Monday, February 8, 2010

Tips from a Former Student

April Graham, an International Business and French major '06, has used her French in the hotel business and is now applying to a graduate study program in Anthropology, hoping to use French in a service career where she helps immigrants to the US. She has submitted the following tips for new students of language at Jewell.

Studying French at Jewell was enjoyable and has helped me tremendously since graduation in both my work and in travel. In retrospect, there are a few things I should have done differently and would like to share these tips in the hopes that others will benefit from them:
  1. Don't try to cram for language tests or reading/writing assignments. Dedicate ample time and effort to really learning the language.
  2. Learn the culture that the language is spoken in. Knowing the words of the language is of little importance if you fail to understand the real meaning of the words in their cultural context.
  3. 70% of communication is done through body language. Make sure you study and practice appropriate body language to correspond with phrases and situations; it is of the greatest importance to really communicating in a foreign language.
  4. Practice speaking the language at every opportunity. You may be able to read it and write it, but none of that will matter if you are not comfortable speaking it.
  5. Don't be afraid to make a mistake--or to sound like an idiot. You will not be the first or last person to make the same error.
Learning a foreign language isn't easy but it is rewarding. When you can speak another language and understand another culture, you double the size of your world and your opportunities for succeeding in it. Appreciate the high quality of education at Jewell and make every moment count!

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