June 1, 2017
I know I’m a bit late in writing my second blog, but I figured better late than never!
One of the things I love most about my internship is that I get to meet so many new people every day. I get to ask them about their background, their goals, their experiences, and their thoughts and opinions on anything we can think to talk about. A lot of the time we find several things in common between us, and this helps us become more acquainted with each other. Although I do find myself asking the students similar questions each day, each person is different, so the responses have always varied. Having to start and lead a conversation everyday in a language that I am still learning has definitely helped me to be more confident in carrying conversations and approaching people.
Sometimes I come across students who are too nervous for their exams and are not in the mood for a conversation. Other times I interact with students who become intrigued when they learn I’m from America, and this leads to questions and conversations about our different cultures and experiences. I always have the most fun in these conversations.
Something that I did not expect to encounter (and sometimes find frustrating) is how hard it is to keep a conversation going in French. This has not just happened during my internship, but also when I go to the grocery store, ask for directions, etc. Many times, as soon as someone hears my accent (even though I am speaking in French) they instantly tell me “I can speak English”. I am happy that they are willing to speak English to make the conversation clearer, but if I continue to speak English with everyone that I interact with, I will not improve my French. At the same time, not everyone has the time or patience to listen to my broken French while they are more fluent in English, so I understand where they are coming from. After a couple weeks of experiencing this, I know that this situation is unavoidable. I have just learned to say “I would prefer to practice my French,” and most of the time the person I am speaking with is willing to help me practice instead of speaking English. I think this is also very culturally different from America, because, most of the time, Americans are telling others “you’re in America, speak English!” while in France the citizens are eager to speak to others in their most comfortable language (granted that they can speak the language).
Lastly, I’ve attached a photo of me while at work. I’d like to think that I should be the new face of KEDGE’s brochures.