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Modern Languages and Literatures

Sandra de la Riva ’15

“Studying abroad in Paris changed my life. Prior to Paris, my plan was to move to South America, where my family lives, and start a career there. However, my plan changed after France. At first, I did not enjoy Paris, but after a few months I realized that France/Europe was where I wanted to live. I knew that in Europe the opportunities to utilize my expertise in international relations would be limitless.”

How did you choose your area of study?

Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with languages and the cultures tied to languages. During secondary school, I began studying French and continued through college. At Lake Forest College, I had the opportunity to major in French and International Relations as well as study abroad in Paris. These opportunities opened my eyes to the endless possibilities to use my acquired knowledge as well as further growing my passion for languages and cultures.

When studying abroad in France, I was able to uncover my passion for the French language and European culture. Due to this, I have worked in France multiple times and will be seeking my master’s degree in Europe. After my Masters, my hope is to work in Europe for an international organization.

What did you think of the faculty?

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, especially Professor Hahn, and Off-Campus Programs pushed me to always to do better and excel in anything I pursued. This departments and office strongly encouraged me to study abroad and reach for opportunities that seemed unattainable. Once abroad, I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone which ultimately allowed me to gain more confidence in myself and my abilities. When I graduated, I was not the same transfer student from two years prior. I knew what I was capable of, and I was no longer afraid of taking on challenges. Had it not been for the MLL department and Off Campus Programs, I would not be applying myself to opportunities and challenges in the workforce today.

More information to share?

From 2016 to 2017, I had the opportunity to volunteer for a non-profit organization in Chincha, Peru. There, I taught extracurricular activities, helped the children of the town with their studies, and assisted the director with any translation or administrative work needed. This experience was one of the most rewarding opportunities I’ve had since graduation, and my studies completed at Lake Forest College helped me to fully taken advantage of it.