commons area seems like a great space for enjoying a quiet moment, or the community of others. The programs I attended encompassed 3 languages and cultures. The combined reunion of many language departments provided opportunities to explore and expand knowledge of other cultures. As always, a memorable occasion to re-connect with old friends and to make new acquaintances."

Ablavi Epou, B.A. 2013, French, Political Science, Global Studies, Human Resources Operations Student Service Specialist

"The 2015 CLA Language Alumni was very intriguing. The series of topics to attend, very well, depict the strengths of the CLA Language programs. The three presentations I attended were simply the tip of the iceberg; they showed not only how dedicated the language professors at the University of Minnesota are, but also dedication to their students. My best friend (a U of M alumni, French major like myself) and I felt very much at home. There is no doubt of the connection learning a language can provide for an individual. The number of turn outs to the reunion speak volume. A shout to one of the best Professors I have had at the U of M, Monsieur Bruno Chaouat, c'était un plaisir de vous revoir. Je manquerai pour toujours d'avoir été étudiante dans votre classe. I will also be looking forward to the next Language Alumni Reunion."

Dana Boyle, B.A. 1979, Italian, Human Factors Graduate Student, former V.P. Engagement Life Science Alley

"Integrating alumni, faculty and current students gave the reunion such a vibrant feel. It is clear that the global orientation we represent is increasingly seen as relevant and respected in our dynamically changing world. I greatly appreciated the diversity and quality of the mini-sessions and the chance to meet so many intelligent and interesting participants."


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Charlie Hebdo

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Tutoring Schedules: Spring 2015

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See this post for the French and Italian tutoring calendars.

From Ghettos to Trulli: Italian Neighborhoods in Transition

Italy is the perfect destination to study neighborhoods in transition. From gentrified Roman neighborhoods to ancient beehive homes now used as villas, Italian neighborhoods will fascinate you. Soak up the local character of each neighborhood, talk with the people who live there, study the history and transformations taking place, and reflect on the implications for residents.

Program Leader

This Global Seminar will be led by Kathleen Rider of the Department of French and Italian. Kathleen teaches Italian language and culture at the University of Minnesota and has lived in several different parts of both central and southern Italy. She has done extensive research on Italian history, culture and urban theory and has the unique experience of witnessing the transition of her own childhood neighborhood from multi-generational and working class to young, urban professionals.

Tutoring Schedules: Spring 2015

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See this post for the French and Italian tutoring calendars.

French Major and Minor Declaration Sessions

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Congratulations to Emily!

Word was just received that one of the eighteen students selected to receive the Selmer Birkelo scholarship for 2013-14 is Emily Parrent, who is triple-majoring in Classical Civilization, Anthropology, and French & Italian Studies.

These awards are given to students majoring in fields relating to history, modern languages, classics, or the social or behavioral science.

Event: 5th Annual Italian Film Festival, April 4-7

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The volunteers of the Italian Cultural Center’s 2013 5th Annual Italian Film Festival of Minneapolis/St. Paul are thrilled to announce a lineup of films of extraordinary artistry and quality!

Study Abroad Pizza Extravaganza

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French and Italian Study Abroad Programs Info Session

Are you interested in improving your language skills and learning about another country, all while earning credit toward your degree? If so, please join us to learn about opportunities for students to study in France, Senegal or Italy during the semester or summer. Past participants will join to share their experiences.

Friday March 8, 2013
12:15 - 1:15 p.m., 113 Folwell Hall

Pizza will be provided.

To ensure we have enough pizza, be sure to RSVP!

The Talle Family Scholarship Competition 2013

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Italian Interpreter job

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Translator will be required for casual conversation, service / maintenance, and training of proper operation.

During on-site visit Italian technician will review, repair, and adjust a machine and the translator will be asked to provide dialog to internal engineering, maintenance, and machine operators.


3 days during the week of Feb 11-15

(Travel arrangements are still being finalized)


Approximately 10 hours per day for all three days.

(7am to 5pm)


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