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Weaving Music with French

Sophia Wright
June 7, 2018

Portrait of Sophia Wright.

Portrait of Sophia Wright.
Photo by Jacob Van Blarcom, CLAgency student

Major: Double major in French and music with academic emphasis.

Graduation Year: Spring 2019

What was your immersion experience?

I started my French immersion education in kindergarten at a French immersion school in Edina called Normandale Elementary. We began with basic vocabulary development in the early years, then transitioned into grammar and syntax. By fourth and fifth grade, we had the language skills to study French and francophone culture. We learned all of our subjects in French, including math, science, and social studies. It was rigorous, but all the students learned to achieve at a high level of expectation.

What is something you found challenging about your immersion experience?

What I found most challenging was the transition from full immersion to the “extended” immersion. Basically, the elementary school grades (K-5) were in complete immersion. When we moved to middle school, we joined other students from non-immersion elementary schools, and eventually with even more of these students in high school. We took fewer French classes and followed more courses in English.

Taking language arts and math classes in English was difficult for a lot of us at first, including me. We had fallen behind in English and knew a lot of French vocabulary that we didn’t know how to translate. When we eventually caught up, however, we excelled in these other courses because of our French background.

How you do apply your immersion experience to your everyday activities and/or studies?

My knowledge of the French language and France’s history as a culture and a country has helped me immensely in my music and art studies. France produced so many writers, poets, composers, cinematographers, and painters, and I am able to draw connections between different art forms and different time periods to create a clearer picture of Western history. It’s fun to know stuff!

In what ways has your immersion experience prepared you for where you want to go and what you want to do next?

I’m not sure where I want to go or what I want to do next. It is unlikely that I will pursue academia or a career in French, but that’s not the point. I aim to be a well-rounded, curious, and knowledgeable individual, and having French as a tool to open up the world will no doubt prove itself useful in whatever I choose to do.

This story is part of a larger article. Read more at Diverse Immersion Experiences Give Students an Edge.

This story was written by an undergraduate student account executive in CLAgency. Meet the team.