Location of Study: Tours, Franch
Program of Study: Institut de Touraine
Sponsors: Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
I’m an freshmen from China, currently majoring in philosophy. Since Réne Descartes is by far my favorite philosopher (though most of his works are in Latin), I decided to take French in college. I was extremely fortunate to get the grant and study in Tours, a town only one hour away from the hometown of Descartes. Besides my passion in philosophy, I’m huge fan of French musicals, especially l’opéra rock.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Philosophy works are by nature difficult to comprehend but heavily based on the preciseness of understandings. Though translations of the most famous texts are available, the translations are based on the interpretations of translators. As I aspire to learn more about the French philosophers, the ability to read the texts in their original language is indispensable. Also, I plan for a master study in École Normale Supérieure that has trained great philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault. Hence high proficiency in French is critical to my long-term academic goal.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
By summer, I will finish with two semester of intensive French courses, I believe SLA program (Institut de Touraine) will offer me a chance to go over all the difficult grammars that I learnt from the condensed courses, and amend the possible problems resulted from the courses. Therefore, the program will fast-track me basic French skill so that I am better prepared for the high-level class in French culture and literature. After the program, I wish I would be able to read analysis of Descartes’ works or Camus’ novels in French, laying a foundation of my future reading. Also, the Institut de Touraine is in the province of Touraine, the birthplace of Descartes. Therefore, besides rigid language training and cultural immersion, I wish to comprehend the cultural and physical environment are both crucial in forming Descartes’ values.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read, write and communicate in French with native speakers on academic topics, such as philosophy, politics and history.
2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read philosophy texts in French.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to watch French musicals without subtitles.