I remember vividly my first few days when I arrived in Syracuse, and the positive impact that the Teaching Mentors’ welcome team had on my experience. They were such a close-knit group, but at the same time a very inclusive one. Their diversity and their common dedication was to be representative of this whole new campus I was settling in. They gave me confidence, and I have made friendships that have uplifted me through this journey. From the first day, I was inspired by this community, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a part of this team the following year. I want new coming students to feel the same way I felt—like I belonged, like I was part of a supportive environment.
It can be intimidating to settle in a new city or country, but my past experiences helped me adapt easily and made me want to guide others. The first time I came to the U.S. was in 2013, when I was a Teaching Assistant for a year at a small Liberal Arts school in Michigan—Kalamazoo College. This first experience teaching and being exposed to a multicultural environment made me grow personally and professionally. I came back to France and completed an MA in American Studies and Anglophone Literature while tutoring in French, English, and Spanish. I have been committed to social justice through my studies of oral and minority literatures up to this day with my second MA at SU in French. Teaching again and working as part of a team has reinforced my skills and my commitment to this school. Being myself from overseas and speaking Spanish fluently has also helped me relate to graduate students from all backgrounds.
This time we live in can be confusing and difficult to navigate for students from across the world. With both my practical and theoretical knowledge of U.S. culture, I can help international students better understand concepts like identity and diversity. My career goals include getting a PhD and becoming a university professor. I want to promote breadth of perspectives on cultures through the study of literatures and languages. All of my energy and passion goes to sharing and connecting with people from different cultures. In this divisive climate, it is now more important than ever to reach out to new international students and make them feel welcome here. I understand it has taken many mentors for me to be who I am today, and I want in turn to be a TM to give back to this community. I believe a good mentor is someone who walks others out of their comfort zones, and in doing so, helps them find a new one. Thanks to the people I have met, Syracuse has truly been a home away from home. It is now time for me to perpetuate this feeling for the coming students from around the world.
Depicted: Teaching Mentor T. J. West and several of the new Teaching Assistants of the 2016 Graduate Orientation – At the Inn Complete, in August 2016, at the Barbecue event.
Source: My own picture. One of my favorite memories from orientation.