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Stand Out Student: Jack Sweeney

December 10, 2017 4:00 PM
Jack Sweeney

Jack Sweeney, a junior in the Tulane Honors Program studying Political Science and French, is beginning a year-long study abroad program in Paris, where he is immersed in French culture and language, and learning new perspectives on his area of study.


Jack is participating in the program run by EDUCO, an educational consortium of which Tulane is a member, alongside Emory, Cornell and Duke Universities.  Students in the program are immersed in the French language by taking their course load entirely in French, whether at local universities or at EDUCO’s own Paris Center.  This semester, Jack is taking courses at the prestigious Sciences Po, an institution which seven out of the last eight French Presidents have attended.

The opportunity to study at Sciences Po is one Jack relishes.  It comes by virtue of his extended studies in French, which he has been speaking since he was four years old, as well as his hard work in other courses, including Honors Colloquia, which introduced him to a range of disciplinary approaches and research methods.

The courses he is taking at Sciences Po are mostly in political science, but are interdisciplinary, and are helping him to broaden his perspective on his area of study.  For instance, one course focuses on the Rwandan genocide, examining it from a variety of angles, and bringing in concerns of domestic politics, diplomacy, and international relations.  Overall, Jack has found that his courses are less “America-centric,” more globally-oriented, and less dominated by a neoliberal economic outlook.  Thus, even courses that focus on topics he has studied before are helping him to see these topics in a new way.  With the foundation of the Honors Program’s focus on exploration, Jack is well-suited to this rigorous program that enables him to challenge himself linguistically, academically, and intellectually.

Yet it’s not just inside the classroom where Jack is immersed in French.  Like all the other students on his program, he is living in a homestay with a French family, sharing an apartment with host parents, two host brothers, and, most importantly of all, a dog.  He speaks exclusively in French with his host family (including the dog).

Jack’s studies at Tulane have him well-prepared to deal with most of what Paris has to offer.  It is his third time in the city; he studied there previously through a Tulane summer abroad program.  This Summer program, he says, cemented his life-long desire to study abroad for a longer period of time, and in Paris in particular.

Jack believes that students of all majors, if they have the possibility, should choose to study abroad, and should consider going for a year.  Seeing familiar topics from a new perspective, he says, is an invaluable experience.  Jack recommends summer programs as well, as an introduction to academic engagement with new places, ideas, and outlooks.  Jack’s experience in Honors and in Paris, so far, have enabled him to have a rich intellectual and nuanced academic experience.  They continue to provide him with the tools to engage with a range of ideas and people while abroad and prepare him for his next steps, wherever they take him.

Click here to view the flyer for the new Honors summer abroad program in Berlin.  Email or visit the Honors Office in Hebert Hall for further information about the program and the application process.