Jean-Yves Boulard – From France to the United States

Growing up, my family referred to the always smiling and always generous Jean-Yves Boulard as “the bread man.” I have fond memories of stepping into his bakery, begging my parents to let me have an extra sticky bun and choosing which baguette we would eat at dinner.

Now a college student, I was delighted to sit down with him and learn about his experience coming from France to the United States. We discussed French perceptions of America, his life-long love for learning, and the complexity of navigating different languages and discovering subconscious taboos when migrating to a new country. Truly a fascinating man of many talents, Jean-Yves described his story to me as having three threads; his professional path from teacher to baker, the switch from his native culture and language to a host one, and the story of his relationship starting in one country and language and deepening in another, all which “intertwine, reverberate, and influence one another.” What struck me most was when he remarked that “the fascinating aspect of the succession is that I could not have been a baker without having read all the philosophy and literature I did” prior.

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From Colombia to Spain to the United States – Juan Couso

Juan Couso was truly the most genuine person I met at W&J campus, graduating this past May 2020. Before I even knew Juan, he was instantly kind and caring towards me. We trained to be first year student mentors together, and I soon realized that Juan possessed a rare gift of making anyone feel loved and appreciated instantaneously. Throughout the school year, he would always ask me how I was doing, offer me a hug if I was having a rough day, and say “you’ve got this.” Juan has overcome racial stereotypes, the difficulties of cultural assimilation, and is still figuring out the broad spectrum of his migrant identity. However, his inspirational story of migrating to the United States is one of resilience, adaptability, and triumph. In Juan’s own words, “I want to tell people about my experiences. I’m an immigrant too. I was able to graduate from college and high school. If I can do it, you can do it.”

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