Learning Abroad Opens Doors
French minor Anika Hauk knew she wanted to study in France. That dream became a reality in fall 2018 when she spent a semester in Montpellier. This experience helped her improve her speaking skills and gave her the confidence to explore international career opportunities.
What was your study abroad experience like?
I spent the fall 2018 semester in Montpellier, a college town on the French Riviera. I took five classes at Université Paul-Valéry and all of them were in French. I chose to stay with a host family to get as much language-learning experience as possible. I spoke French daily with my host family and any time I went to a restaurant or café.
How has the experience of studying another language affected your personal life, education, and career trajectory?
Studying French is a favorite hobby of mine, so it made sense for me to have it as a minor. Career-wise, it opens up more possibilities for me as I have more ability to work abroad or work with others across the globe. In general, studying French language and culture makes me feel more like a citizen of the world, giving me an easy way to glimpse into the perspectives of different types of people.
Aside from the language immersion piece, what I value most out of my time learning abroad is the experience I had as a foreigner. Because of this I understand a little better what exchange students at UMN are going through. Before I went to France I didn’t really think about that.
What advice would you give to other students who are considering learning abroad?
Try to know as much about yourself as possible before choosing housing. I chose a host family thinking that was the only way to get to practice my French, even though I knew it’d be hard for me to live with a family, as I’m very independent and live spontaneously. I wish I would have known that there are other opportunities, such as internships, conversation hours, everyday life, and classes, that all give you lots of practice too!
This interview was conducted by an undergraduate student in CLAgency. Meet the team.