Natz, UIC B.A. in Architecture, 2023
Growing up with immigrant parents I was fortunate enough to learn Spanish and English simultaneously since birth. Since I had spoken both these languages for the entirety of my life I became curious about other cultures and given the opportunity I set out to learn French in high school because I knew at some point I wanted to go to France. Since I knew two languages prior to learning French it became easier for me to understand but I still struggled with minor details of the language because learning a new language is difficult.
After 3 years of taking French I was able to partake in an exchange program in 2017 through my high school and made a very special connection with my French Exchange Student. Through the 2 weeks she spent at my house, I made it my mission to practice my French as much as possible so I could truly benefit from the experience and have extra practice before I went to Figeac and Paris. I spent a total of 17 days in France and spoke as much French as I could and took in the different culture because that was the reason I wanted to learn French in the first place. I wanted to push myself to understand another culture and see everything this place had to offer.
Three years later and I am still learning more about French Culture and I am still in awe of the differences between the cultures I am accustomed to and this culture I have been learning about for the past six years. Through learning French I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and learned to communicate with others in a language that was not my native tongue. It has also pushed me to look into different study abroad programs so I can continue to push myself to use the language outside of the United States. Ultimately, French has made me look at the world in a different perspective and has made me curious about other world cultures that I can learn from.
At UIC I began taking French 104 fall semester of 2018. I kept taking French classes because every time I go to them the environment is very welcoming and everyone in the classes are serious about learning more of the language and in high school it was regarded more as a requirement than a passion. When I started tutoring French in the LCLC Language Peer Tutoring program, I felt very encouraged to keep on going with French to continue growing my skills in the language and through tutoring I have been able to help others with that as well. My experiences with French have always had a positive impact on me because it helps me understand a different culture and perspective of the world that I don’t think I would have had if I stopped pursuing the language.