Maginn, Jacob



Name: Jacob “Jake” Maginn


Language: French

Location of Study: Paris, France

Program of Study: L’alliance Francais

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

Blog URL:




A brief personal bio:

I am member of the Notre Dame Class of 2018 studying Political Science and International Development Studies. This coming June 2017, I will have officially completed a year of study abroad in Angers, France. While my french has greatly improved, my quest for fluency has led me to accept a 6 week French program in Paris through the SLA program. Other than a passion for the French language and culture, I enjoy playing the guitar, listening to music, reading historical fiction, and of course, travelling.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

The maintenance of my French skills is integral to my future. As a student of International Development Studies, I hope to work within the developing word fighting poverty, lack of education, and hunger. Having been colonized by France, many parts of Africa continue to speak the French language today. One’s ability to speak French (and other languages that are found in this region of the world) is becoming increasingly important within the development industry. As the industry turns more and more towards knowledge sharing as a means of development (as opposed to a more hands on approach), the demand for language experts has increased at an incredible rate. In fact, as an intern with the State Department’s Young African Leadership Initiative this past summer, I constantly found myself speaking French in order to communicate with many of the African members of the initiative, simply because they struggled to understand English. I hope that this summer will give me an opportunity to sharpen my skills and take my French to a level that will be integral in any professional development endeavor that I may undertake.

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

During my year abroad in Angers, I have spent an enormous amount of time surrounded by the French language. However, one thing that has certainly lacked in my experience is adequate time spent on learning grammar. While nitpicky rules about conjugation and negation may not be the most fun things to learn, they certainly are integral in achieving a level of french that is natural and easily understood by anyone speaking the language (regardless of where they come from). Therefore, I hope that this summer I will develop a better level of writing ability and that my ability to correctly form sentences will truly be polished. In addition, I hope to develop relationships with native French speakers in order to have more opportunities to speak the language in a natural and colloquial manner.

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

1. At the end of the summer, I will have achieved a level of French that is appreciated both within a workplace and on the street of any French city. This means that I will be able to easily change the way I am speaking or writing in order to “match” the situation in which I find myself.

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand the meanings and usage of academic jargon in order to better communicate within a workplace (specifically in a research field).

3. At the end of the summer, I will be comfortable approaching any French person without the fear of judgement or critique. This will ultimately lead to vast improvement of my skills.

4. At the end of the summer, I will find it easy to communicate solely in French without the need to insert english words or phrases when I do not know how to explain myself.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: