Plouff, Caroline


Language: French

Location of Study: Tours, France

Program of Study: Institut de Touraine

Sponsors: Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures

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A brief personal bio: 

My name is Caroline Plouff and I am a Sophomore Political Science and French supplementary major originally from Birmingham, Alabama. On campus I work as a University Tour Guide and have been involved with SIBC through the Social Entrepreneurship Division. However, where my true passion lies is in the study of languages and its role in societies- such as in Morocco where I will research the the clash of the French language with Moroccan society post-French protectorate. My passion for the French language, combined with Notre Dame’s generous resources, has afforded me the opportunity to study in Tours this summer!

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

This SLA Grant is important to me because it is the first step I have actively taken in trying to attain fluency through international study. Improving my French this summer will allow me to excel in my studies in upper level French classes and will also help me once I leave Notre Dame, as I intend on living and working internationally. While the SLA will help me improve my language skills, it will also introduce me to a culture that I am completely naive about. Later in life, my knowledge of the French culture and language will make me a more qualified candidate for various jobs as well as for graduate programs. While I do not know where my future career path will lead me I hope that I will be able to combine it with my love of Europe and the French Maghreb!

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

My hope from my SLA Grant is that I improve my proficiency in French, not only to equip me with useful language skills whilst abroad this summer, but also to prepare me for upper language French courses I am taking next semester as well as for my study abroad in Angers, France. I have selected a program at the Institut de Touraine that mimics the small language classes at Notre Dame which have a small professor to student ratio. These similar learning environments will allow me to adapt well. Furthermore, my long term goal is to better understand the French culture and appreciate it as something that is different from my own. This greater understanding will make me a more adept global citizen and will make me more confident for future study abroad opportunities.

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

1. At the end of the summer, I want to be able to write more cohesively in French, particularly in essay format. Currently, I struggle to write 2-3 page essays, upon my return I will be able to avoid grammatical errors as well as write more eloquently.

2. At the end of of the summer, I will better understand the French culture and will have made active attempts to immerse myself in the language and the people. I will do this by separating myself from native English speakers and attempt conversation solely in French.

3. By the end of the summer, I will be able to carry on a conversation in French without long pauses, stuttered speech, and nervous habits. I will be able to speak confidently as I do in English.

4. By the end of the summer, I will have acquired practical French skills such as the ability to navigate the transportation system, understand traffic signs and directions when given, shop at a grocery store feeling comfortable using a different currency, and be able to read a menu and order in French.