Name: Tianyi Tan
Location of Study: Paris, France
Program of Study: Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Nanovic Institute for European Studies
A brief personal bio:
I am a sophomore majoring in History and Political Science. Originally an international student from Shanghai, China, I now live in P-Dub with the beautiful Ugly Bush. Having taken up French only since I came to Notre Dame, I feel extremely fortunate to have this chance to fully immerse in the French culture overseas. Outside of classroom, I enjoy reading and doing Chinese crosswords. Thanks to the two gorgeous lakes at Notre Dame, I am also on my way to become an extremely amateur photographer, with a particular obsession for the sunset scene.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
As a history major I intend to concentrate on early modern France, more specifically the period around the French Revolution. As I researched on “revolutionary iconoclasm” for a term paper last semester, I have found that the most important sources are almost exclusively written in French. The ability to comprehend and use first and second sources in French is hence indispensable for my future, more in-depth academic research that would very likely form a senior thesis.
A more advanced level of French not only helps my academic pursuit but also would substantially contribute to my long-term career goals. I intend to pursue a legal career after graduation and focus specifically on international law. As one of the most widely spoken languages, French would undoubtedly open to me a huge scope of francophone countries and regions; its usage as official language of various international organizations also makes French a key language for the study of international law.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Above all, I hope this summer study experience will make me more “at ease” using the French language both in vernacular and academic context. I plan to enroll in the six-week intensive summer program at Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne (CCFS), which entails five-hour courses per day and opportunities for various extracurricular activities. While the idea of wandering around Paris is lovely, I envision my summer there above all a serious learning experience to truly solidify my linguistic skills.
In addition, I have developed a strong interest in French cultural history, particularly of the period preceding the Great Revolution. As the heart of France and various historical events, Paris would be a precious treasure for me to gain a vivid notion of this history. I hope to take advantage of this location and to explore the numerous historical sites and libraries in Paris. Ultimately, I hope this summer immersion will make the French language and culture an integral part of my intellectual sphere, with living impressions and memories.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- I will be able to navigate independently and confidently through France, i.e. from grocery stores to administrative offices;
- I will be able to fluently hold non-trivial conversations with locals and discuss relatively profound topics;
- I will be able to significantly expand my vocabulary so as to effectively and accurately express myself with proper word choice;
- I will further refine my grammar and in particular its spontaneous application in everyday conversation so that I could talk with few errors.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
Before all, I plan to take full advantage of my language program, Cours de Civilisation Français de la Sorbonne (CCFS), which partners with Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) to provide great opportunities to learn about the French culture. CCFS also organizes numerous cultural, social and sports outings for its thousands of students every year. I will take full advantage of these outings to work towards fluency of French and to befriend my fellow French students, with whom I will hopefully keep in contact upon return.
To maximize my engagement in authentic interactions, I also plan to stay with a host family throughout the six-week period. I will make my best efforts to blend into the Parisian daily life. Besides an opportunity to practice my conversational skills in everyday setting, a host family will also offer me a chance to acquaint myself with the most vivid aspect of French culture.
Finally, with the perfect location in Paris, I would not waste this incomparable chance to explore the heart of France, to see with my own eyes those legendary historic sites, and to experience the “moveable feast” that shall stay with me for a lifetime.