For Michaela Jordan, an incoming graduate student of Comparative Literature, literary studies are a means of exploring essential, pressing questions about the self and one's culture. "As a third-culture kid, my perspective on culture is different from that of most people," she reflects. "I do not relate to one national narrative and have a really tough time answering the question, 'Where are you from?' I have never considered myself fully English or French, and I have never viewed myself as an immigrant, either."
Michaela was born a British citizen to an English mother and a Colombian father, spent much of her time growing up in rural France, and traveled whenever she found an opportunity. As a result, she has long been interested in interrogating popular notions of home and belonging. Speaking about what drives her, she explains, "I would like to offer a new perspective on questions surrounding immigration in relation to globalization, the self and others in relation to notions of belonging and community, and identity in relation to defining 'home' through their representations in literature."
Michaela's interests in languages and literature provided a focus for her academic experiences and early professional career. She specialized in French literary studies at school in France and earned a degree in English at Université Lumière Lyon 2. As a post-graduate working as a French Lecturer at Reading University in England, she discovered she had a talent for teaching. She returned to Lyon 2 to receive a Master's in Education for English as a Second Language and was awarded a teaching certificate soon after that qualified her to teach French and Spanish in schools in England. After a few years working as a language instructor and translator, she felt compelled to continue studying literature.
Michaela's teaching experience is what initially brought her to Dartmouth. Through an inter-university exchange program between Dartmouth and Lyon 2, she was a French Resident Advisor for the French & Italian Department and the French LLC during the 2017-18 academic year. She also recently served as a program assistant for the Winter 2019 French LSA to Lyon with Professor Wine. Her positive experiences drew her back to Dartmouth when she was looking to continue her studies. Of her previous time at Dartmouth, she says, "The year I spent working here and the close relations I built with both faculty and students left me completely enamored with life at the College. Having previously studied American history and literature as part of my degree in English, experiencing it firsthand left an indelible mark on me, pushing me to return and pursue my academic career here."
Michaela plans to spend her year at Dartmouth promoting her perspective on literature and continuing to hone her academic writing skills. She then intends to pursue a career that combines her passions for education, language, and culture.
Welcome back to Dartmouth, Michaela!