The Tufts in Talloires summer study abroad program resumed its momentum this summer after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From May 17 to July 1, various Tufts faculty members and approximately 70 students returned to Tufts’ beloved European Center in Talloires, France, and spent six weeks learning, collaborating and connecting with the local community.
In an interview with The Daily, Tufts European Center Director Gabriella Goldstein explained the history and legacy of the program and the campus. The main building on the Tufts European Center campus is the Priory, a monastery dating back to 1018, which was acquired by Tufts alumnus Donald MacJannet, who gifted it to the Tufts community in 1978.
“Having seen the First World War and… the Second World War, [MacJannet wanted] a place where people are going to come together and have important conversations, where they are going to exchange ideas…and feel a sense of global citizenship, so that there is peace,” Goldstein said. “And so that’s kind of our legacy.”
At Talloires, students can take two courses for college credit. Classes are taught by Tufts faculty, and course options span several different disciplines, depending on the programs in the program. official site.
In explaining the program’s curriculum, Goldstein pointed out that the nine course options have an educational connection to Talloires.
“Any course we offer here has to show a connection to this place. Not Talloires specifically, but there has to be a reason why it’s going to be taught here,” Goldstein said.
One of the courses offered this summer was The French Enlightenment: Art and Political Thought, co-taught by Vickie Sullivan, professor in the Department of Political Science, and Andrew McClellan, professor in the Department of Art and Political History. architecture.
Sullivan explained that while focusing on teaching the thought of Montesquieu and Rousseau throughout the course, McClellan taught the trajectory of art history in the 18th century.
Sullivan reflected on her experience co-teaching with McClellan this summer.
“I really enjoyed learning from [Professor McClellan]. I know him as a colleague…but I didn’t know him as a teacher,” she said. “It was great because I felt like a student when he was teaching.”
Sullivan also spoke to The Daily about some of the precautions students and faculty have taken, in light of the presence of COVID-19. She said they wore masks as a courtesy for the first week because people were traveling from different places.
“That being said, people got COVID but the cases were mild,” Sullivan said.
Once the students acclimated to the campus, Sullivan noticed that the students were enthusiastic about the intellectual and social engagement at Talloires.
“The students that were there that year were really kind of a COVID generation and they had been so deprived. … They just threw themselves into everything and just had a blast,” Sullivan said. “This year, the room was packed, … you couldn’t keep the students away. It was anything, any kind of intellectual engagement that they were really excited about.
Another course offered in Talloires was Animation in the Alps, taught by Joel Frenzer, professor of media arts practice at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. For his course, students documented their immersion experience in Talloires through animation, Frenzer explained.
Frenzer added that his class had the opportunity to attend the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the largest international animation festival in the world, and for their final, the 12 students shared their short films. animation with the entire Tufts in Talloires program.
“We [had] a screen and a projector and they had never really seen their work with an audience like this before,” Frenzer said. “[A lot of the films were] personal, they become vulnerable, real and honest. And there’s an emotional transformation that happens watching all of their work that you can feel with the audience. … They got a standing ovation and they were so proud.
Frenzer further noted that the Tufts in Talloires program allowed him to get to know his students better and to make friends with other Tufts faculty members on the Medford/Somerville campus whom he would not have met otherwise. at SMFA.
“The program is excellent because of the links with other teachers. … All these faculties that I would never meet, we are in the same little French village for six weeks together, and we go out to eat together, and we talk and we know each other’s families,” Frenzer said.
Outside of the classroom, students and faculty had the opportunity to explore the local community and connect with each other, Goldstein added.
“I think the community part is important. So we have a field day of the games we do. …. We go on hikes. We invite all children from the community to come here. … We did an afternoon of watercolor painting,” Goldstein said. “So as much as possible, try to… [have] facilitated activities that will help people connect with each other and feel more comfortable with us.
Students and faculty at Tufts in Talloires not only interact and explore local communities as outsiders, but also live with them throughout the program. An integral part of the Tufts in Talloires program is that students must live with a host family in Talloires or Annecy, and they have the option of having a Tufts roommate.
Camille Smokelin, a sophomore who attended Tufts in Talloires this summer, shared that she lives alone with an older French woman, which allowed her to practice her French skills and learn about French culture.
She also told Le Quotidien her typical day in Talloires, which included spending an average of three hours in class at the Priory and the rest of the day out and about.
“I would go to class and…after that you would just go to the beach and continue to hang out with people outside of the classroom,” Smokelin said. “I felt like that was the most special part of it all, that you got to, number one, be in such a beautiful place that encouraged community in that way, but also see your peers as students and also as friends, so continuously, seamlessly within a day.
If students want to participate in the Talloires program and, by extension, summer abroad programs through Tufts, they should apply early, research scholarship opportunities and contact the Tufts European Center, junior Lucy Millman explained.
Reflecting on his time at Talloires, Millman noted that while the program has its distinctive advantages, accessibility and affordability remains an issue in his view.
“Everyone I’ve met are some of the sweetest and most wonderful people I’ve ever met. The area is beautiful. It’s been some of the happiest and most beautiful six weeks of my entire life. life,” Millman said. “I just hope it gets the funding it needs to continue to be more accessible, because I think the only thing that would make this program better is if everyone on this campus had the opportunity to participate.”
After two years of upheaval amid the pandemic, the return of students and faculty to Talloires this summer has rekindled a flame of excitement and appreciation, both inside and outside the walls of the Priory, which will continue to light up and grow as the future unfolds.