One of my favorite things in Aix was the market in the center of the town. I purchased the strawberries so often, the man who ran the stand had my order ready as soon as he saw me. He was always willing to speak to me in French (and even give a little chuckle during our first interaction when he asked if I was American after I stumbled over a couple of words). To me, this friendliness and patience, which was exhibited by the majority of people in Aix, set this experience apart. I felt incredibly welcomed, and it shocked me to realize how quickly I became comfortable with speaking to the locals.
In Aix, I learned that learning a new language is not just about the language, it is about immersing yourself into the culture and trying to learn from people to deepen one's overall understanding. It is about becoming unafraid and bold in expressing yourself in a different language. And it is about being grateful to the people that allow you to have the experience of studying in such a rich, immersive program, from your host family to your professors to your university. Because of Aix, I have decided to major in French because I cannot imagine my Duke career without another experience like this one.
Kayley Dotson '21
Psychology, French Studies