Graduate students in the Department of Romance Studies can spend a year abroad through one of three exchange programs. An exchange year abroad will “pause” a student’s degree program and will not count toward the years of financial support for which the student is eligible. Candidates for the exchange programs are selected in November each year by the Year Abroad Selection Committee.
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Université de Montpellier Graduate Assistant/Lecturer
The Department of Romance Studies sends a graduate student in French to the Université de Montpellier III for an academic year as part of an exchange.
Lectureship from Sept 1 through June 30, paying approximately 1150 euros per month for a 12-month period (first payment usually in early November). The work involved is generally in conjunction with English language courses, but it can also include American/British literature and civilization courses. Teaching responsibilities typically consist of working with discussion sections associated with an existing course taught by a UPV professor. The exact nature of these responsibilities will be made clear in meetings held at UPV after arrival. After ROML communicates the candidate’s selection to the UPV English Dept, the graduate student is responsible for contacting the latter regarding the necessary paperwork, for completing it, and for obtaining the appropriate visa in a timely manner prior to departure. It will also be the responsibility of the graduate student to pay for and to secure his or her own housing there, as well as to pay any fees associated with taking courses while there. The Department of Romance Studies will pay for round-trip airfare, up to $1200.
*Please note that candidates for this position must be native speakers of North American English (since the expectation is that the one who occupies the position will have grown up in the U.S. or Canada and be a representative of North American culture and language).
Living in Montpellier was a wonderful experience on all levels, professional and personal. Obviously in terms of language skills living abroad is a very valuable experience, but I also benefited in terms of teaching and research. Teaching in another university system and teaching my native language instead of my second language helped me reflect on what I do here at UNC, as well as increasing my adaptability and confidence in the classroom. In terms of research, I was able to audit several literature classes at the university, and as I only worked three days a week I had lots of time for self-directed reading. Outside of the professional benefits, Montpellier is an incredible place to live—small enough not be overwhelming, but very vibrant with lots of music, art, and good food (not to mention delicious Languedoc wines). The nearby beaches are accessible by tram, there’s hiking in the area, and Montpellier is close to Italy and Spain, as well as many cities in France (Nîmes, Arles, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseilles, to name a few). If you’re considering applying for the exchange program my advice would be: n’hésitez pas!
Lorenzo de’ Medici School in Florence
The Department of Romance Studies sends one student of Italian to the Lorenzo de’ Medici School in Florence, where more than two hundred UNC students are enrolled during the academic year and summer sessions. Graduate students may stay a semester or an academic year, during which time they teach a course and advise undergraduate students. They may also take advantage of their stay in one of Europe’s major cultural centers, by improving their language skills, familiarizing themselves with archival research, and auditing courses at the University of Florence. Roundtrip airfare is paid by the Department of Romance Studies, up to $1200.
The Lorenzo de’ Medici exchange allowed me the unparalleled opportunity to witness a different teaching style and share pedagogical methods with the excellent cohort of Italian instructors in Florence. In between classes, I was able to complete fruitful pre-dissertation research at the Biblioteca Nazionale and in the Archivio di Stato, a stone’s throw away from the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici. I took advantage of the geographical location to present my research at conferences in Italy that might have been otherwise difficult to attend in the academic year. I was thus able to share ideas with and receive feedback from an entirely new pool of scholars.
My year-long exchange at LdM is surely one the highlights of my graduate career at UNC. I learned a great deal about Italian language pedagogy from colleagues at LdM, who are among the best instructors I have encountered over the years. The inspiring environment of Florence is as active in the arts, culture, and cuisine today as it was historically, stimulating senses and intellect. In a way, Florence also surprised me. Its side streets and lesser known quartieri are gems, still untouched by the steady flow of tourists. Helping some of our undergraduates navigate their stay in Florence is one of my most cherished memories, and it has allowed me to gain better perspective as an instructor on my goals for students, now and in the future. The exchange is an opportunity everyone should consider!
Lorenzo De Medici is the school I’m working in, right in the center of Firenze, which is also my home town.The school, as well as the town of Firenze, is very welcoming and will be one of the most important experiences of your life.Indeed Firenze is one of the most beautiful and important cities in the world if we talk about art and culture and all those aspects are treated and expanded in LdM school by competent teachers with so different backgrounds. The relationship between students and teacher is quite informal but always based on both academic and human mutual respect. Furthermore (as my personal photos try to show…) teachers often help students to know particular places or situations of the Firenze which is difficult to know for ‘tourists’.
— Giovanni Del Giudice
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Universidad de Sevilla Teaching Assistant
Department of English Literature. Practical English classes. September 1 through July 31st*. Transportation RDU-Madrid-RDU (up to $1100) paid, tuition for enrollment at Universidad de Sevilla paid, medical insurance while in Spain paid, plus a stipend.
*Note: for this position you will need to stay in Sevilla until July 31, 2011, the first day of work being September 1, 2010) and will receive 11 pay checks (approximately a total of 22,000 euros [before deductions] spread over the said number of months). Because you may not receive your first check until November, you must have funds to cover your expenses until this time.
My year in Seville teaching and working with the faculty of English and North American Literature was exactly what I needed after becoming ABD. I wrote, I read, I studied. I enjoyed the Andalusian culture and made new friends. I ate my way through Seville and back again. I returned to UNC refreshed and ready to move into the final phases of graduate school.
-Grant Gearhart, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Armstrong State University.
Year at Seville Graduate Assistant
The Department of Romance Studies sends one student of Spanish as Year at Seville Graduate Assistant for an academic year. The Assistant works approximately 25 hours per week with the administration of the Department’s study abroad program, which typically enrolls 30-60 students each semester. Duties include accompanying helping with the orientation in Seville, and office duties such as maintaining the program’s library/computer lab. Proficiency in Word for Windows required.
I was able to work with UNC’s Study Abroad program in Seville from August 2013-June 2014. This was an incredible opportunity for me in a number of ways. My job in Seville was not a heavy time requirement, as I only worked between 25 and 30 hours per week, but I was able to learn a great deal about how study abroad programs work. Roughly half of my work was dedicated to the administrative side of things: keeping track of student information and flight details, creating reports about student performance, and accompanying students to doctor visits or computer technicians. The other work I did was related to growing the program: I helped update the program’s website, I researched potential new study and certification options for students, and I helped create program t-shirts for students. My weekly schedule was consistent, which allowed me to plan numerous trips around Spain and Europe. My job also left me with enough free time that I could do school-related reading and writing without feeling like I was missing out on the sights and sounds of Seville. Of course, my Spanish language skills improved dramatically. I almost exclusively spoke Spanish at work and, even though I became friends with a number of other native English speakers, living in Seville still requires extensive use of Spanish. English is not as commonly spoken there as it is in other large cities like Madrid, so everyone you interact with on the street or in stores expects to hear Spanish from you. People in the south of Spain have a very strong accent, and they tend to speak very quickly. Being surrounded by that type of language is overwhelming at first, but once you become accustomed to hearing Sevillano Spanish other accents are much easier to understand. I would highly recommend this position to anyone considering it: it is an incredible professional development opportunity, as well as the trip of a lifetime.