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College of Arts and Sciences

Juliette Ovadia: 'Cornell is an academic community founded on tolerance and inclusion'

May 15, 2020

Juliette Ovadia​
Comparative Literature and French
Chicago, Ill.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell for the rigor of the academics, the commitment to a liberal arts education, and the freedom to study many subjects at an advanced level. I like the diversity of perspectives at Cornell, that it’s an academic community founded on tolerance and inclusion (“any person, any study”). It’s rare that a world-class university values the humanities as much as it values the study of agriculture or engineering or policy, and I think that’s how it should be.

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

The ability to write. As a student in the humanities, I’ve seen how my writing has improved from freshman year to now (in English and in French). That I was able to take classes in many different disciplines really made the difference.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class in the Government department was GOVT 3353, African Politics. This course sparked my interest in colonial and post-colonial studies, an interest I’ve been able to pursue as a research assistant and in my coursework in the Comparative Literature and French departments. I have also loved all my classes in the French department. The department has exceptional faculty and visiting scholars. What sets the department apart (and this is true for Cornell in general) are the small class sizes and many opportunities for close interaction with experts in the field.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

During my second semester of junior year, I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence. It was very meaningful for me as a student of French literature and history.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Study a language at Cornell; study abroad if you can. Take a class with Cornell Outdoor Education!