Summer Abroad France - Instructor

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Americans in Paris

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Raquel Scherr

University Writing Program

In addition to teaching English at UC Davis, Dr. Scherr has taught rhetoric, comparative literature, and public health at UC Berkeley. Her areas of interest are English, American, Spanish, Latin American, and multi-ethnic literatures. She has published works of translation and articles on sexism and minority women in the feminist movement, mixed race experience, the politics of beauty, and French literature and has presented papers on the Caribbean diaspora among other subjects. She has taught summer abroad in Paris for several years, a quarter abroad in Cuba, and is currently teaching a Narratives of Resistance in Cuba as well. Chicana Research Grant, 1996 Missouri Council for the Humanities Grant for documentary film, Builder of Dreams, Ford Special Career Fellowship.

A Message to Students and Parents

I am interested in students having a broad cultural perspective, so they learn to navigate not only Paris, but also the world. I am interested in using the lens of one city, in this case what historians have called the first modern city, as a way to jumpstart their exploration of other foreign cities. In increasingly global cultures, it will be advantageous to students to explore through literature, film, music, and art, how Americans have envisaged their distance from the U.S. and the advantage that this distance provides them when experiencing their lives in the U.S. My avocation is teaching students to grow intellectually and emotionally, and I find there is no better way to accomplish this than to have students observe U.S. cultures and institutions from a foreign vantage point.

What Students Are Saying

  • "I learned what it was to be curious about a sense of place, which prior to that I simply took for granted. The program taught me to be an observer. I hadn’t actively and mindfully explored a city before like I did in Paris. Paris opened my eyes to historic, cultural, culinary, artistic and technological traits that make it unique. And now I am more curious and able to explore and understand other places in the future. Science is exploration, and one must understand the interaction of details as well as see the overarching concepts. There are parallels in that way of thinking, and that is how Paris enlarged my thinking. Wherever I end up in medical school, and it will likely be in a metropolitan area, I will seek to discover that new place in the ways I learned to discover Paris. Walking, mindfully exploring the various facets of it, and coming to understand the essence of it."
  • "As a graduating student of UC Davis, I'm very happy to end my undergraduate career with such an inspirational class and professor. This program has definitely opened my eyes to the world around me."
  • "I see America completely differently now, and this experience has made me want to travel and do more with my life."
  • "I have a deeper understanding of Parisian culture than I thought I would receive from this course. I was able to participate in new activities that we don't have in the U.S. I made connections with other students as well as the Parisians."