My Attempts to get an Interview

Well I have to say the most difficult thing in the eminent study was the interview. I tried to attain an interview multiple times with multiple people. So let me show you my attempts to get this interview, in the order I sent the messages.

1st attempt:                                                                                                                             I found a professor that wrote a book about Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle’s relationship. The Wikipedia article claimed that he worked at the University of Paris, but as I emailed them with this message:

“Hi, I’m Kevin Fang from Gleneagle Secondary School and I’m doing a project on Charles de Gaulle. I was wondering if you could give me the email of François Kersaudy, who I believe is a historian and a professor of English, so that I may perhaps ask him a couple of questions to find out more about Charles de Gaulle.
Thank you for your time.”

They responded with :

“Dear Kevin,
Mr. Kersaudy is teaching at Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1), not Paris-Sorbonne University.
I invite you to reach out with Paris 1 :
I wish you best of luck with your project.
Kind regards”

Once I took a look at the new university website, I realized that it was in french, and there was no English website; so I gave up the chase.

2nd attempt: After doing some more research, I found the email of a professor studying Charles de Gaulle. But after emailing him, it turns out that the email that I found was deactivated and that there was no forwarding address. The trail went cold from there and I moved on to different people.

3rd attempt: This time I tracked down a professor working at UBC. UBC’s website said that he has historical perspectives on the 19th century and had expertise in WW2 Japanese/Chinese activities. So I figured if he had done both of these things he could answer a few questions for me about Charles de Gaulle. My email to him:

“Hi Mr. Brook. My name is Kevin Fang and I am currently doing a project on Charles de Gaulle. He is a very intresting man who is a great french leader. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions of mine about the French army in World War 2. This insight would be incredibly helpful to me and I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you.”

He responded with:

“Dear Kevin,

I am a historian of China. You really need to ask someone who works on France.

Tim Brook”

At which I requested that he might introduce me to some colleges that would better answer my questions. This was over a week ago, he hasn’t responded back. So I went looking for someone else to interview.

4th attempt: Last week, I found Mr. Robert Tombs, a professor of 19th century french political history working at Cambridge University. I emailed him this:

“Hi Mr. Tombs, I’m Kevin Fang and I’m currently doing a research project on Charles de Gaulle. Since you have expertise in 19th century French Politics, I was wondering if you could answer some questions of mine about Charles de Gaulle’s early life and his rise to fame. This insight would be incredibly helpful to me and I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you for your time.”

And he responded with this:

“I might be able to help.  What research are you doing?”

I was in hope! I emailed him 2 days ago with my questions:

“I am currently researching Charles de Gaulles political views and actions. I have attached a list of questions down below. Please answer as many questions as you can. If it’s outside your knowledge,it is 100% ok with me if you leave it blank. Thank you again for all your help.

1. How where Charles de Gaulle’s feelings towards the British in his early life? (I know he had rocky relationships with the British during WW2)

2. How did other political leaders feel about Charles de Gaulle during WW2?

3. Why did Charles de Gaulle decide to join the army?

4. What are your feelings about Charles de Gaulle’s achievements?

5. Why was Charles de Gaulle so independent from other countries?

6. Did Charles de Gaulle’s behavior change the way other political leaders looked at France?

7. Would you say that Charles de Gaulle made a big difference in how France is now?

8. Any final comments on Charles de Gaulle’s childhood or anything related to his politic career?

Thank you for your time, this will help me greatly in my project.”

To which he hasn’t responded to me yet, and now that this project is due, there is very little chance he will contact me tonight.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my story of how I tried to get an interview. Despite the fact that I was unable to obtain an interview in the end, I feel that I have learned a lot from this experience. Some things that I have learned are: Because most professors are busy with their own work, if you show that you don’t show enough understanding of your topic/did enough research, they will generally ignore you. (Which is what I think happened between me and Mr. Brooks). Also, if you bombard them with too many questions and they have no time to answer them, they won’t answer them. (Which is what I think happened between me and Mr. Tombs). I will now be able to put my new-found knowledge into my environmental issues study.




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