UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Sharon Meilahn Bartlett (French Major, International Studies Minor, Graduated 1999)
Sharon (Ebersberger) Meilahn Bartlett received her Bachelors Degree in Modern Languages with an emphasis in French and a minor in International Studies at UWRF. She participated in Semester Abroad and completed a project on the human geography of immigrants in France. She worked as an English instructor in a French high school and then earned an M.A. in French Literature and Culture from the University of Northern Iowa with an emphasis on francophone literature. She is in her fourth year of doctoral studies in French at the University of Iowa. She is currently working on a dissertation comparing gender identity at moments of historical trauma in Haitian and Algerian francophone literature. Although her current research focuses on gender, trauma, Haiti and Algeria, she is also interested in identity issues in Caribbean and African cinema and literature. She has published articles (under Sharon Meilahn-Swett) on Lebanese literature and French colonial cinema as well as presented on Maghrébin literature and French New Wave cinema.
My Semester Abroad experience has profoundly affected both my personal life and my career path. It showed me that I had the skills to negotiate all kinds of unfamiliar situations, seemingly insurmountable challenges, and people from vastly different backgrounds than my own. I have been able to work with students of French at all levels as both instructor and school trip leader. I encourage them to pursue the study abroad opportunities available to them but I always wish I could offer them a truly unique experience like that of Semester Abroad at UWRF. Many college students will study in a foreign country but how many will do so in a program that allows them to formulate their own independent research project and sustain it at every level on their own? I am always sharing my Semester Abroad experiences with my amazed (and perhaps envious?) students, professors, and friends.