Gaining Fluency in a Second Foreign Language

By Anna Mukamal

  • photo of Anna Mukamal at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris
Monet’s famous Water Lilies (or Nymphéas) paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris

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!

Anna Mukamal
Duke in Aix-en-Provence
Summer 2016

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Not only did my host mom help me with French, she became a good friend, and I always looked forward to our dinners and daily conversations. Before arriving in Paris, I did not anticipate that living with a homestay would play such an integral role in my study abroad experience. I still keep in touch with my host mom, and I am excited to visit her when I return to Paris in the future.

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Words That Don’t Translate: Flâner (French)

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The verb “flâner” is absolutely essential in Parisian culture, but lacks a real equivalent in English: my best approximation would be “to stroll contemplatively.” Some of my best memories are of calm moments with “livres de poche” in the elegant Jardin du Palais Royal or observing precocious French children in Parc Sainte-Perrine near my homestay. 

 

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Study Abroad in Paris Inspired My Senior Thesis and Plans for a Ph.D.

By Daniel Lam

I studied abroad during a year marked with several major moments in French history, including two violent attacks in the capital and one in Bataclan. I still remember my host dad reminding me that during hard times like this, though some people want to make religion or immigration the culprit, it is important to consider rights from wrongs and to stand together instead of to blame and divide.

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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!

Read More