Gabrielle Michel


Ignacio Villar, Assistant Baker's Dozen Editor

An essential component to all language courses taught at Colgate are the language interns. This year’s French intern is Gabrielle Michel from Givry, France. Michel is a graduate of the Universite de Bourgogne in Dijon, graduating with an English Studies Bachelor’s degree. Life at the Universite de Bourgogne is a little bit different from life at Colgate.

“With a student body of over 25,000, college life in Dijon was very different from Colgate as we have to be very independent and grading can also be extremely harsh,” Michel said.

Although Michel majored in English studies, her passion for language isn’t limited to English. In Europe, learning English in school is mandatory, as well as a third foreign language.  Michel is trilingual; she speaks French, English and Spanish. In addition to those languages, Michel can also read Italian, Catalan, Portuguese and understands some basic Korean and Japanese.

“I have always been fascinated by how languages can encapsulate a culture’s mindset and learning new languages is one of my favorite hobbies, [but is] unfortunately hindered by my terrible laziness,” Michel said.

Due to Michel’s impressive knowledge of languages, she was unsurprisingly offered the opportunity to teach French in seven different institutions across the United States. Michel ended up choosing Colgate because of its similarity to her hometown of Givry and Colgate’s reputation for being one of the best liberal arts universities in the country.

“I’ve always lived in Givry, a tiny winegrowing village located in picturesque Burgundy…I’m a country bumpkin to the bone,” Michel said.

Living away from home can feel isolating at times, especially when your home is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.  Fortunately for Michel, she has the other language interns here with her.

“I was able to bond with the other interns very quickly and they are now very much like my family away from home. We’ve made lifelong memories and plan to travel together,” Michel said.

Michel is making full use of her time here at Colgate, attending as many campus events as possible.  While Michel’s job as the French intern is a considerable time commitment, Michel’s day-to-day duties still leave plenty of time to immerse herself into Colgate.

“Apart from my tutoring duties and my position as French Club officer I try to take advantage of the different events organized on campus as much as possible. I’m also taking [Professor Ryan] Hall’s class on American Indian History which has proved a fascinating addition to my knowledge of American history,” Michel said.

After Colgate, Michel wants to go back to school to get her master’s degree, as well as take part in another exchange program.

“I plan on applying to a master’s degree back home and will hopefully go on an exchange program abroad again, possibly in Asia. I would also love to take advantage of the partnership between my home university and Brown to teach there upon the completion of my master’s degree,” Michel said.