Post-Program Reflections

Reflect on your language learning and acculturation during your SLA experience. What insights did you gain into the language acquisition process? How did you engage and understand cultural differences? Did you meet your goals for language learning that you articulated on the blog before you started your program? Why or why not?

My first goal was to be ready to enter the Intermediate Greek course here at Notre Dame, which I will be starting next week and looking at the book list, I feel prepared for. My second goal was to be able to read original texts by Attic Greek authors, which I accomplished in the last two weeks of this course, we read Lysias I, On the Murder of Eratosthenes. My third goal was a struggle at times with the intensiveness of the course. Luckily, a classmate in this course has been a Latin teacher for over thirty years now and her experiences with pedagogy meant that she was able to help me immensely in our studying. We talked about the different methods for studying vocab, how different people learn and master languages through different methods, and how students manage intensive study. My fourth goal was exceeded with how much I learned — about Athens from afar and Ireland up close — and how much I enjoyed my summer study.

Reflect on your SLA experience overall. What insights have you brought back as a result of this experience? How has your summer language abroad changed you and/or your worldview? What advice would you give to someone who was considering applying for an SLA Grant or preparing to start their own summer language study?

This summer was my first time being on my own and spending a significant amount of time in a foreign country, which was a big adjustment as I expected. It helped that I was taking classes and living on the university campus, but I learned about how different the American college experience is than that of Ireland as well as the cultural differences from my classmates and other people I met. My perspective changed as a result of not just encountering, but participating and celebrating a culture distinct from my own. 

My key to learning Ancient Greek was my previous experience in the Latin courses here at Notre Dame. I came into the course with no knowledge of the language itself, but with an understanding of the noun declensions, verb tenses, and how much work this course would require of me. One of my professors here once said that it takes a certain person and a certain mindset to dedicate an entire summer to one language and now I understand what she meant by that. If you have the passion and the drive, I can’t imagine a better way to engage with a language than this.

How do you plan to use your language and intercultural competences in the future? Where do you go from here? How will you maintain, grow and/or apply what you have learned? How might you use your SLA experience during the rest of your academic career and post-graduation? How will your SLA experience inform you as you move forward academically, personally and professionally?

I’m really looking forward to the Intermediate Greek course I’ll be taking this semester and next semester, I’ll be studying abroad in Rome at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies. I’m looking forward to starting new material with a different group of students and continuing from where I left off in this course. By spending this summer in class, I won’t be dusting off cobwebs from my brain, but I’ve had enough time to feel refreshed for another semester of classes. The study skills that I continue to adjust and develop with each semester will serve me well in the second half of my college career. And I will carry the lessons I learned outside of the classroom with me for the rest of my life, as well as the friendships formed. My time in Ireland and this summer of study have changed my perspective on the world as a whole and me myself as an individual.