Name: Takunda Ushe
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:
My name is Takunda Ushe and I am a first-year student intending to major in Business (Finance) and Political Science. While I was born in a rural town in Zimbabwe, I spent most of my past living in a small mining town in South Africa. My experiences navigating between differing yet similar-in-some-ways socio-economic and cultural spaces have shaped my world view. I am fascinated by the human story, how it comes to be written under the influence of the political and economic climate. My academic interests are tied to my appetite to understand the crucial factors that play a role in shaping the quality of life. Specifically, I am passionate about the hope and struggle for Africans to lead prosperous and peaceful lives across the entire continent.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
The Summer Language Abroad is my gateway to explore the depths of the French language and culture beyond the confinements of my classroom experience. Of all the romance languages, French carries a unique weight for me because over a third of Africa is composed of French-speaking people. It will serve me well, to not only understand the current state of francophone Africa, but to appreciate the historical component of the French influence in Africa. It is not enough for me to pursue my studies in Business and Political Science in anticipation of my contributions to African development. I will need to equip myself with tools that will help me acknowledge the sensitivity of the African cultural setting. I believe the opportunity that the summer language grant affords me to spend an intensive month in France is my springboard to fulfilling this goal.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
The French language and culture are alive. It is quite difficult to articulate the gains that await me from the immersion in a pulsating French community. I am hoping that my interactions with French people will open new avenues for me to create lasting relationships I will bring back with me. As of today, I have studied significant portions of French vocabulary and grammar. I have even written my first few attempts at a French essay! What has been missing from my efforts to learn French is the contextual sense of the language. The summer language abroad experience assures me that I will continuously practice my French without the temptation of falling back to my familiar language of communication – English. My time at my summer language abroad program will see me make significant progress to a considerable level of conversational French.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
By the end of the summer, I will be able to sustain a French conversation in both an informal and formal situation. Additionally, I am hopeful that I will be comfortable keeping up with current affairs in the French world, grasping the message in various forms of media. I want to be able to engage in conversations on social media with my French friends when they make posts in French, without seeking the service of Google Translator. Lastly, at the end of my summer, I will be able to analyze the French business literature that I will use to draw parallels with the English material I am provided within my classes. I have no doubt that I am going to come out of my summer language abroad program with an enriching experience.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: