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A Parisian’s View: Meet Fanny Delaunay


 Fanny Delaunay ’14 loves it in Cincinnati. The second year law student currently resides on the West Side with her husband, having also recently lived near campus, in Dayton, and in Florence, Ky. For all the moves Delaunay has made in the last five years, however, none was bigger than the one in 2008.

While Delaunay currently lives just miles from the banks of the Ohio River, this is vastly different from her hometown of Montpellier, France, a city of about 250,000 people along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Delaunay was born and raised in Montpellier, which is several hours south of Paris, but just two hours from Spain and four hours from Italy. She began her college education in 2005 at Montpellier III, where she studied business and foreign languages (English, German and Chinese).  Delaunay grew especially fond of German and, as a result, opted to study at Germany’s Ruprecht Karls University for a year, at age 17.

“I worked there, I volunteered, went to school – the whole thing – and, then, there I met someone from Cincinnati,” Delaunay said. “He was an exchange student too, we were both there studying German, we were in class together.”

Delaunay began dating this American exchange student, Travis Burke, who not long after his return to the United States began classes at the College of Law in the fall of 2007. Delaunay had another year of school left, although French students only need three years to complete a bachelor’s degree, so she returned to France. Delaunay knew she wanted to come to the United States after graduation to be with Burke, but to do so she realized she would need to earn some money first.

“I got a job at the (Montpellier – Méditerranée) Airport because it was one of the only places where I could do the first shift,” she said. “I was working from 5:00 in the morning to 1:00 (p.m.), so then I took all my classes in the afternoon. I had a full-time job, 40 hours a week, and then, on top of that, I went to school full time. But I just took all my classes in the afternoon, so that I could save enough money to pay for Xavier.”

Coming to America

After completing her education in France, Delaunay obtained a one-year student visa and came to Cincinnati to be with Burke and improve her English through classes at Xavier University. Delaunay was supposed to stay for only one year, but five years later she is still here and now married to Burke, a 2010 College of Law graduate.

This was clearly a significant move for Delaunay, who not only had never been to the United States, but did not even know precisely where her future home was actually located within the country. “When I moved here, I don’t think I knew where it was on the map,” she said.

Delaunay began taking English classes at Xavier through the English as a Second Language, or ESL, program. While in this Intensive English Program, Delaunay was told her English skills were good enough and that she would benefit by taking “normal [regular] classes.” Thus, she began taking business courses, but immigration issues arose as her one year student visa was set to expire.

She and Burke were married on October 18, 2008, so Delaunay was allowed to stay in Cincinnati, but she was not initially allowed to work. A year after her husband earned his law degree from UC, Delaunay enrolled in the College of Law’s Class of 2014, after flirting with the prospect of pursuing an MBA.

Life in Cincinnati

Having recently completed her third of six semesters at the College of Law, Delaunay has enjoyed her law school career to date.

“I love it,” she said. “I think I like the second year better than the first year; just the fact you can choose your own classes makes it a little more interesting. “

Looking forward, Delaunay is not extremely interested in working at a large law firm, although the idea of working as in-house counsel is appealing to her. Delaunay also enjoyed her Federal Income Tax course in the fall semester and is considering taking more tax classes.  Last summer, Delaunay worked downtown at the Attorney General’s office, while also doing some in-house work at a printing company in Indianapolis.

When not studying or working, Delaunay enjoys trying “real U.S. food” around town.

“For example, Rookwood Pottery has the best hamburgers ever,” said Delaunay, whose review of Skyline Chili was not nearly as favorable.

While she often cooks her own French food, Delaunay does go to some of the local French restaurants, perhaps her favorite being Jean-Robert’s Table. Delaunay also enjoys painting anything – whether that is more traditional art or the upstairs of her house.

The second year law student is an only child and is hopeful that her parents also make the move from France to Cincinnati.

“They love it,” Delaunay said, noting that they go on big trips when her parents are in town, and she has now been to 28 states.

“Last year we went to the Grand Canyon,” she said. “It feels kind of like you’re in a movie. You cannot see it anywhere else.”

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13