Alexa’s Study Abroad Journal: David Lynch, iPhones and French in NYC Schools

My application is officially finished! On Friday, I popped in the study abroad office to drop off my transcript on my way back from class. I had to wait until my fall/winter semester grades were finalized to order and receive it, snail-mail style. You’d think this would be unnecessary considering my application is digital, and our grades are available online, but whatever. I made a 4.0 in the past two semesters (woo), so I’m hoping that’s what they want to see. Whoever “they” are.

I then emailed Lauren, my study abroad advisor to let her know I’m done, I think, with everything, and what should I be doing now? With this last bit out of the way, I’m free to … break my 40-day streak on Duolingo. Oops. (Take me back, Duo! I promise I’ll change!). In French class last week, we argued about the usage of the word “qui” for half an hour. I seriously pondered my placement in the class level for about two minutes. Francesca ended class by showing us a completely unrelated 30-second clip of David Lynch explaining why you can’t watch a movie “on your fucking telephone, get real,” and my love for her was restored.

So, life is good. I’m really enjoying my Food Journalism class as well. One of our assignments later in the semester is that each of us will be tasked with making a major dietary change– whether it be going vegan, living on food stamps, or (I was thinking) eating solely traditional French foods. I’ve been playing around with the idea, but I think it might be a little more authentic once I actually get to Paris.

I read a really interesting New York Times article last week called “A Big Advocate of French in New York’s Schools: France”. Basically, France’s government, plus a few American donors, are funding a dual-language program (half of the classes in English, the other half in French) for the city’s public school system. About 84,000 New Yorkers (1.1% of the city’s population) primarily speak French, according to the Census Bureau. It currently reaches about 1,000 students from eight schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The goal is to expand to 7,000 students, K-12, within five years. Kirk Semple of the NYT writes that the campaign to expand the program “seems to resonate with a certain existential importance for France.” The part that seemed to resonate with me, though, was this:

“Parents, teachers and program administrators cite a range of reasons for the success of the French program in the New York public schools, including the desire among multinational families to be able to move comfortably among cultures and languages and the advantages of multilingualism in an increasingly globalized world, particularly for a student’s future employment prospects. Some point to recent studies suggesting that bilingualism can improve cognitive skills and the brain’s health.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Vivre la révolution!


Link to the David Lynch clip: http://youtu.be/wKiIroiCvZ0

Link to the NYT article: http://nyti.ms/1feHmKm


Alexa Wybraniec

Alexa studies journalism, media and French at Rutgers University. She is abroad at Sciences Po for her third year of college. Check back every other Monday for a new post and connect on Twitter.