Schaffer, Anna


Anna Schaffer

Name: Anna Schaffer


Language: French

Location of Study: Tours, France

Program of Study: L’Institut de Touraine

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Nanovic Institute for European Studies

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A brief personal bio:

I am a junior Program of Liberal Studies and French major, and, when in South Bend, I live in Front Royal, Virginia. I have been studying French for seven years, and my passion for this language in particular has recently developed into a passion for language learning in general. I am very interested in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), so after graduation I hope to teach in France for a few years before returning to school to earn an M.Ed in TESOL.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

This SLA grant will give me opportunity to have a more academically fruitful senior year. I will be taking upper-level French classes both semesters, and my increased linguistic and cultural proficiency will allow me to get more out of them. Living and studying in France will also be a valuable asset to me as I work on my senior thesis. I will be translating multiple poems by Paul Valéry into English, and my abroad experience will improve my ability to understand the literal and associative meanings of words, helping me to write a more faithful translation.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

Throughout my French education, I have noticed that my speaking and listening skills tend to be noticeably below the level of my French reading and writing. I hope that living and studying in France this summer will bring my spoken French and my oral comprehension up to the level of my reading and writing as well promoting improvement across the board. The vast number of communicative opportunities I will experience will give me a better understanding of nuance in the French language, allowing me more accuracy and subtlety in both written and spoken communication. Additionally, this immersive experience will give me increased confidence to participate in class and to pursue learning opportunities outside of class.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

  1. At the end of the summer, I will have advanced at least one sublevel in the ACTFL speaking proficiency guidelines.
  2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand spoken French at a natural, native-speaking pace without having to ask people to repeat themselves.
  3. At the end of the summer, I will have a larger French vocabulary, including a grasp of common slang phrases and in what context they are appropriate to use.
  4. At the end of the summer, I will have a working knowledge of how French classrooms operate and how this compares and contrasts with American educational norms.
  5. At the end of the summer, I will be able to have discussions with native speakers on topics concerning visual art and literature.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

I chose Tours in part because its location and size will give me more opportunities to interact with locals in French. Although not far from Paris, Tours is not as much of a tourist destination, so I will be able to practice my French both in and out of class. In order to further ensure an immersive experience, I have chosen to live with a host family during my stay. I will be able to engage in authentic communication throughout the day, and not just during my classes. I will also try to take advantage of the cultural opportunities that present themselves during my stay. L’Institut de Touraine organizes afternoon and weekend trips for the students, and hope to participate in a number of these throughout my time in France. In addition to cultural experiences through l’Institut, I will engage with the local culture by attending local events such as Sunday Mass.