Alumna Story: Mikayla Raymond (Paris FSI - Spring 14)
As a sophomore at Scripps College studying Art Conservation and French, I began taking a series of French garden history classes that came to form an academic interest in the preservation of historic gardens and landscapes.
From here, choosing to study abroad with IFE was an easy decision. I knew that I wanted hands-on experience contributing to the preservation of the types of amazing gardens I had been studying. After taking classes and researching the gardens of Versailles extensively, I was overjoyed to be offered an internship at the Potager du Roi (The King’s Vegetable Garden) at Versailles.
My time there was spent between the gardens and the archives. I got the opportunity to work closely with the gardeners, learning tips and tricks of the trade. I was also able to spend considerable time in the archives, performing my own research on the preservation and history of the Potager, which culminated in my final research paper comparing several French gardens and their respective transformations into objects of cultural heritage, and how their stories were tailored and trimmed to favor certain histories over others.
After my return from Paris and from IFE, I used this final research paper as a basis to form my thesis (also in French!) which examined different iterations of French nationalism as interpreted (and preserved) on the landscape. From here, I knew that I wanted to continue my studies in Preservation and in Landscapes, and I was beyond grateful to be admitted to the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Historic Preservation program.
I’m currently half-way through my first year, and am continuing to study landscapes and gardens both in the US and abroad!