Gaining Fluency in a Second Foreign Language

By Anna Mukamal

Aix-en-Provence is the ideal locale for six weeks of immersing yourself in French culture and living with a host family. French is my second foreign language (I’m an English and Spanish double major) and this intensive course has been exactly what I need—the highlight of my experience has been gaining confidence in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing French! 

This photo shows me in front of one of Monet’s famous Water Lilies (or Nymphéas) paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, where we traveled last weekend on one of our program excursions. We’ve also visited Luberón, Avignon, la Valée de la Loire…and the list goes on! 

This challenging program has solidified the fact that one of my greatest joys in life is language learning, leading me to consider post-graduate fellowships that would help me achieve fluency in French before completing my PhD in English and becoming a university professor. 

My advice for students considering studying abroad is this: If you can at all swing it, go abroad for a semester (I became fluent in Spanish in Barcelona) and on a Duke-in summer program. My time in Aix and around France has been more valuable than a postcard’s brevity allows!


Duke in Aix-en-Provence
Summer 2016