Becoming Fluent in French Within 6 Weeks

Sylvia Rust Start Date: Oct 10, 2016 - End Date: Feb 9, 2017
  • Caen, France
  • Paris, France
  • Normandy, France

My Travel Story

by: Sylvia Rust Start Date: Oct 10, 2016 - End Date: Feb 9, 2017
Some people connect with others through their art, compassion, or knowledge, I; however, connect with others through words. I have always had a love for languages. Some of my childhood memories include my dad singing French lullabies to me or my mom singing Italian operas to my friends at birthday parties. When I was given the opportunity to study French in middle school, I did not give up that chance! Because my great-grandparents came from France in the late 1890s; and although, I never spoke French with them, but when I speak French now, I feel a part of my heritage is being preserved. Although French is my main language of focus, I am also interested in studying other languages and hearing others’ stories. My best friend’s mom, Lupe, has been in the United States illegally for thirty years, until recently. She never learned enough English to ask for help, obtain another work visa, or get a foot-up in this country. Speaking with her in Spanish makes both of us feel better about our connection in this world. My long-term goal is to become an immigration attorney. I crave to help people like Lupe succeed. As an immigration lawyer, I hope to be able to speak with my clients in various languages fluently, so there is nothing lost in translations and everything is understood perfectly for the both of us. I believe that going somewhere where my native language is not spoken often will help me have empathy with my future clients.

I would love to be an example for other under-privileged students that are interested in studying abroad. I propose to present to lower-level international language students about the opportunities that are out there for them, despite their financial situations. I never would have thought that I would be able go to France to study while I was in college, although it’s always been a dream of mine. I will do presentations for my language department at Indiana-University Purdue-University Fort Wayne. I would reserve time for students to talk to me if they have any questions about the scholarship that I received. I have worked out with my French professor on campus to go to her classes and give two presentations to her each of her classes to help them become interested and informed about the opportunities out there for them. I plan to go to the high schools in my city and give presentations in history, English second language, and international language classes. I would like to meet with other organizations around campus that are not history or international language based because it’s important to me that people from all departments get out and explore the world.

The reason I chose to study French is because speaking French makes me feel like I am at home. I can see myself telling my future children, “Ecoutez-moi!” I have always felt like a part of me is in France, but because of financial and logistics, I have never had the opportunity to explore the land and find myself. I hope to become more fluent in France and be more confident in my ability to say the phrases on the tip of my tongue without feel like I’m going to say something wrong. I chose to go to France for my study abroad because not only is France my homeland, but it is also a perfect place for a history buff like myself. I will be staying in Caen, Normandy, the city in which the Americans docked their boats on D-Day. The excursions will be amazing. What I am looking forward most; however, is that one of my modules at the Universite de Caen will be on the history of Caen and World War II. Taking a class about the war in the place the blood was shed will allow for more of a kinesthetic learning atmosphere.  

The study abroad program I will be going on is a faculty-led, six-week immersion summer program. There will be French lessons in the morning and in the afternoon, I will be in modules taught in French by professors at the Universite de Caen. Not only will I be able to take courses with French professors, but we will also be doing four excursions in Normandy that most tourists aren’t able to see.  I will be with students from all over the world, and our common language will most likely be French. I chose this program because the idea of being immersed in French culture and language will be a dream come true and because of my financial situation, the six-week program is more affordable for me. Ihe French courses I will be taking would be a full year worth of classes at my university. I think it’s such a good opportunity to increase my oral French ability and to lower my college debt by getting that year of French out of the way. I love that this study abroad program challenges students to speak primarily French. I can just imagine the development of my conversational French now!

Along with the coursework, I am looking forward to the idea of doing a home-stay with a local family in Caen. I really hope that I can become a part of a French family and connect with them like I have with others. I am also looking forward to being able to eat meals with them. I think it will be so awesome to have a home away from home, especially if I can share stories of my own family and our French history.

Going to study abroad is a dream come true. I never thought I’d have the courage or the money to go to another country and study! Without the 21st Century Scholars scholarship, an Indiana based scholarship for low-income students with good grades, I’m not sure that I would have been able to go to university at all. I work a part-time, minimum wage job on campus, but I am saving what I can to pay my way to Caen.  I have been very fortunate that I have been graced with a good brain and self-will. My parents have their own lives, each owning their own businesses and having ever-blooming hobbies. They have never really pushed me to do anything out of the ordinary, but I have tried to push myself to be more than what anyone has expected me to be. I have been to two national competitions, one science based and the other government based. I am proud to have grown up with little parental supervision, in not so friendly environments, to allow me to become strong and cultured. I want to share who I am with a family in France and my immigrant clients in the future. I want to be more than I think I am.

  • Caen, France
  • Paris, France
  • Normandy, France

Adventure Registry

  • Suitcase

  • Camera

  • Scholarship (will know 2/17)

  • Food for 2 months