Location of Study: Tours, France
Program of Study: L’Institut de Touraine
Sponsors: Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
My name is Ana Clara Parga Nina and I am a rising sophomore double majoring in History and PLS. I am originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil and I currently live in Breen-Phillips Hall. A country’s history and how it relates to the present day fascinates me. I am also intrigued by storytelling; I am an avid reader and passionate writer. This summer in France will be my first time in Europe and I cannot wait to explore the culture and hone my language skills!
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Let me start off by saying that I love French. I have French class every day, work on homework every day and try to converse with my peers in French every day. Yet, after one year of this intensive routine, there is still much to be improved. When conversing with my friends I often times forget a word and merely say the phrase in English, and we carry on the conversation. In France, there will be no quick mumbling in English to get the idea across, rather, I will have to stop and communicate my thoughts in French no matter how painstaking. I will also be living and breathing French 24/7, there will be no “turning it off”. I believe my two months of immersion in France, with the continued classes every day, homework every day, and conversations every day (with no cheating!) will vastly improve both my comprehension and articulation. Not only am I excited for a full language immersion, I also aspire to expand my comprehension of culture and better understand how it relates to historical occurrences. These ties between modern culture and history fascinate me, and my insights will certainly become more abundant with a deeper understanding of French culture by living it firsthand. Reading and studying about a culture can only teach one so much. I believe participating in an intensive language program combined with a comprehensive immersion will provide me with the perception I hope to possess.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I once heard a saying that goes like this: “The past is not a reliable indicator of the future, but it is the only one we have.” That phrase stuck with me — trying to analyze history and how it relates to current events has become an enjoyable and rather fascinating hobby of mine. That is why I am majoring in History and PLS. I am particularly captivated by the French Revolution and the events leading up to and after it, but I am also interested in getting a broader understanding of the historical context behind an abundance of other major events. To further understand France’s history, I hope to be able to read primary sources in their original language. Over winter break I tried to read Les Misérables in French (quite an overestimation of my level at the time). After struggling with that incredibly ambitious task, and trying my hand at some easier articles, I desperately craved a deeper understanding. I hope to be able to read great works, such as those written by Jean Calvin and Montesquieu, a goal I plan on achieving this summer with the help of the SLA grant. As a future historian, I hope to contribute to the understanding of France’s history, its relationship to modern day French culture and its impact on the world. I believe my summer in France will allow me to achieve this by inspiring both cultural and academic growth.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to confidently carry out conversations in French with native speakers.
2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read and comprehend great works written in French, such as Les Misérables.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to watch movies in French without subtitles.
4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to write longer papers and analyses in French.