Sarah, UIC M.A. in French, 2011
I began learning French in Middle School and quickly discovered that language learning was something that interested me. After visiting France in a study abroad program during my undergraduate years, I decided to make French my focus. I enrolled at UIC’s MA program in French and Francophone Literature, and I could not be more thankful I had this chance. During my second year of the UIC MA, I lived in Paris through an exchange program. I was able to attend Masters level classes at La Sorbonne Nouvelle and teach English at a high school in Paris. This year was, without a doubt, life-changing in my career in French. I had access to original works of literature at the Bibliothèque Francois Mitterrand while I was researching for my MA exams. I was 100% immersed in the French language and culture through my studies. I was also able to share my American culture and language with French high school students while working as a Language Assistant. Once I arrived back in the United States (and overcame my intense culture shock), I decided that working in a French educational setting would be the best way for me to use my skills in the language while inspiring other young people to adopt a passion for French like me. Throughout my professional experience in French schools in the Chicago area, I have learned what language acquisition looks like for young children. I have also learned what it means to work with people of different backgrounds. I am now Assistant to the Director of Extracurricular Programs at the Lycée Français de Chicago, where I use my French every day. I coordinate the daily extracurricular activities at the Lycée Français and help to organize and run our summer camp. The friendships I have gained throughout my entire career in French are priceless, and this is perhaps the most valuable benefit from learning a foreign language.