James Allen

James Allen


B.A. International Studies 2017 | B.A. French & Francophone Studies (Interdisciplinary Option) 2017
Study Abroad: CSUIP Paris, University de Paris VIII

Operations and Projects Coordinator


Postgraduate and Related Experiences:

Just after graduation, I taught English at the Université de Rouen (2017-2018). After this, I became the first recipient of the Nohemi Gonzalez Palais Bourbon Fellowship (2018-2019). CSULB student Nohemi Gonzalez tragically lost her life during the November attacks in 2015 and this opportunity was created in memory of her. This fellowship, which included an internship at the French parliament alongside classes at the Sorbonne, was an honor and privilege to be a part of. It also opened the door to my next pursuit: an internship in Washington D.C. with the Center for International Policy (Jan-May 2019). Here, I did research on the foreign funding of think tanks and published editorials in major publications. All of these experiences led to my current job as Operations & Projects Coordinator at Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris. The Institute invites Columbia professors and artists and writers from around the world for a year-long residency that aims to topple the barriers between the arts and academia. My main roles are organizing our public events (screenings, concerts, art shows, conferences, etc.), managing our partnership with Columbia University Libraries, and helping residents access research resources in Paris.

How did your studies in language and culture prepare you for your current job?

Studying French language and civilization prepared me for my current role in Paris. On a practical level, I am able to communicate in an academic and professional context in French, which has been essential for working with institutional partners, vendors, and research hubs in Paris. On an intellectual level, my knowledge of France (cinema, literature, history, etc.) has allowed me to connect and engage with the artists, writers, and scholars with whom I work. Pairing my degree in French with one in International Studies provided an extra layer of preparation for working in a global environment with thinkers and creatives from around the world.

Do you have any advice for students considering language and culture study?

First, I’d like to say: don’t let financial barriers stop you from trying to access study abroad, or other international opportunities for culture and language study. There are scholarships and funding available (both from CSULB and from external organizations), and I was fortunate enough to have faculty who introduced me to these possibilities. Funds are available, so don’t be afraid to make an appointment with the Scholarship Office or with RGRLL faculty. Second: culture and language study graduates are candidates for wide-ranging and exciting jobs. Be open and creative when considering your plans, as you may be surprised where you land (geographically and professionally). You can work in politics, culture, journalism, activism, academia and many other sectors. I’ve found that my French degree has been a conversation starter with employers and has made me stand out from other candidates who’ve studied subjects that one may see more often (communications, business, psychology, etc.).