Name: Kyle (Haejin) So
Location of Study: Brest, France
Program of Study: Ciel Bretagne
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Nanovic Institute for European Studies
Blog URL: http://sites.nd.edu/sla2016/author/hso/
A brief personal bio:
Hey y’all, my name is Kyle So. Although I’m from Gainesville, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C., I am forever faithful to the San Francisco 49ers (my grandpa’s favorite team). Since I was a kid, I have had this inexplicable fascination with French literature and history (particularly with Napoleon and his era). So I started taking French classes in 8th grade, and I even visited France as part of a student exchange. At Notre Dame, I started with AP credit, and have thus far taken three courses in French. Once I return from a summer and semester abroad, I plan on becoming a full French supplementary major.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Here at Notre Dame, as a rising Junior History major, I am intent on concentrating in French history (surprise surprise) and subsequently writing an honors thesis on the Revolutionary period of France. In short, the SLA grant is a huge opportunity for me to improve my French literacy, in order to be able to conduct original, in-depth historical research in my most desired field.
Even after college, I would like to pursue further research in French history and/or become a lawyer working in International Law. I am confident that my knowledge of the French language will remain both useful and pertinent no matter what I ultimately pursue as a career.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Although I have studied French since junior high (and for now three semesters here), my current reading pace and comprehension remain on a level at which I cannot efficiently analyze historical sources in their original language. As translations often lose the nuances of a text which can provide key evidence, my current ability would therefore be insufficient to produce quality writing in my desired field of history. Therefore, I plan to improve my overall familiarity with French grammar, vocabulary, and culture using this summer experience. I hope that my knowledge of each should reach a level that will significantly aid my work when using French source documents.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to confidently discuss academic topics (such as history and politics) in French.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to more quickly read historical French journals, books, and manuscripts.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to better recognize patterns, expressions, and stylistic elements in French writing.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to express my thoughts with greater sophistication when conversing French speakers.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
My professor explained that Brittany, provides an excellent example of French regionalism: the presence of distinct linguistic and cultural differences throughout the individual areas of France. So I really want to soak up all the culture that is Breton, as well as what is French. Thus, I plan on maximizing my experience in Brest by interacting with the local environment as much as possible. By that, I mean doing things like eating at uniquely Breton food places, exploring the city by myself, and traveling around the region. I even have a list of cool historical sites, museums, and scenic areas to see when I am there. Also, I hope to have a close, friendly relationship with my host family. By interacting with them each day, whether that be through meals or watching tv/movies, I should be able to pick up cultural mannerisms and everyday French things.