Stories

Stories

Summer in Québec City: A Q&A with Erin Gleason

April 17, 2019

A picture of Erin Gleason on a boat in Bay-Saint-Catherine whale watching

Major: Architecture
Minors: French & City and Regional Planning
Class of 2019

By Ana Mitchell

This past summer you studied in Québec City, Canada for five weeks. Can you tell us about your time abroad?

My time abroad was invaluable–  I know it’s said a lot, but living somewhere the language you are studying is spoken is truly so crucial to develop and refine your skills. And the chance to do it in such a beautiful city was an amazing opportunity! In Québec, we stayed at the Université Laval, where we took courses alongside students from all over the world. Some of the closest friends I made at the program were from Toronto, Mexico City, and Munich. Each day, we would have class from about 8:00 am until noon, and then there were tons of planned activities, such as cooking, hiking, and playing volleyball available at the university, or we could travel around the city and explore as we liked! It was a great balance of school work and the chance to relax, hangout, and experience the beautiful city of Québec.

Why did you choose this program in comparison to other French-language study abroad programs?

I chose the Summer French at Laval program because one of my French professors here, Gloria Torrini-Roblin, highly recommended it! It was a good length, and not too expensive either. I was able to drive there and back instead of fly. Further, the layout of the program having classes in the mornings and then afternoons and evenings free really appealed to me, and all of the extra activities that the Université Laval offered were an awesome bonus. 

Stories

Sarah J-Agyeman: Jumping the Hurdle

April 9, 2019

A photo of Sarah J-Agyeman walking the streets in Hong Kong, China


Majors: Chinese and International Business
Class of 2019

By Ana Mitchell

“The difference between learning a language and becoming fluent purely boils down to utilization,” described senior Sarah J-Agyeman. Pursuing a dual degree in Chinese and International Business, J-Agyeman has been learning languages all her life. She was born in the United States, but grew up in Ghana and New Zealand. By the time she was in high school, J-Agyeman could already speak three languages– English, Akan, and Ga.

The brain is a muscle that, like other muscles, need exercise in order to grow. “The brain is very attuned to learning languages if you’re exposed enough to it in your environment. As a second language learner, I can say that the number one thing I did to achieve fluency was to create a foreign language environment,” described J-Agyeman. Speaking, reading and writing, all utilize different parts of the brain that need to be equally trained, which is why she encourages language-learners to always make an effort to practice the target language, whether you’re good or bad.

Stories

Kathleen Fillingim: Creating Connections Through Languages

April 3, 2019

A photo of Kathleen Fillingim standing under a tree in Dakar, Senegal

Majors: French & Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability
Minor: City and Regional Planning
Class of 2019

By Ana Mitchell

“I love foreign languages because they can create relationships amongst members of different cultures and encourage opportunities for appreciation of diversity, support for equity, and respect for the unfamiliar,” described Kathleen Fillingim. A double major in French and Environment, Economics, Development and Sustainability (EEDS), Fillingim has had the opportunity to make connections abroad through French in Dakar, Senegal, as well as utilizing a basic understanding of Mandarin in Taipei, Taiwan.

In May of 2018, Fillingim studied abroad in Dakar, Senegal to enrich her French, though students of African American and African Studies and International Studies could also receive credit towards their majors or minors. She was seeking to expand her knowledge of Francophone countries beyond France, as her studies in high school focused primarily on France. “Too often, French programs focus on French culture and the Parisian French, while either completely ignoring or glossing over France’s huge problems—both historical and current— such as their role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, their current role of imbalanced power over their former colonies, and issues of racism and Islamophobia within the country today.” Luckily, Fillingim has found that courses at Ohio State, such as Francophone Literature and Francophone Cultures, have taught a more holistic and critical understanding of French culture and history.

Stories

Jenna Rodier: Interdisciplinary Innovation

March 27, 2019

A photo of Jenna Rodier in Tel Aviv, Israel with a view of the sea in the background

Major: Hebrew
Minors: Entreprenurship & Innovation, Theatre
Class of 2020

By Ana Mitchell

Most teenagers are just getting their license at age 16, but for junior Jenna Rodier, this was when she started her studies at Ohio State. Originally starting with a major in psychology with aspirations to become a child psychologist, Rodier found after a semester of courses she would rather pursue Hebrew, as she loved the courses and professors. She also saw a strong value majoring in a language, “I felt that Hebrew would give me a good background for a lot of different areas...it is really helpful because it gives you that perspective that does not only make you distinctive, but also gives you really great skills that you can use out in the real world.”

Ever since Rodier was a child, she recalled having a notebook of things she wanted to create, such as making her own bracelets and selling them. She would watch Shark Tank with her family, and much of the discussions at dinner would be about business, as her father owns his own law firm. These experiences influenced Rodier to pursue an entrepreneurship and innovation minor, as well as join the Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship Scholars. She finds her major in Hebrew with her minor in entrepreneurship as complementary— entrepreneurship has taught her strategies and knowledge of startups, while Hebrew has lended her a perspective of understanding and connecting with people.

Stories

A Lust for Languages: A Q&A with Emily Thongsavanh

March 20, 2019

A photo of Emily Thongsavanh playing a koto, a traditional 13-string Japanese instrument for a Koto Club performance at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan

Majors: Japanese and Spanish
Class of 2020

By Ana Mitchell

What made you interested in languages? Why did you pick a combination of Japanese and Spanish?

Although I am half-Chinese, half-American, my father’s side of the family speaks Lao, so as I was growing up, I also spoke it. Unfortunately, after starting school, I began to lose my ability to speak it and now I just barely scrape by understanding a few phrases and words. As I got older, I found myself desperately wanting to be able to speak Lao again, and it opened my eyes to the other languages and possibilities out there. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to express yourself in other tongues, and to be able to communicate with so many more people by using other languages. I’m able to learn different ways of thinking, cultural customs, and the values that are most important to certain groups of people. I chose Spanish because it was the language I began to involuntarily learn in middle school, but I fell in love with the rhythm and cadence of the language, as well as the various cultures. Moving into college, I chose Japanese because Japanese culture was fascinating to me, and the sound of the language itself is something so unique and beautiful to listen to. The combination may appear quite unique to some because the cultural habits can be so wildly varying between the two, but if one focuses on the sound of the languages, they are actually quite similar.

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