Name: Maria Rossi
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
A brief personal bio:
I’m a current freshman living in Howard Hall. My dad is retired Air Force, so I grew up all over the country. However, I went to high school here in South Bend, Indiana, and my family still lives in a neighborhood about a mile from campus. I’m majoring in … something, hopefully–I’m taking advantage of the fact that we don’t have to declare our majors till sophomore year, though I do know I want to study one of the social sciences. I’ve always loved the study of languages and cultures, and I’m incredibly excited to get to experience both this summer in France.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
As I mentioned above, I’ve always loved the study of languages and cultures. I jumped at the first chance I got to study another language, which happened to be a semester offering of high-school-credit Spanish in my middle school. However, ever since I was a kid listening to my mom play us French children’s songs in the car, I’ve especially loved French, so when I reached high school and had my choice of language classes, I decided to pursue French. I’ve been studying French ever since. Getting the chance to intensively study it, as well as immerse myself in the French language and culture, will be a hugely important step toward fluency. I hope to work internationally after I graduate college, in the field of diplomacy or foreign service. It is imperative for my career goal of working internationally that I not only learn to speak another language (in my case, French), but that I learn to speak it exceptionally well. For this purpose, intensive French language courses and language immersion of the type not usually found in college classrooms are exactly what I need. This is the opportunity which the SLA Grant is affording me.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Put simply, this summer I want to learn a lot of French, and learn it well. My high school did not offer French classes beyond the introductory level, so in my sophomore through senior years I studied French as an independent study. This had its drawbacks: specifically, although I was able to study grammar and reading comprehension, I did not get many chances to practice speaking and listening skills. This is why, although I can read a French news article, I still have difficulty following a French video interview; although I can write an acceptable essay in French, I still have trouble expressing myself smoothly aloud. At the Institut de Touraine, through a combination of instruction and practice, I expect to greatly improve my listening comprehension and my speaking abilities, including my accent and knowledge of idiomatic language. I also expect to greatly expand my French vocabulary, and to fine-tune my knowledge of French grammar, including more complex grammatical constructions, enabling me to express myself much better in French.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. By the end of the summer, I will be able to articulate myself clearly, smoothly, and expressively when speaking French.
2. By the end of the summer, I will be able to fully comprehend French spoken at average native-speaker speed.
3. By the end of the summer, I will be able to use a wide range of French vocabulary, including idioms, slang terms, and colloquialisms.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: