Graduation year: 2018
Activities: French tutor, leader of Table Française, Phi Beta Kappa
Internship: My internship was a four-week experience in Nima, Ghana, where I independently taught French in a fourth-grade class at Anani Memorial International School. I became extremely close with my students, and a piece of me will always be in that classroom.
Post-grad plans: Teaching English to French students on Réunion Island, a region of France in the Indian Ocean, through the French Embassy’s TAPIF (Teaching Assistance Program in France)
I chose to attend Augustana because my mom really pushed me to go to a four-year college, and Augustana offered me exceptional scholarships that didn’t compare to any other universities. If it wasn't for Augustana and its donors’ generosity, I would have had to have gone to community college.
Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?
I am not. I thought, when I was a freshman, that I wanted to be a journalist of some sort. After my first French class at Augustana, I realized my true gifts were in speaking and writing languages, and I wanted to share that joyful and eye-opening experience of becoming bilingual with others by becoming a French teacher.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
I wish I could name everyone and everything here, the good and bad experiences, that shaped me to be the woman I am proud to be today, but my French professor, Taddy Kalas, showed me the kind of French professor I will always strive to be: strong and unafraid to back up her knowledge, overwhelmingly intelligent and shining with kindness.
And Kiki Kosnick has been by my side since she arrived at Augustana. She has supported me endlessly, and she encouraged me to apply to TAPIF. Without her, I wouldn’t be teaching in a beautiful island this fall. I have to credit that to her, and I will be forever grateful. I can always count on her to give me advice when I feel lost, and she is so excited to share with the rest of campus the power of a French major. She has this life in her that’s impossible to describe. She gave me that push for the next step in my life! Kiki is that kind of friend and mentor that you can never let go.
A peak experience for me was translating French for our group of 30 during West Africa Term 2018. I really experienced the value of my French degree like nothing before. My French gave me a purpose and allowed me to become extremely close with the Moroccan and Senegalese people that I had the pleasure of meeting.
What surprised you?
I learned that I am myself and that I am a human being. I am allowed to have emotions, be sad, be happy. No one can take that away from me.
How did you use Augie Choice?
I used Augie Choice for Cambodia Term in 2016. During my six weeks in Cambodia, I taught students of all ages how to play songs on the recorder. We sang and played recorder together, while I bettered my understanding of Cambodia, its people and culture, and my students bettered their English.
What will you miss the most?
I am not sure if ‘miss’ is the right verb because my time here is over, and I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, but I can say I will look back on all my experiences, cherish everyone for what they brought to my life, and feel myself in all of the campus buildings with peace in my heart.
Advice for the Class of 2022?
Be true to yourselves. If you stick to your beliefs and stay confident in yourself, you will attract the people you want to keep in your life. Also, if you get a ‘bad’ grade, you must realize that you are not your grades and the work that you put out. Embrace all your sides, the beautiful and the ugly, and understand that the most important part of college is that you have the opportunity to live comfortably in yourself. Don’t try too hard to fit in; you’re already different anyway, so you’re just like everyone else.
“Jaime is an exceptional person who has taken full advantage of her time at Augustana. From participation in study away to her leadership of our weekly French conversation table, Jaime is deeply devoted to her growth as both a thinker and an agent of positive change in the world. She will spend next year on Réunion Island teaching English through a program of the French Embassy. This highly competitive placement is so well-deserved, and I look forward to following Jaime’s story.”