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   Date: 1/7/11 Bookmark and Share

A Global Perspective

Global Studies profiles of AMS students:

Lise Smout, of Leuven, Belgium

Andrea Clausen, of Hamburg, Germany

Anne-Catherine Berrut-Marechaud, of Geneva, Switzerland

The Global Stride program allows six first-year STRIDE fellows to apply their stipends toward study-abroad costs or intensive language programs. As part of the Global Stride scholarship, the fellows interviewed and profiled international students in the college’s graduate program in American Studies, to help familiarize them with people who have made cultural transitions.

The Gate will publish their profiles in an occasional series.

An Interview with AMS student Julie Ramage, of Paris, France

By Kim Fong '14, Global Stride Fellow

Julie Ramage GR, American Studies Diploma program

Free spirit and rebel are the perfect words to describe Julie Ramage. She might try to deny that description, and she can come off as slightly shy, though that’s likely the result of an unfamiliarity with American ways. But during my interview with her and our discussions about art and her studies at Smith, her outgoing personality shone through with a refreshing and unexpected outlook. She has one of the most unique pioneer spirits I have encountered.

Before meeting her, I was intrigued about Julie because we both had interest in art. Her decision to come to Smith is particularly interesting. Julie is an aspiring artist, and in the art world—the center of which, she considers, is New York City—one needs to speak English, she says.

She came to Smith thinking she would only take art and English classes, but was required to take an American studies class for her scholarship—much to her initial dislike. She soon realized, however, that she could not live in the United States without understanding American culture, and has since embraced her American Society and Culture class.

She is impressed with the respectful relationships among students and professors, she says—like “collaboration” in which professors engage in discussion with their students as opposed to “lecturing down” to them. And she was surprised by one common behavior among Smith students: everyone does his or her homework.

Discussing Julie’s favorite artists, as well as those she dislikes, helped me understand her artistic perspective. After breaking her leg while dancing, Julie first came to love the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who similarly turned to paining following an accident. Kahlo painted numerous self-portraits that represented her deep emotions rather than her physical self. Originally working with paint, Julie today creates art with digitally edited photography, focusing on the body, nature and religion.

Also, she respects and really likes Pablo Picasso’s large range of work. But, she says, Picasso is too present in France. France’s art galleries are very conservative and tend to showcase famous and established artists’ work, she says.

Among her dislikes is the French Impressionist Claude Monet. When Julie looks at his work, “I do not feel anything,” she says. She appreciates artists whose works actively engage viewers. Emotions and ambiguity play a strong role in influencing and provoking her perspective.

After Smith, Julie hopes to work as an artist, possibly teaching. She may travel to Brazil with her fiancé, who has a job opportunity there.

For her capstone project at Smith, Julie is planning an exhibition of her work inspired by the American poet and painter Stan Rice, whose poems have a strange atmosphere that intrigues her. Especially appealing to Julie is the story about Stan Rice, who was the husband of Ann Rice and advised his wife to become a writer, a profession Julie had aspired to for a time.

It’s advice she takes to heart.

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