Wellesley College’s diverse community helps create an accepting and welcoming place for students and staff members from all over the world — including this year’s French Teaching Assistant (TA) Julie Mayans, who has had an overwhelmingly positive experience on campus thus far.
Mayans grew up and completed her undergraduate studies in southern France, and is currently working to obtain her master’s degree in English by the end of this year from Sciences Po Aix. She has always wanted to be an English teacher, so the opportunity to teach at Wellesley this year has been exactly what she has always dreamed of. Prior to working at Wellesley, Mayans gained experience through teaching English to young children in a French elementary school.
Though she greatly enjoyed her time at the elementary school, Mayans has fallen in love with her current job.
“Nothing could be better than working at Wellesley!” she said.
In France, Wellesley College is not on everyone’s radar. But, luckily for Mayans, Sciences Po Aix offers an exchange program with Wellesley. Mayans immediately became interested in the French exchange program and applied for the role.
Since coming to Wellesley, Mayans has become part of a variety of opportunities on campus. To fulfill her role as a TA, Mayans holds office hours three days each week for French students to get help on homework, ask questions about the French department or simply converse in French to brush up on their verbal skills. She loves playing a mediating role between students and faculty and enjoys the personal interactions she gets to share with French students.
Outside of her TA duties, Mayans also assembles an exhibit on the second floor of Founders Hall every other month, focusing on a theme pertinent to the French department. The premise of the exhibit is to educate the Wellesley community about different aspects of French lifestyle, language and culture. This month, the exhibit features French inventions. Through conducting research, Mayans has learned many new things about her own country and its history.
“I was shocked by the amount of things the French had invented! I was so proud with the results of my research,” she said.
A significant component of Mayans’ role on campus is her commitment to the French House. She takes care of residents, and organizes community events and birthday parties for the French House live-ins.
On a typical day, Mayans starts her morning with yoga and gets ready in the French House with her housemates. Then, she begins her office hours — which she wishes more students would take advantage of — before heading to French Table with the other French TA, Anne-Laure Sabathier. After chatting in French with Wellesley students, Mayans goes to a Women’s and Gender Studies course, “Growing Up In A Gendered World.” Mayans loves getting to take new classes and expand her horizons alongside other Wellesley students, which is an opportunity she would not have gotten at home.
“I really love that Wellesley has these types of classes because most French universities don’t offer anything like this,” she said.
After her class, Mayans meets with friends on campus, works on tasks or walks around the lake before grabbing dinner on campus. Following dinner and any last on-campus obligations, Mayans heads back to the French House for the night.
Overall, Mayans loves her role at Wellesley. She gets to work extensively with faculty, staff and students and is amazed by all of the opportunities available to her on campus. She wishes students would participate more in French events. Mayans urges students to come to her office hours and French Table even if it’s just to talk about their plans for the weekend. As Mayans is a TA, she gets to connect with students on a personal level and become friends with the students she is helping.
“I share more in common with Wellesley students than they think! I’d love to talk to them more!” she said.