Collin, French Academy Student
For Collin, his proudest accomplishment was being able to stay in language 24/7—in the dorm, during activities, in the dining hall—not just in the classroom.
“It's been fun. It's been really fun. We do a lot, and there's not much free time, but the things we do are quite fun. I enjoy speaking in language. I really enjoy that the vast majority of people try to stay in language 100% of the time. The first day after I signed the Language Pledge® was an experience. Everybody was trying to figure out, OK how do I say this in French? And it took a lot of thinking to kind of get things out. So I would say that the first day went slowly because everybody was thinking, thinking, all right now I can say this.
“I really do think it is important to learn a second language because we live in a world where there are quite literally hundreds of languages spoken and if you can only speak one, you're really limited to what you can do.
“If you want to get to know people, you can't just rely on your English. You need to be able to relate with them in their language. They're a lot more willing to accept you and share with you. The immersion experience, I love it personally. Sometimes it can be difficult because it's not my first language. I'm still learning, so sometimes yes, I have to take a minute to think about what I'm wanting to say. It gets easier to think in French and instead of all right, I think of this in English, translate it in my head, now say it, you can kind of skip the intermediate step and just start speaking with everybody.
“I've tried to stay in language absolutely as much as possible. I'd definitely say that my proudest accomplishment is being able to stay in language. Sharing a common space, sharing the large bathroom with all the guys, having a roommate, it's definitely an experience that I enjoy because it kind of brings everybody close together. It's kind of like all right, here's your family for the next month. Get used to it. I enjoy that.”