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Department of Romance Studies

The Department of Romance Studies is a diverse, plurilingual academic unit that engages in research and the study of French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

French

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Italian

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Portuguese

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Spanish

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Recent News

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Study Abroad

The Department of Romance Studies strongly encourages all of its students, and especially its majors and minors, to participate in a study abroad experience. Studying in another country is a challenging, life-changing, and never-forgotten experience.

Important Dates and Events

Feb 22
Mar 22
Apr 19

Looking for Advising?

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Dorothea Heitsch
French Undergraduate Advisor
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Amy Chambless
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Italian Language Instruction, Italian Undergraduate Advisor
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Richard Vernon
Director of Portuguese Language Instruction, Portuguese Undergraduate Advisor
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Ellen Welch
Advisor for French Graduate Studies
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Abel Muñoz-Hermoso
Spanish Study Abroad Advisor
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Jo Lindquist
Spanish Study Abroad Advisor
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Juan Carlos González Espitia
Advisor for Spanish Graduate Studies
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Serenella Iovino
Advisor for Italian Graduate Studies

What Our Current Students And Alumni Say

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Esther Son
Spanish
Current Undergraduate Student
As a student in STEM at UNC, I am used to large lectures in which my individual voice often feels lost. On the other hand, in my smaller, discussion-based Spanish classes, I have always felt that my ideas/opinions are recognized. I have gotten to know my Spanish professors personally, some of whom have taken significant time to support me through various endeavors and independent project developments. I am particularly thankful for Dr. Helene de Fays, who has provided valuable career, academic, and personal advice and mentorship throughout all four-years at UNC.
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Laura Wilder
Italian
Undergraduate Alum
Upon entering UNC, I had no idea how ROMS, particularly Italian, would shape my college career and where I am today. A semester is all it took for me to fall in love with the Italian language and culture and to decide to study abroad twice in Florence and Bologna, pick up the Italian major, and earn the UNC Robinson Honors Fellowship to research lace in Burano. The experiences I had through ROMS helped me reach my full potential and led me to pursue work in the study abroad field with the goal of one day working in Italy as a program coordinator. I just started a job as the Resident Director of the University of Portland’s Salzburg Center and love helping other students dream big abroad!
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Regan Curtis
Spanish
Current Undergraduate Student
As a senior Hispanic Literatures and Cultures major, I have spent the last four years taking ROMS classes in Dey Hall. My favorite aspect of this department is the faculty; each professor is clearly passionate about their work and students. The past three years I have been working with Dr. Hélène de Fays, my research adviser, to study reproductive health in Guatemala. I even got to work in Antigua, Guatemala this summer! I also did a smaller research project that involved a close reading of “La Bastarda” by Trifonia Melibea Obono. From research to taking classes in Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese, I love the rich variety of opportunities that this department offers.
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Oscar Lasserra
Spanish
Current Undergraduate Student
The Romance Studies Department has been my “home away from home.” Coming from Miami as a transfer student, I never thought of hearing Spanish so frequently at UNC. However, this department, the faculty, and the students made this transition one of ease. The Romance Studies Department is a safe place for me; a place where I feel welcomed, valued, and proud of being a native Spanish speaker. I am grateful for the courses and opportunities that this department has giving me as a Hispanic Literature and Culture major.
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Brenna Kuder
Spanish
Undergraduate Alum
ROMS helped me to unlock some amazing opportunities in my undergraduate career. One of the professors helped me study abroad in Ecuador, where I gained a deeper understanding of the language. I want to go into agriculture, and with the skills that I was taught in my many Spanish classes, I was able to tour large flower farms while abroad and understand the intricacies of their day-to-day operations. That knowledge has already helped me in my farming jobs at home, as well as given me the chance to work beyond the U.S. I am excited to see where my Spanish minor takes me, and I am grateful to the grammar, vocabulary, and culture that I studied during my time with ROMS.
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Hannah Rayala
Spanish
Undergraduate Alum
I started my Spanish for the Medical Professions minor during my sophomore year of undergrad realizing that I needed a break from my many science classes. I found that and so much more with my minor in the ROMS department. I’ve enjoyed every Spanish class I’ve taken, especially SPAN 261 and 321 with Profesora Hélène de Fays. In particular, I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in casual Spanish conversations with my classmates and investigate topics of interest in Latin America. Overall, it has given me a balanced and well-rounded outlook on my chosen career path and made me realize the importance of human connection and communication, a consideration I will carry into my medical career.
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Abby Seitz
Italian
Undergraduate Alum
The Italian Department goes above and beyond in their dedication to teaching and supporting students. Dr. Chambless pours her all into teaching. She brings an unmatched energy, passion, and dedication with her to class every day. Despite struggling at times, I always felt supported and encouraged. When I felt my progress was lagging, she would make time to help me outside of the classroom. This type of support carried on throughout my journey with Italian, as my professors continued to spend hours of their time working with me and supporting me. The dedication and willingness of the Italian professors to help me learn is what motivated me to pursue a major in Italian.
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Aditi Kharod
French
Undergrad Alum
I had an amazing experience taking French classes in this department. All the faculty are so helpful and kind, while pushing students to measurably improve their language skills. I was successfully able to live and study in Geneva, Switzerland for three months during my junior year with the skills I was taught at UNC from the ROMS faculty, and I’m currently a graduate student who will study at Sciences Po Grenoble for the next two semesters taking advanced courses in both English and French. This would not have been possible without the UNC French department and its incredible faculty, including Dr. Dorothea Heitsch, Dr. Nina Furry, Dr. Jessica Tanner, and especially Dr. Valérie Pruvost.
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William Thomason
Spanish
Undergrad Alumni
Because of the knowledge and experience I gained from my Spanish classes at UNC, I am able to comfortably work with Spanish-speaking youth in New York City and abroad. With a broad knowledge of the history and culture of Spanish-speaking countries, along with Spanish communication skills I learned throughout my time at UNC, I lead culturally responsive arts workshops with confidence. My work in the international non-profit sector has been enhanced because of the abilities that I sharpened through my experience in the UNC Department of Romance Studies.
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Katelyn Howard
Spanish
Current Graduate Student
Above all, I am wholly indebted to the ROMS (Spanish) faculty for their exceptional mentorship, both academically and personally. As a first generation graduate student, I needed a lot of support; my Dissertation Director, the Director of Spanish Language Instruction, and my Spanish Course Coordinators always went above and beyond to help me succeed. They have significantly shaped me as a scholar, a Spanish instructor, and as an individual in general, and I strive to mentor my students (current and future) in the ways they have mentored me. ¡Gracias!
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Alejandra Márquez
Spanish
Graduate Alumni
My experience as a PhD student at ROMS helped me adequately prepare for my current position as an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Michigan State University. The department has world-class faculty whose teaching, feedback, and willingness to help allowed me to get to where I am today. I was also given opportunities to teach a variety of courses as a graduate student, helping me better understand how to create innovative classes. Furthermore, my cohort was instrumental in growing as a scholar and colleague and I am happy to say that I continue to collaborate with peers that I met while at UNC. ROMS is a fantastic department and it was certainly the best choice for me.
Dana Trumpower
Dana Trumpower
French
Undergrad Alumni
The ROMS department at UNC left a significant impact on my life that I would have never expected. I began only minoring in French, but with the support of the department, I ended up majoring in French, becoming president of the French National Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi, and writing an Honors Thesis in the department. These experiences drove me to study abroad and then to move to France after college where I felt prepared and excited to work in my second language. Now back in the U.S., still with the encouragement from my UNC professors, I am pursuing my Masters in Education so that I can teach high school French. I hope I can pass on the passion UNC inspired me with to my students.
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Francisco Chen-Lopez
Spanish
Graduate Alumni
As an international student, I truly appreciate the accepting and friendly environment ROMS has created. I met wonderful colleagues and mentors and started friendships that I anticipate lasting for the rest of our lives. During my graduate studies, I was well prepared for a career in academia. Thanks to the excellent mentorship I received, as a Ph.D. candidate who went on the job market for the first time, I was able to secure a tenure-track position at Spelman College. All this would not be possible without ROMS.
Chloe Hamer
Chloe Hamer
French
Study Abroad / Exchange Graduate Student

My participation in the ROMS teaching exchange program at the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris III has been invaluable for my development as an instructor and as a scholar. The yearlong teaching exchange program allowed me to immerse myself in the French language and culture, granted me access to countless scholarly resources, and pushed me to become a more effective and adaptable teacher. The skills that I have gained and the information that I have learned during my time in the ROMS teaching exchange program have already allowed me to pursue exciting new teaching opportunities, and I am certain that this experience will continue to open doors for my career as a teacher and scholar in the future!

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Che Sokol
French
Current Graduate Student

My experience as an exchange instructor at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France has not only improved my French language fluency and given me teaching experience in a different education system, but also helped me foster academic relationships. Through this opportunity, I’ve been able to attend Mediterranean film festivals, access scholarly archives, and make social connections that have reinvigorated my research. The mentorship and support of ROMS faculty and administration has been integral to my development as a teacher and researcher.