Learning a newlanguage is in practical terms the slow acquisition of words and phrases, buteach acquisition leads to richer conversation, enabling the learner to have newexperiences and see often familiar things from new perspectives. I havealways felt an affinity for Francophone language and culture. I was born inBelgium and exposed to a variety of languages and cultures from an early age.In A-Level French, I have been veryinterested by the idea of “Le Patrimoine”.
During extra reading of an articleby Graham Lea I learnt about the broader meaningof “Patrimoine” and how much it means to the French. I have learnt thatthe essence of Patrimoine can be described as something which grows fromgeneration to generation and has two facets. Firstly, things we can touch, suchas landscapes, art and architecture. Secondly, things we feel, such as dance,culture and cuisine.
For the French, “Patrimoine”seems to mean so much more than “heritage”.For my Individual Research Project, Iinvestigated the influence of Catherine De Medici on French cuisine (which in2010 was added to the UNESCO list of ‘intangible cultural heritage’). Sheintroduced many different foods as well as dinner etiquette which laterdeveloped into haute cuisine. It is this love of French culture which drives metowards wanting to live in a francophone country. I am really looking forward tomy year abroad in France.
I have also really enjoyed learningabout and watching French cinema. Recognising the quirks of different directorsgives real insight into the French way of thinking, I have particularly enjoyedthe work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet for his eclectic mix of films and how in everysad and dark scene, he almost hides little treasures and hints at the happinessbehind it, demonstrated in both ‘Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain’ and ‘Unlong dimanche de fiançailles’.The key to doing well in languages isto be a good communicator. I have shown my interest in this in mytheatre course through the study of gestus. Theatre has also opened my eyes tothe world of Gaston Leroux.
After performing inThe Phantom of The Opera I decided to read the original French script and wasinterested to find many little details lost through translation in the Englishproduction. This led me to research further and read a university thesis on theallusions and historical models in the play which explains the troubles oftranslating at the time since so many phrases are particular to the originallanguage (Mills, 2004). I have also attended a lecture by Dr GeoffreyRoger on ‘Comment le français est-il devenu la langue majoritaire en France?’at the University of London Institute in Paris and I was really interested in thelinguistic elements.In school I am a Lead LanguagesAmbassador, representing the Modern Foreign Languages Faculty. I have also beena prefect. As a keen participant in the performing arts I am a member of twosenior choirs and have also taken part in the recent school production of AMidsummer Night’s Dream.
I am currently raising funds for a World Challengeexpedition to Southern Africa next summer. Outside school playing rugby atcounty level has developed my team working skills in a different environment,as has my part-time employment both at the National Trust’s flagship propertyand as a team leader for an event catering company. I have given back to mycommunity by volunteering at a local hospice. My extracurricular activitiesmake me excited for what university has to offer and I look forward to joiningmany societies.I have shown my passion for the Frenchlanguage and my time management and independent study skills in my readingaround my French A level course which I would continue to show at university.Of course, languages are all about communication and I have always strived todo this well whether it be in class, on stage, on a rugby pitch or up amountain.