Qu’avez-vous fait cet été? (What did you do this summer?)


Nadia Park

Cite Universitaire where Park studied French.

City lights. Metro stations. The Eiffel Tower. These things became part of Dublin High junior Nadia Park’s world when she spent five weeks studying the language of French in France.

Last summer, Park attended the prestigious Sorbonne University for a high school study abroad program, meeting people from all over the world as she fostered her appreciation and skills in French. Applying, Park was more excited than nervous at the prospect of actually becoming fluent in an European language and immersing herself into the culture at the heart of Paris.

However, even the abundance of support and advice from her French teachers at Dublin High could not prepare her for the cultural shock.

“Just imagine a foreign person just traveling without knowing a single word, suffering their way through because of the lack of communication,” Park says. “That was basically me.”

Struggles eventually became challenges which evolved into just everyday life. Park believes that “the ability to understand and blend in with the setting slowly comes.”

Along with the education aspect of the study abroad, Park got the chance to explore famous tourist attractions– the Musee d’Orsay, Louvre, Eiffel Tower–all under the convenience of actually living there. Nightly excursions gave her plenty of opportunities to view Paris in its night-life splendor. Food consisted of baguettes, crepes, and other French treats. Friendships were formed and French-speaking prospered. For over a month, Paris was Park’s home.

“I was able to learn more cultural differences and how to adapt to changes.” Park believes. “I was able to pick up words and understand public announcements and almost all of what my professor was explaining in class.”

Now, Park continues to explore her interests in languages in Dublin High, saying that “the French teachers are very willing to support my interest in French and do as much as they possibly can to help me.” In addition, this experience has helped flourish Park’s love for language.

Park is also fluent—if not nearly—in Japanese and Korean.

“Being able to understand different languages in such an ethnically diverse school helps me understand more cultures and therefore, it supports my will to move forward with studying languages.” Park says.