Name: Elisabetta Drudi
Location of Study: Paris, France
Program of Study: L’Alliance Française
Sponsors: J. Patrick Rogers & Stacey Yusko
A brief personal bio:
I am an Italian native speaker who graduated from the University of Bologna in June 2009 and joined the Master’s in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame in August 2009. I am currently enrolled in the MA in Classics and will join the PhD in Literature program next Fall, with the aim of continuing focusing my research on Greek and Latin literature, and on how these have influenced modern literary production. I have been teaching Italian at the University of Notre Dame since 2009, and I have particularly enjoyed the interaction with my students.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
As I mentioned, I would like to focus my academic research on how classical literature has influenced modern literary production, and I plan to focus especially on Italian and French literature. Hence, the possibility to go to France to improve my reading, speaking and listening skills in French is particularly significant for my future academic plans. Moreover, I plan to visit the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, where some Latin manuscripts I have been working on this past year are kept.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I hope to improve my linguistic abilities in French significantly, so as to be able to read scholarly works, speak with French-speaking scholars; I’d like to get an overall familiarity with the French language, that would allow me to work with French literature at an academic level. I would also like to take the opportunity to use cultural resources in Paris, that are relevant to my field of study and to have an experience of immersion in French culture.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- Communicate in French at a level acceptable for academic purposes.
- Read French primary and secondary literature without having to rely too heavily on translations and dictionaries
- Take French classes that require an intermediate-high level of knowledge of French language and culture
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
Beside the main language learning program and workshops, the Alliance Fran’aise offers a great variety of extracurricular cultural activities, which I plan to attend as frequently as possible. Their website has a May-June brochure with a list of events that range over French theatre, cinema and cuisine, and are free for students of the school. I wish especially to attend the movies projections, for they will all have French subtitles and constitute an attractive way of improving my linguistic awareness and an exposure to French culture. I will also attend their organized field trips with guided tours in French, which promises to be important opportunities to engage with other students.
Reflective Journal Entry 1:
I think that experiencing immersion in a foreign culture makes a lot of difference in terms of language acquisition. Everyday life provides me with opportunities to enhance my learning as it would hardly be possible when studying French at school only.
Reflective Journal Entry 2:
It is surely very useful to attend a language school, where i can reinforce my grammar and actually get to know how to speak correctly, while living in the foreign country. Especially having only 5 weeks available to my French studies this summer, I believe that the intensive language class I am taking is allowing me to make good progresses which I need to meet my initial expectations.
Reflective Journal Entry 3:
The opportunity of outside-school events organized with classmates is showing itself to be a useful way of testing my learning process, and of checking progresses I have been making. Teachers at the Alliance Francaise are usually available for out-of-school events and this gives me the chance to interact with native speakers who are also guiding me through a learning process. However, I find it even more challenging but more authentic when I am meeting French native speakers who are not connected to the school, and have no “teaching attention”. Certainly, Paris as a city provides many opprtunities of these kind of authentic interactions, because of the many cultural and social resources it offers.
Postcard(s) from Abroad:
Reflection on my language learning and intercultural gains:
My experience abroad was fruitful in terms of language learning and understanding of a new culture. My level of French substantially improved and I am able now to understand spoken language and to follow an easy conversation. Spending time in a language school has been important to understand what is involved in starting to acquire a new language.
Reflection on my summer language abroad experience overall:
I can certainly say that leaving in France for 5 weeks has enhanced my understanding of the benefits and difficulties involved in leaving another culture. Spending time with students and classmates there has been helpful in order to understand how different worldviews can actually meet and what it means to be able to share experiences with people from another country
How I plan to use my language and intercultural competences in the future:
I hope I will be able to take some French class during my years at Notre Dame and I am trying possible ways to keep up the language while I am here. I would like to go back to France when possible, because living there means a lot in terms of language acquisition. I will certainly be reading secondary literature in French and hopefully work with French literature during my PhD career.The possibility that I have been granted through the SLA program will certainly enhance my academic development and will have an impact at the moment of entering the job market, since I will be able to prove my familiarity with French language and culture.