A Postcard from Dr. Valérie Masson, French
Students love to ask me how I came to Texas. The fact that a Parisian like myself found herself in San Marcos seems to them fascinating.
I have to admit that I also enjoy exploring with the students the connections between these two very different cultures, where they diverge fundamentally and their points of intersection. Through the study of the French language and culture, I try to bridge the gap of incomprehension or prejudice that arise too often in front of a different culture to one’s own. The students gradually appropriate the linguistic tools to express themselves in French in ways that are culturally appropriate and demonstrate respect for the other culture. I cannot think of a more fulfilling job that fostering communication and respect between two cultures and people that I cherish.
The activities that we offer in the French program outside of class (i.e. the French film series, the French Club etc..), promote as well a sense of community between the students and offer them opportunities to engage and have fun with the language.
The ability to communicate through genuine human interactions, as it is the case during these activities on campus or in France during the summer abroad program, are experiences that no screen and online translation will ever be able to provide. And again, since you never know where opportunities will lead you, better start now learning French!