Mademoiselle in town, Mademoiselle in country

Thirteen weeks, three apartments, and ninety-one shots of espresso brought me to my last weekend in France. I  left Paris city limits and spent the weekend in the countryside, where I slept in-cabin, biked through cornfields, and breathed forest air. Inhale.

My French acquisition through SLA was a blessing and a challenge. Though my coursework was interesting, I found that it was too “read and discuss” based. I realized that I learn languages best through grammar rules and militant drills. My reading and writing improved a little, but it was my speaking that made the most progress.

While I learned some French within classroom walls, it was the community engagement that was truly effective, inspiring, and satisfying. Each Thursday I went to a “Franglish” MeetUp group in the heart of Paris. I met wonderful people who were curious about American culture and eager to help me with French. It was there that I made my closest friends–friends who showed me the parks, theatre, swimming pools, rock climbing gyms, and outdoor markets. I have fallen in love with the language, the city, and the people, and have every intention on returning.

I am applying for a Fulbright Study/Research grant at Center for Research in Economics and Statistics in Palaiseau, France where I will model ethnic clustering in French communities. Following the Fulbright, I aspire to be a data analyst in a non-profit organization that evaluates socioeconomic policy. I hope to solve socioeconomic problems with data driven solutions, and promote understanding across languages and cultures. Exhale.