The Global Stride program
allows 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.
Zoë Falk '14, Global Stride Fellow
Anne-Catherine Berrut-Marechaud GR
a graduate student in the American Studies Diploma Program,
comes from a place vastly different from Smith. She studied
at the University of Geneva (in the French-speaking part
of Switzerland) before coming to Smith, her first trip to
the United States. However, despite going to a very different
school and living in a different environment, she is getting
along well at Smith.
Coming to Smith seemed like
the natural thing to do for Anne-Catherine. She knew she
wanted to study in a foreign country, and although she had
traveled in Europe before, she had not had the chance to
visit other continents very often. America was the farthest
away from the “old traditions” that
she was used to in Switzerland. She had studied English literature
in Geneva, so America seemed like the ideal place to go.
Also, she says, “a teacher encouraged
me to go to Smith because she had done so about 15 years
Going to a women’s college is “very different,” she says.
There aren’t any all-women’s
colleges where she is from, “but it was actually something
that I wanted to try, and I quite like it.” Being at Smith
helps her focus on her studies, she adds.
At the University
of Geneva she fell in love with French and English literature,
which she plans to continue investigating at Smith. But,
she says, “there was
an ancient tradition of ex-cathedra, which means that the
teacher speaks from the chair… you had absolutely no possibility
to interact with the teacher and that results in a relationship
with the teachers that is very distant.” At Smith
teachers are more approachable and students are encouraged to interact in class, which was something Anne-Catherine
was looking for in a school.
Another aspect of the Smith
experience that is different from the University of Geneva
is the campus life. The University of Geneva lacks a campus
aspect, and Anne-Catherine lived by herself. “Geneva University
is in the city,” she describes, “and that
means that you can be really alone, whereas on campus [at
Smith] it is nice because you are always encircled by people
and you are never alone. That is one of the biggest changes
and something that I really wanted to experience.”
In addition to being an enthusiastic
scholar and dedicated student, Anne-Catherine is also an
accomplished violinist. She continues to study the violin
at Smith and is even considering a career in music. At Smith,
Anne-Catherine has embarked on a bright future. She is at
a school where she is encouraged to learn by professors who
take an interest in her, and she is able to practice her
violin. She is being prepared for her later music and literature
studies either in Switzerland or abroad, and getting ready
for the journey that she has just begun.