Location of Study: Tours, France
Program of Study: Institute de Touraine
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and the College of Arts and Letters
A brief personal bio:
My name is Mia Carroll and I am a rising Junior from New York. I live in Walsh Hall and I am majoring in Computer Science, with a supplementary major in French.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Since I began studying French in middle school, my primary intellectual goal has been to continually expand my knowledge of languages. In my years of studying French, I have learned the strength of language because I have realized its limits and weaknesses. The most influential moment of my language study was when I realized that it is not possible to translate certain phrases or pieces of literature. In this way, it is not possible to fully understand a person who speaks a different language from you without understanding every nuance of the language he speaks. The idea that it is not possible to fully know the meaning of other people’s words, except to learn and to extensively study their languages, has served as my primary motivator throughout my study of French and my interest in the field of linguistics as a whole. I think that the reason that it is so powerful to know languages and to be able to understand other people, is because it allows us to amend inequities. With a background in the field of computing, I would like to one day be able to work to bridge the global gaps in access to technological advancements. To achieve this, it is crucial that I learn French, as many of the countries with the least amount of access to modern technology have French as an official language.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I hope to improve my speaking abilities so that I am able to express myself in a manner that does not require me to hesitate or pause to consider verb tenses or agreements. I hope to improve my vocabulary for everyday objects, as well as for less common words. Additionally, I hope to dramatically improve my listening comprehension skills, as well as my writing skills. I also hope that I will come away from the summer with a deeper understanding of French culture and history.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. At the end of the summer, I will be have expanded my vocabulary sufficiently so as to be able to express myself in French naturally, in both written and spoken language.
2. At the end of the summer, I will have improved my accent so much that native speakers will not struggle to understand me.
3. At the end of the summer, I will feel comfortable using all complex verb structures of the past and futures tenses, as well as the subjunctive, not only in my writing, but also in my speaking.
4. At the end of the summer, I will have improved my listening comprehension skills so that I am able to understand people who are holding conversations not directed toward me.