From URG to ULG: A Summer in North Africa

This past year I won a grant to study French in Morocco. The office of Undergraduate Research’s “Undergraduate Language Grant” is going to help me go the extra mile in my language learning.

I first wanted to learn French when I was in the second grade. Somehow, I remember talking with my mom about languages. I had just learned that not everyone lived their life in English, and that my mom had studied French when she was in school, but didn’t remember it. When I went into school the next day, I went to my library and asked the librarian if they had any books in French.
I found one about the circus. I remember looking down at the page and trying to pronounce the words, and my teacher came over and just laughed a little and said, “Wow you really don’t know how to speak French, do you?”

(Looking back, she was so rude for that)!

But it didn’t kill my curiosity. I studied French in middle school, but my language classes weren’t very good. I didn’t learn much more than my numbers and colors. I was still determined, though. Whenever I read about powerful women in history: Cleopatra, La Malinche, Sacajawea, all of them spoke multiple languages and were instrumental to their moments in history. I wanted to be like that. In high school, I studied Spanish because it was the only language available. Now, in college, I have gotten further in French than I ever have before, and further in my language learning in general.

Make no mistake, learning a foreign language is a frustrating, grueling process, full of repetition and idioms. Languages love to break their own rules. Even if you learn something is grammatically correct, it may still not make sense to a native speaker. But it’s okay! It’s not an impossible to learn another language, just difficult, and it gets better over time.

I’m currently at an intermediate level in French. By the end of the summer, I hope to be able to say that I’m advanced.

So the whole point of this post is to say: this blog lives! I am going to be adding to it over the summer, documenting my experiences in Morocco as a participant in the Lankey 8 week program. I hope you will stay tuned in.