Susan Haigh ('14)
International Studies and French Majors
Studio Art Minor
Class of 2014
Study in Rennes, France
The first two years of college I changed my major three times and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after college. My freshman year I did not understand the value that my French studies would eventually bring to my life, so I even tried to drop out of my French class. Luckily, my French professor at the time, Madame Larsen, encouraged me to continue my French studies and convinced me to stay in her class.
One thing I did know coming into college was that I definitely wanted to study abroad. I had always had this desire, but I had no idea how much knowing a foreign language would enhance my abroad experience. In the fall of my junior year, I studied in Rennes, France. My passion for the French language and culture deepened so much during this experience. I finally put to use the past seven years I had studied French by living with a host family, developing many French friendships, and taking all my courses in French. Communicating in another language is such an amazing skill that allows me to relate to people of another culture that have an entirely different perspective. I learned so much from the French people through taking four months to leave behind all my leadership commitments in the U.S. as well as my academic responsibilities. It was a chance to truly follow instead of lead and in doing so I learned so much from a different way of life, way of speaking, culture, and history.
Through my study abroad experience and the continuation of my French studies at Hope, I feel better prepared to confidently enter the professional world when I graduate in a year. I have a much better understanding of the global society and I am aware of the vast differences and similarities that can exist between cultures. By living in France and being a French major at Hope, I also now have a very different perspective on the U.S. and American culture. After I graduate, I would like to return to France in order to hopefully master my French language skills, deepen my ability to communicate across cultural barriers, and gain further international experience. Eventually, I would like to apply my passion for cross-cultural communication, the French language, and social justice through using my French in a international organization, governmental or non-governmental, that works with multinational issues of social injustice and/or human rights. If I decide to focus solely on my French studies, I would be open to working in a French immersion school in the U.S.