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Nicole Vezina, Michigan State University Part 2

19 March 2019

Recently I had my second TalkAbroad dialogue as a French 202 student at Michigan State University. Before the dialogue, I took time to reflect on what I had learned since the first dialogue I had with my partner. I had such a beneficial experience with her that I decided to have my second dialogue with her too, although the other TalkAbroad partners seemed just as qualified! My goals for this dialogue were to rely on my pre-written questions less and to slow down and focus on my grammar. Aside from these personal goals, I was assigned with the task of asking my partner about her family, including her family’s values, her childhood, and her definition of a family itself. Certainly, a task worth slowing down on my passé composé! Just like my first dialogue, I prepared myself for my dialogue by writing out a general outline for where I intended for the conversation to go, which proves especially helpful when the conversation begins to expand deeper.

Again, one of my favorite parts of my dialogue with my TalkAbroad partner was when the conversation shifted from general family values to deeper conversations about what we thought the differences were between American and Canadian families, particularly in the roles of men and women in the household and how it’s changing with the definition of a family itself. This was extremely interesting to me because it almost made me forget that I was speaking in French at all. Throughout these parts of our conversation, I felt like I could apply the language I have learned to actually communicate more “real life” dialogues with a partner instead of general prompted questions.

After the conversation, I was again eager to listen to the dialogue again with the free downloadable audio file of my conversation from TalkAbroad. As a student majoring in the sciences, I usually tend to look at my language learning from a more analytical approach than some of my colleagues probably do. For this reason, I listened to the dialogue over again after a few days away to see if I could comprehend new parts of the dialogue that I couldn’t in the moment. Sure enough, I was able to connect the dots between what I thought I heard and what was actually said. I find this to be an incredibly useful skill in tracking my comprehension of the French language. I could tell from my first dialogue to the second that my ability to comprehend my partner had significantly improved and I was able to respond more quickly and confidently as a result. With one more TalkAbroad dialogue left in my French 202 curriculum, I am motivated and excited to continue to build off of what I have learned from my second conversation with my TalkAbroad partner and see where my French speaking can take me.