Emily Kolesar

Class Year



Arlington Heights, Ill.


English, French

Emily’s love of language extends beyond words and sentence structure. She has had a passion for reading, writing and culture since she was young, and believes that all three are essential aspects of studying a language.

“The French language is beautiful, complex and challenging, and the culture itself is as rich as the language,” Emily said. “Though small, the French program is very dedicated to teaching not only the rules of the language, but also the culture and history surrounding it.”

By studying both French and English, Emily has been able to mature as a writer. She can compare the two languages, which helps her to understand the nuances of grammar, vocabulary and writing styles.

“I would like to use the written word to touch people’s lives,” she explained. “Whether this is through translating the works of the literary greats or through my own writing, I want to use language to reach the corners of people’s lives and souls that other mediums cannot so easily penetrate.”

Emily’s first encounter with France was during aJ-term trip to Paris. She had a chance to truly enhance her understanding of French during a semester studying abroad in Grenoble, where she stayed with a host family outside of the city. While there, Emily learned the importance of pronunciation and conversing with native speakers.

“I inadvertently told my host sister that I’d purchased a chicken, when I meant to say sweater,” she recalled. “The moments I spent at the dinner table with my host family, talking and eating soufflé or French cheeses were invaluable, since I learned slang that I haven’t encountered in any textbook.”

Even though she learned an invaluable amount about the language during her time abroad, Emily knows that the Carthage French professors have been a huge part of her success in the language.

“I’ve been consistently blessed with knowledgeable and interesting professors for my courses,” she said. “The professors speak excellent French and are willing to correct students in a gentle manner when mistakes are made. My French professors have continually encouraged me to speak up and not to let the fear of making mistakes keep me silent.”

“The French language is beautiful, complex, and challenging, and the culture itself is as rich as the language.”

Emily Kolesar, ’12

Career goal

“Possibly a translator.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Professor Carrig of the English Department. She combines knowledge with a sense of humor, making her classes informative and enjoyable.”

Favorite class

“I took a J-Term class titled Humor and Satire in Writing. We learned several techniques of humorous writing, and I was forced out of my shell with the requirement of presenting our writing to the class. We also sampled exotic foods, spoke to other students and staff on campus using sesquipedalian words (like ‘sesquipedalian’), and had a class snowball fight, all of which provided inspiration for our writing. Plus, how many classes list Calvin and Hobbes as a required course text?”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“A lot of little things, like watching the sun rise over Lake Michigan, dancing in the rain with my friends, or feasting on the cafeteria’s Thanksgiving dinner.”

Favorite spot on campus

“Sitting on the rocks by the shore of Lake Michigan.”

Biggest surprise so far

“At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve been surprised by the array of wonderful people — both professors and students — that I’ve met at Carthage.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“If considering a foreign language, remember to keep your skills active by practicing. I wouldn’t let a lack of confidence in your speaking skills keep you from pursuing a major in a foreign language. Your enthusiasm and interest in the language are more important, and your speaking will improve with time and effort. For anyone considering an English or foreign language major, remember to continue reading!”