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Hannah Shoemaker, Guilford College

18 Dec 2016

Hi, my name is Hannah! I’m in a French 201 class at a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. This semester is my first time using TalkAbroad, and I’ve had a lot of great experiences with it. For my class, we had to have six TalkAbroad conversations over the course of the semester. For me, this was a really scary experience at first. The last French class I had taken before this semester was a high school level class in which we had class discussions, but never talked to native French speakers. Thus, TalkAbroad was very new to me and also very nerve-racking.

I got a lot out of my TalkAbroad conversations. I had the pleasure of talking to Geneviève Bellerive for three out of my six conversations. I kept coming back to her. She was so wonderful to talk to, and I was amazed at how well we were able to communicate, despite my lack of French-speaking proficiency. I learned that we are alike in many different ways, with similar senses of humor, tastes in music, and passions. I absolutely loved talking to her and we had great moments. It was interesting to delve into the world of politics with her in one conversation and see a Canadian take on the 2016 U.S. national election. I felt a little nervous before each conversation with her, but as I became more comfortable speaking with her, my nerves faded. For me, it was extremely beneficial to talk with the same person multiple times because I felt I was able to speak more freely as we got to know each other.

TalkAbroad has benefitted my French-speaking skills immensely. I have learned how to think on my feet, understand French accents, and apply grammar rules I learn in class. I’m always proud when I can use a grammar element that I learned that week. I have seen myself progress over the course of this semester and I feel like TalkAbroad played a large role in this development. I hope to someday travel abroad for a semester to a French-speaking country and I now feel more confident that I would succeed in such an environment.