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Pretty Sunset

Bonjour! This term, I have been learning a bit of French as I am also trying to fulfill my language requirement along the way. Here's an overview on my experience with learning a new language at Dartmouth so far:

Although I came in with credit from the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam in high school, Dartmouth changed the language requirement starting with the '26s as we are now required to take at least one language course as part of the graduation requirement. Rest assured, there are a variety of language pathways that range from having absolutely no language experience in another language to being fully fluent in a language other than English; students usually either take the full 1-3 introductory sequence of a language, or dive into a more advanced course. Additionally, language learning also comes with a series of different opportunities to fulfill this requirement whether that's studying abroad or in Hanover. 

With a multitude of languages that range from Hebrew to Ancient Greek to Mandarin to Spanish, I decided to take French out of interest and curiosity as French is the second most spoken language up here in the New England region, so I thought it would be useful to have some level of understanding in this language. Here at Dartmouth, languages are taught using the Rassias Method, which is a language learning technique for students to get acquainted with a language in a short period of time. With this being said, although I have French three times a week, that comes with also a "drill" component outside of class, which is when you work with a student drill instructor through a series of fast-paced activities that help with pronunciation through repetition — my French drill is 3 times a week at 3:30 pm, so Hannah, my drill instructor, often conducts drill outside as we also get the chance to soak up the sun on a nice beautiful afternoon.

My experience with French has been a quite challenging due to my background in Spanish, which has confused me especially with pronunciation and mixing up a few "cushion" words that make a sentence more cohesive. Additionally, language learning is also very fast paced due to compacting a lot of material in ten weeks, which means a lot of my time has been spent on French work. However, thanks to the Academic Skills Center, I was also able to request a peer tutor for French, who works 1-on-1 with me for one hour a week (and free!). I usually have either a written production assignment or a comprehensive exam every Friday, so I try to work with Ryantony, my French tutor (and also someone I met during my access days last April) the day before in order to prepare for my exams; Ryantony has been so much help as I'm feeling a lot more comfortable in understanding French and familiar with techniques for me to do better in the class.  

In all, although learning a new language is quite intensive at Dartmouth, it's a worthwhile experience as a more modernized approach to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the world and the cultural diversity here at Dartmouth.

P.S. - Enjoy the beautiful sunset header photo — easily one of my favorite aspects of spring term. 

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