Image: Photo © Elvis Coimbra Gomes
Author: Corinne Morey
Interview with Juliette and Eugénie – 10th of December 2014
MUSE: Could you present yourselves briefly for us?
Juliette: Shall I start? I am Juliette, I am from Switzerland actually, I was born in Vevey. I have been doing ballet and contemporary dance ever since I was a child. I am in my second year of MA in English and French at the Unil.
Eugénie: Hi, I am Eugénie. I am a master student in English. Actually I don’t have any hobbies any more (joking). I don’t really have time to do anything else! But I used to like sports, tennis and snowboarding and such.
MUSE: Do you remember how you felt on your first day at Unil? Can you remember?
Eugénie: At that time, I had not gone to school for a year. I had taken a gap year between high school and Unil so it was pretty scary for me. I felt like I had forgotten everything I knew, but there was some part of excitement of course.
Juliette: Yes I guess for me too. It was a really new step. Everything was so big and there were so many people! I wasn’t used to that. But I remember the presentation for the English section. The teachers seemed all really nice and welcoming so that part reassured me.
Can you describe for us what your everyday tasks are as assistants?
Eugénie: My job usually consists in making posters and flyers for the department. When there is a special event in the section we usually also participate in the organization. Basically we are here for the teachers: we try to help them and do our best to make their life easier.
Juliette: I’m maybe more linked to the Linguistics section, for which I do administrative tasks, like contacting various people for different kinds of projects, or translations. I work more specifically with Jürg to help him set up his course for next semester on “Language Recovery after a Stroke”. Besides, we’re in charge of the Department Library, we do a few scans, and other administrative stuff.
And how would you describe how you feel in your current position in Unil?
Juliette: I would say I feel more at home now.
Juliette: Actually, it really is like my little home.
Eugénie: Yes it is true. We study what we like, we do things we enjoy, teachers are always welcoming and very nice.
Can you think of a particular teacher who helped you decide and choose what you want for you yourselves and your life?
Eugénie: Go ahead, take this one.
Juliette: It is hard to pick just one, because a lot of them throughout my school years had an influence. My French teachers in secondary school and high school really helped me see that literature was my thing. And now at Unil, many of the English teachers have also mattered a lot in my choices. They really helped me see what I want to do in my life, maybe Martine more specifically since she’s the one who introduced me to Translation Studies.
Eugénie: My English teacher in high school influenced my choice truly. But I guess I would say that Agniezska is the one who made me discover that I really enjoy Gothic fictions and those kind of readings.
Which is your favourite quote?
Eugénie: “If opportunity doesn’t knock… Build a door” – Milton Berle
Juliette: It’s really hard to pick one quote, but maybe Nietzsche’s “Without music, life would be an error.”
If the English Department was an animal, what would it be and why?
Juliette: A Cat! she says bursting out laughing.
Eugénie: Yes, something cuddling, you know, something cute and always warm.
Juliette: but still independent!
Eugénie: Yes, something cute and nice. A little Guinea pig, or maybe not, I don’t know, she laughs. Let’s say a dog. It’s like your best friend but still you should not mess with it too much.
Do you have future plans, or should we not talk about that?
Juliette: I would like to do a PhD and stay as long as possible at University, though I know it is very very difficult to pursue an academic career afterwards. But I’ll try at least a PhD, then we will see.
Eugénie: Yes, me too. The more I study here, the more I want to work here. However if that does not work out I guess I’ll just become some kind of French teacher, though that is not really the first option.
What is your dream?
Juliette: Not to have regrets, I would say, and to be happy with the choices I made and where I’m going. And try to enjoy the moment.
Eugénie: Personally, I want to have the feeling that I have lived, you know, that I have done things, that I have travelled and I did not simply stay put, doing nothing at all.
If your colleague was a color, what would she be and why?
Eugénie: Juliette would be pink. She is always happy and nice. Or yellow like the sun. She is always in a good mood, ready to help you.
Juliette: Oh I really don’t know
Eugénie: Just say orange, no need to explain.
Juliette: Yes orange is quite good. It is lively like you. And it’s a warm colour, which shows how caring you are, always ready to help others (sometimes to the point of forgetting about yourself).
Which is your favourite band now?
Eugénie: For me right now it is Tegan and Sara, Canadian twin sisters.
Juliette: For me it is the Arctic Monkeys.
Eugénie: We have very different taste in music. I don’t know much about Juliette’s music. Every band she listens to I have never heard of, she laughs.
Juliette: I like what she listens to actually. Angus and Julia Stone for example. The last concert you went to of Ben Howard. He is quite nice as well.
Which was you favourite band when you were 13, if you remember?
Juliette: It was U2. Bands like U2 or Queen have been around ever since I was a kid, she laughs.
Eugénie: I used to love Sum41, Linkin Park, you know, these rock bands, Avril Lavigne.
Juliette: Oh yeah! Sk8ter boy and all.
Now for seasonal questions: Do you like the Christmas season?
Juliette: Yes! Because we can watch Love Actually again! she laughs. Christmas season is fun. It is the only part of winter that is cool, because I don’t really like winter actually.
Eugénie: Well for me winter is cool when there is snow, but there is not even snow now. It is just cold. Though I still think it is nice.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Eugénie: Gifts! Money! she jokes. Family gatherings and such, you know. My birthday actually comes right after Christmas so it is really a festive time and a celebration for me.
Juliette: I would say that too, it’s really about family gatherings around great food for me.
Do you still believe in Santa Claus?
Juliette: I can’t answer, she laughs.
Eugénie: Of course! Don’t you!?
Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
Juliette: I would say Wham’s Last Christmas.
Eugénie: I guess for me it would be Michelle Branch’s song called River. It is not a true traditional Christmas song but it is beautiful.