Patricia Andersen: Killam recipient to study French Language in Canada

University of Maine undergraduate student, Patricia Andersen, of Durham, New Hampshire, is the recipient of a Killam Fellowship to study French in Canada this fall for the 2022 academic year.

The Killam Fellowships Program provides undergraduate students in Canada and the U.S. with opportunities to spend a semester or full academic year in the other country as exchange students. Recipients like Andersen receive $5,000 per semester, an allowance to offset health insurance costs, and a grant of up to $800 for an educational field trip, according to the program website. The Killam Fellowship operates under Fulbright Canada and provides students with academic and cultural connections with the Canadian Fulbright community.

Andersen, a student with a double major in Secondary Education and French with a minor in Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says she plans to attend the University of Laval in Quebec City for the Fall 2022 semester, where all of her courses will be taught in French. Taking courses in French will help Andersen improve her proficiency in the language as she works toward her goal of teaching French at the high school level in the U.S.

“The main reason that I am planning to study abroad,” according to Andersen, “is to be in an immersive French environment so that I can become a fluent speaker of French. I am also excited to study abroad to get the travel and culture experience. I haven’t often been far from my hometown in New Hampshire, and I’m excited to experience a different culture from the one that I grew up in.”

Andersen’s application was supported by the Office of Major Scholarships at UMaine. She says she received guidance from Betsy Arntzen, recently-retired outreach coordinator for the Canadian-American Center, but that the director of the Office of Major Scholarships, Nives Dal Bo-Wheeler, was integral in helping her with her application submission. Frédéric Rondeau, associate professor of French, and director of the Canadian-American Center at UMaine, also played a role in Andersen’s application.

Andersen shared that, “Nives helped me a lot during the two months leading up to January, writing essays, and generally helping me figure out what I needed to do. Betsy Arntzen was also an invaluable help during this process. She coached me through the application process and helped me to revise my essays. I am incredibly glad that I got the wonderful help that I did, and that I was able to apply for the Fellowship. Lastly Frédéric Rondeau has been really helpful in not only clarifying the French emails that I get from ULaval, but also navigating the various hoops I’ve had to jump through.”

We spoke with Andersen more about her goals and experiences at UMaine:

What inspired you to study abroad?
I was inspired to study abroad by my desire to further my language studies. Immersion is incredibly important in order to become fluent in a target language. It is a perfect time to go abroad while I have the support of my university, and I’m really interested in taking classes in my target language so that I can gain a professional level of language proficiency. I am also someone that loves new experiences, so study abroad is perfect!

Outside of academics, what do you look forward to from this experience?
I’m looking forward to figuring out how to navigate a new culture and place on my own. Though it is a daunting challenge, I hope to travel later on in my life, so I’m excited to gain the skills required to travel and live in other countries. I’m also excited to change my daily routine. I love to do different things with my life, and I’m excited for a new experience.

Why did you choose to come to UMaine?
I chose to come to UMaine for several reasons. First, I love the friendly atmosphere, second, I love that it is in in a small town so near to nature. I love to be outside, so it’s wonderful to have nature accessible. UMaine was also one of my most affordable options which was really important to me.

What other on-campus activities occupy your time?
Because I work to support myself, I don’t have much time for extra-curriculars. That being said, I do have two jobs on campus. I am the French tutor, and I work at the Franco-American Centre where I help to create a website that has the resources for people to learn French at home on their own time.

UMaine students interested in applying for the Killam Fellowship can reach out to Nives Dal Bo- Wheeler at the Office of Major Scholarships (  The Office of Major Scholarships also offers support for other national merit-based scholarships, such as Fulbright, Gilman, Goldwater, etc.

For a full list, visit the Office of Major Scholarships website: