Language House French Cluster

French Cluster Alumni

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Messages from French Cluster Alumni


Tyler Crowe
(French Cluster, graduated 2014)

Tyler Crowe is a Manager of IP, International at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). In this role, he advocates for GIPC member companies' interests internationally as well as help inform the broader Chamber's intellectual property agenda. Before coming to the U.S. Chamber, Tyler spent nearly four years with the Global Policy team at the Motion Picture Association, where he consulted with World Bank researchers on market access barriers in audiovisual services trade, briefed U.S. government officials on global IP trends, and traveled through China to assess commercial opportunities in that country's theatrical film market. He started his career interning in the trade and investment section at the Embassy of Brazil in Washington. Originally from Ellicott City, Maryland, he holds a BA in Chinese and a certificate in international agriculture and natural resources from the University of Maryland-College Park. He speaks Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese. (08-23-19)



(French Cluster, graduated 2008)

I have been teaching in Fuzhou, China for the past year and it has been absolutely amazing. I really love china! I have met so many fascinating people and had so many crazy experiences I couldn't even begin to list them all. I think by far the coolest part was learning erhu (Chinese violin), as well as how to play leaf (that's right, a leaf from a tree. I have learned how to blow on a leaf in the right way to create melodies-it's a traditional folk art), and even a little kong fu. I learned all of this from one teacher who, along with his family and circle of friends, sort of adopted me, even though none of them speak English. Right now I've left Fuzhou and have another short-term teaching job in a small town near Shanghai. After I finish this job I plan to go traveling in China and Asia for about 3 months, after which I'll have to go back to the U.S. at least for a little while because my family members are starting to threaten that if I don't come back soon, they'll have to come over and get me. I don't know if I'll be able to sit still for long once I get back, though. I've been working abroad for a full two years now, first in France and now in China, and I've become so used to the constant excitement and stimulation that I'm afraid I'll find the States terribly boring. That's alright, though. There always seems to be another adventure right around the corner. (07-20-10)



Goutham Ganesan
(French Cluster, graduated 2008)

Goutham Ganesan: I graduated in spring of 2008, and got married in July. After a brief but joyful summer break, I began work in the M.D./Ph.D program at UC Irvine. I have been able to find a couple of classmates who speak French well enough to converse, but I will never be able to replace the inimitable opportunity of living in the language house.




Moussa Traore 

(Mentor, French Cluster, graduated 2007)

I relocated to Washington D.C. at the beginning of Spring2011; as this is my final semester of law school, I am participating in an experiential learning program hosted by my school (Penn State Law). I am currently interning at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative's Africa Division. Our unit promotes rule of law globally by offering technical legal assistance to transitional and developing countries.  I am enjoying the internship and it is likely that I will be extended a permanent position upon graduation. As the LH Program itself makes evident, no form of education can be more effective than experiential learning; in such a tough legal job market, it will not come as a surprise that many of my classmates will have trouble finding employment, but I am fortunate to be in a position where my current internship has gotten my foot through the door. (2-19-11)

Moussa Traoré graduated in 2007 with a double-major in Government and Politics and French Language and Literature. He subsequently took a position as the Program Coordinator of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland in 2007. He started his JD at Penn State Dickinson School of Law in Fall 2008; Moussa aspires to become an international corporate/ business lawyer, in the pursuit of safeguarding the rights and interests of developing business, in the developing world.




Alyssa Webster 
(French Cluster, graduated 2006)

I spent 4 months in France in January-May, 2007 working with a church and university students in the Paris/Versailles suburbs. It was great time to work with the French people, practice my French, and help students practice English. In August, I began a job at Catholic Network of Volunteer Service, located in Takoma Park. We network volunteer organizations that work in all 50 states, DC, and about 100 around the world. While my chances to use French are minimal, I am very much enjoying the work and hope to use my experiences to find a position in the French-speaking world someday! I got married in September, 2007, and my husband Matt and I are living in Annapolis. I hope everyone in the LH is doing well! (2-22-08)


Nick Rudd 

(Taich Club Chair, French Cluster, graduated 2006)

I really enjoyed living in the Language House, thanks for inviting me to apply to the French cluster and for teaching me T'ai Chi. I'm currently teaching in Le Mans, France - about 1 hour west of Paris. There are always some kids who have more energy and need more attention from their peers, so I have to keep a close eye on them and grab their attention when they forget what they are doing. I found that a good balance is to really be a kid myself. Instead of trying to be very serious I am frequently very silly. The kids like this because it shows them I am more than a teacher, I am also a person who can be funny. SO when I do have to get very loud and angry, they are shocked and they behave right away. I don't have a lot of money to save, but I am enjoying the food here. 3 times a week a market comes to town and I always go to get fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and bread. This is definitely one of the best parts of living in France. Most of my friends in Le Mans are also English teachers. I know some spanish teachers and french people too. I should be back in the U.S. in late july. I still don't know if i'll teach another year in France. The money isn't very great, but maybe I can deal with that. I even teach some lessons on the side - about 3 per week. I hope everything is going well! Thanks for everything, Nick


Christine Vest
(French Cluster, graduated 2003)

Christine Vest: The Language House was the cornerstone of my education at UMCP, without which I likely would not have stayed at the school. It provided an environment in which I could study with other seriously minded students, who also shared my interest in language. My grades vastly improved once I moved into the language house, as well as my command of the French language thanks to speaking on a daily basis. Combined with the former Business, Cultures and Languages (BCL) program, my interest in international affairs came to the forefront -- so much so that I decided to do an internship at the French Embassy while in school full time. I really felt motivated to jump start a career with language. I have been successful at pursuing a career in the international business arena, as I am now employed at the Quebec Government Office in downtown Washington, DC as Assistant to the Director. I will always be thankful for my unforgetable experience at the Language House, an invaluable program which I hope continues for many years to come.



Claudia Viens
(French Cluster, graduated 2003)

After graduating I went to medical school at the University of Maryland and I'm currently an anesthesiologist working at the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada. I actually work in a French-speaking hospital. My husband Paul and I have two little girls ages 3 and 9months, they keep us pretty busy.



Sarah Long

(French Cluster, Graduated 2009)

I’ve been reading your regular alumni newsletters, and I don’t believe I’ve shared any updates since 2010 or so. At the time, I was working for an association of microfinance NGOs, The SEEP Network, and making good use of my French through various projects with SEEP’s members in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, which included a conference and series of site visits in Mali in July 2010. In 2011, I moved to London to pursue a Master’s degree in Global Politics at the London School of Economics, which I completed in 2012. Upon graduating, I began working at the World Justice Project and coincidentally worked for a time with another Language House alum from the Spanish cluster, Beth Davis. I continue to use my French for communications with WJP’s partners and grantees in Tunisia and Senegal, and traveled to Dakar in March 2015. In personal news, in October 2013 I married my then-boyfriend of 10 years and fellow UMD alum, Daniel Lopez, whom some of my Language House roommates may remember. We’re currently living in Chevy Chase MD with our “fur baby” Nena, who just so happens to be a French bulldog, though I’m not sure if I’ve managed to pass along any of my French skills to her J.