Student Testimonials

Aileen Chu

Class of 2011 - Comparative Literature
The two words that come to mind when I think of Comparative Literature are connections and meaning. Comparative Literature is about making connections, and as such encompasses for me a wide range of interests--literature, theory, art, comics, film, philosophy, spirituality and psychology, among others. And by teaching me to locate meaning in and across various texts, Comp Lit has not only taught me how to read, write, think more critically, but also how to create meaning in my life and in what I do.

Viliana de la Rosa

Class of 2012 - Comparative Literature
I love studying Comparative Literature because students can approach theory, literature, philosophy, and art beyond traditional disciplines. I enjoy the freedom to construct my own arguments with philosophies and theories I feel are relevant in a global and personal context. I appreciate using my creative and critical strengths to form my own theories in small seminar settings where I can share and evaluate my work. As a Comparative Literature student, I feel lucky to have great professors who are encouraging and helpful in advising students. It is truly an honor to be a part of this major, where I have evolved from a C to an A writing student. I am excited to learn and continue my own research in a space I feel comfortable writing critical, political, and historically relevant work. In this sense, studying Comparative Literature has strengthened my skills as a writer as well as complimenting my social, political, and cultural interests in understanding and breaking down the problems in our current society. As an Education minor, I can use my skills to analyze the problems within our current education system and work towards resolving them in meaningful ways. I am also excited to double major in Spanish Literature, because I believe it is important for students to be connected the world around them and because reading and writing in several languages is empowering and crucial in this field of study. I find the major as intellectually challenging as it is rewarding, anything but conventional.

Earl Foust

Class of 2012 - Comparative Literature/History
Formally, I came to Comparative Literature (CL) a little late in my time at UCI. I entered the university as a History major and had little interest or knowledge of what CL was about. I was interested in History as narrative, as a discipline dedicated to telling the stories of people and events from the past. I always had a particular interest in historiographical problems; why stories were/are told a certain way and the impacts of various 'ways of storytelling.' CL complements these interests by supplying students with a vast array of theoretical frameworks, all of which compile into an exhaustive toolkit for analyzing not only literature as 'fiction' but texts and social phenomenon in general. In seeking to understand the world, I feel it's added valuable perspectives. Encountering this department and the valuable faculty and students within has been one of my greatest experiences at UCI.

Andy Hoang

Class of 2009 - Comparative Literature/Bio Sci
By definition, CL is the study of literature across languages, genres, and forms.  As a discipline, it'll inspire you to constantly question the boundary of literature.  For me, literature is indeed represented by Kerouac and Salinger, but best embodied in the stories exchanged in a crowded Vietnamese marketplace (on which I wrote my thesis) or in the inchoate, yet deeply poetic musing between farmers in northern Thailand (where I did my Fulbright).  As a student of facts, formulas, and test tubes, CL was my humanistic escape.

Preston Hoppers

Class of 2012 - Comparative Literature/English
I am double majoring in Comparative Literature and English. I'm also minoring in Spanish and in Educational Studies, where I have been fortunate enough to do directed research helping low-income high school students write a play they are going to perform at the end of their semester. I am going to Argentina this summer, and I plan on staying one more year at UCI and hopefully studying abroad in Spain. I transferred here last year from community college. After I graduate, I'm going to try to pursue a Master's degree in Communications because I would like to work for some kind of nonprofit organization like Transparency International (transparency.org). I'm going to apply to USC as well as some universities in the UK and continue to study languages. Com Lit is BY FAR my favorite department that I have worked with. The classes I have taken in the department have been the most interesting and rewarding classes I have taken and the professors are all top notch and have, I believe, prepared me better for graduate school than any other departments I have worked with.

Hassan Mukhlis

Class of 2013
The study of comparative literature provided me a unique set of skills and techniques to use while in law school. Law school requires an appreciation of context such as history, culture, and political climate in order to understand how judges, legislatures, and professors interpret the law. Additionally, word usage may also be affected by society at the time the law was written. The skills and techniques I acquired while studying comparative literature are essential for a well-prepared undergraduate student pursuing a degree in law.

Jamie Noh

Class of 2011 - Comp Lit
"I originally came into UCI as an English major, hoping to pursue teaching English at the high school level. I hadn’t even heard of comparative literature until Tim, my instructor for one of my lower division English classes, mentioned that he was a comp lit grad student. For the final paper in his class, I ended up applying a theory from my criminology class to the novel, Catch 22. After seeing my interest in interdisciplinary research, Tim suggested that I check out some comp lit courses. When I first took a look at the course list and the course descriptions, I was amazed by the variety of captivating topics and wished I had known about this department before I entered college. I ended up switching majors at the beginning of my junior year and never looked back. Joining the comp lit community at UCI allowed me to encounter and befriend passionate peers and dedicated faculty, while developing multi-genre, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary awareness that has provided me with invaluable insight and tools for teaching. Since graduating from UCI, I got my single subject teaching credential in English and currently teach Contemporary Literature at Northwood High School in IUSD."

Kelly Novahom

Class of 2016
Earning my degree in Comparative Literature was the best education I could have received. If you're passionate about understanding our world through a political, cultural, and personal lens, through literature, art, and visual media, among other mediums, this is the place for you. The Comparative Literature department offers smaller classes and faculty that care deeply about your academic growth. Being able to think critically and write well are two invaluable tools in life. As a Comparative Literature major, I worked on establishing a magazine (The Exhibit), engaged in self-directed research (through UROP-SURP), and participated in conferences (UROP Syposium and Undergraduate Critical Theory Conference). These skills were essential to me landing freelance writing jobs, jobs in the legal field, and higher education administrative jobs. Recently, I worked as a Legal Investigator doing mainly research and report writing and switched over to working back at UCI at two large campus research centers that valued my academic experience. In the future, I hope to pursue a Master's in Social Work and Education and teach at the university level. Part of being a Comparative Literature major is opening yourself up to the unknown and embracing all the opportunities the discipline offers you.

Vivien Phung

Class of 2012 - Comparative Literature/Bio Sci
Being a Comparative Lit major has allowed me tap into a part of my intellect that I had not been able to being a pure science major at UC Irvine. Of course, I took Hum Core as a freshman, but the stricter guidelines imposed somewhat restricted my creativity and confidence to write. In each of the Comp Lit classes I've taken at UCI, I've felt like I was stepping into another world. Sometimes I followed a feminist fighting against the oppressing gender standards of her country and sometimes I followed the 60's counterculture and its role behind the advent of internet culture. In my Comp Lit classes, I feel like there are no restrictions on what we study. That is also why the major is so difficult to explain to my friends. It's hard to define Comparative Literature. The professors in the department challenge their students to think critically, above and beyond. And that's what we do. I feel like being a Comp Lit major helps me with my science-related classes as well. I find myself asking "why" rather than blindly accepting and memorizing facts. I think that if every science major would take a Comp Lit class, they would be able to exercise their minds in a way that they are not able to in their everyday science-centered curriculum.

Stephanie Pulles

Class of 2013 - Comp Lit and Economics
“When I transferred to UC Irvine, I chose to study comparative literature because I was already interested in non-canonical literature, and wanted to explore my relationship to Latin American literatures and the historical, social, and economic contexts from which these texts emerged. Once here, I found that the comparative literature program offered an incredibly flexible space to pursue substantive and theoretical interests at the intersections of multiple disciplines. I developed an interest in urban space, mobility, and post-colonial studies, all of which was supported by the generous mentorship of faculty in the department. By integrating my training in comparative literature, economics, and statistics, I was able to develop research that interrogates how minority and immigrant communities materialize. To this day, as I pursue a doctoral degree in (now) sociology, I continually pull from the theoretical foundations I gained in my comp. lit. courses. The intellectual space that exists here is the most exciting place on campus to engage in meaningful work pushing forward disciplinary boundaries.”