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Modern Languages and Literatures

Lisa Pattavina ’15

Lisa currently works as Bilingual Sourcer at Seven Step RPO: Recruitment Process Outsourcing. Previously, she worked for the Consulate General of France and the Center for Educational Documentation in Boston. 


How did you choose your area of study?

I knew early on that I wanted to continue to study languages; I was introduced to Spanish in Grade 6 and picked up French in Grade 10. However, I was not sure how to put my linguistic skills to practical use when a high school advisor suggested International Relations as a way to combine my affinity for foreign dialects and global affairs. In my sophomore year at Lake Forest College, my college advisors affirmed that International Relations and French Language & Literature seemed like the right paths for me.


What did you think of the faculty?

I cannot emphasize how supportive the Modern Languages and Literatures Department is. Every faculty and staff member makes Lake Forest College student success a priority. As I was nearing graduation, my advisor in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department worked extensively with me to make sure that I was on track and fulfilled all my requirements. Since graduation, the most influential attribute in my employment success has been my French and Spanish abilities, as employers greatly value having multilingual communicators.

More information to share?

Upon first arriving in France for Lake Forest College’s Paris Program, I lost a lot of confidence in my linguistic ability. I realized that I could have all the classroom training in the world, but I still needed that immersion factor to solidify my ability to converse with native speakers. A few months in, when I found everything “clicked” and that I was conversing comfortably in French, I understood that foreign languages truly were my calling. When I arrived in Granada, Spain, the following year, I knew exactly what linguistic challenges to expect, and maintained my certainty that I wanted to continue improving my French and Spanish for practical use.

Lake Forest College’s Modern Languages and Literatures Department and the Paris & Granada program leaders were extremely dedicated to their students’ success both abroad and post graduation. They all worked hard not only to help me land internships in each program, but to find assignments that were both fitting and fulfilling. I cannot count the times that a recruiter has taken a look at my international internships on my résumé and expressed how impressed they were with these work experiences abroad. I would not have been able to seize those opportunities without the dedication of the Lake Forest College Paris and Granada programs.

Never underestimate the importance of the ability to communicate in other languages! Not only are recruiters extremely impressed by those who can list multiple language proficiencies on their résumé, speakers of other languages also grant themselves access to entire other nations of employment opportunities.

Your internship(s) will most certainly prepare you with the basic administrative and interpersonal skills that you will need: organization, attention to detail, critical thinking and independent decision-making. 

Additionally, keep in mind that most companies and organizations will train you with the necessary job-specific skills you need. Do not let the complexity of a job description discourage you, as long as you meet the qualifications of that position!

I am still evaluating life after graduation. It feels like it happened so recently! What is most rewarding is knowing that I am successful because of my college education, which I could not have achieved without all the resources at Lake Forest College. It is a gratifying experience to actively use the knowledge I acquired there; a recent position applied both international relations, since I worked with foreign educational systems, and my French and Spanish fluency, as I communicated with clients in those languages on a daily basis.