Rediscovering my First Passions in my Second Language

Although I have been studying French for eight years, no class or experience in America compares to the authentic lessons I’ve had this summer while studying abroad and incorporating conversations with native speakers into my daily routine. One of the aspects that drew me to the UMKC Study Abroad program specifically was the diversity and speciality of the classes. At L’Université de Lumière Lyon 2, students can choose electives that help them learn vocabulary that relates specifically to their interests, so that they can have all the words to talk about what they enjoy.

This past week, I found out that I met my goal of getting into the advanced French Literature class. Just so you know— one of my goals is to someday be a translator, translating novels originally written in French into English. I also want to be a travel writer, using my knowledge of French to write articles about French speaking regions and to interview interesting French people. Literature has always been my first passion, but the emergence of more careers like these have given me ideas about how to use both of my talents.
So far in my literature class, I have studied the writing of three of the most well-known French writers, and I’ve tried to imitate their style in poems, stories, and even screen plays. I am also reading the Harry Potter books in French in my (extremely rare) downtime. Interesting fact: the French phrase for “magic wand” is “magic baguette.”

I have also been able to learn about French culture, and have specifically enjoyed getting to see French theatre. Theatre is another big part of my life in the US, and I’m thrilled that it’s been part of my six weeks in Lyon. Last night I saw a play with my friend Taylor. It was very unique because the audience members walked through the set, including several gardens and a haunted castle, to personally participate in the story. Tomorrow I’m going to see Guignol, a famous French puppet show that the region of Lyon is specifically known for. And next week my host family is taking me to a musical!
 One of the most helpful pieces of advice I can give to anyone participating in a study abroad program is to do more than just the typical tourist things. Yes, those are important, exciting, and a great introduction to traveling, but it’s even better to then seek out opportunities that reflect what you love. Whether it’s theatre, art, athleticism, or fashion, there’s something unique for you… go out and find it!

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