At age thirteen I wished for nothing more than to be that classic French femme you see in every movie. Dress style completely a la mode with a pain au chocolat in hand on her morning commute through the Parisian metro. (As you’ll come to see – I had a lot of dreamy language phases).
I began teaching myself the language by borrowing a stack of books simply out of interest from my primary school library. I loved the fact that I could recognize a large number of words already or at least guess what they meant and
out of pure love of the way the language was pieced together, the culture and of course, my cliché Paris dream, I studied French all throughout high school.
This gave me the possibility to attend French conferences, school events and meet other French speakers from all around the world which introduced me to an incomparable cultural universe. French lessons were a cultural journey into the world of arts, gastronomy and famous writers and in 2013 I received a scholarship to study the language at University. In high school I had been accelerated to grade above and could decide whether or not to start University at 16 or continue with subjects at school – a lover of new challenges, of course I chose the former!
My dream at the time was to work for either the European Union or UN and French is an essential language to know for anyone considering a career in an international organization but learning French also gave me some of the best travel experiences of my life. Learning the language brings with it a new melody and skills in the language of love. Known as an analytical language, knowing French allows you to train your skills in critical thinking because the language is uniquely structured, you’re brain is forced to construct statements and tenses in a new way.
At 17, instead of the classic beach party “Schoolies” every high school graduate attends, I set out to discover France, Germany and Austria on my own. On the second leg of my 29 hours of travel, I sat next to a Parisian born man who told me all there was to see and do in Paris and along with a beautiful love story as to how he had fallen in love with his wife at only 15 (and had been together ever since), offered to show me sides of Paris no other tourist ever got to see.
At Charles-de-Gaulle airport the three of us exchanged numbers and a few days later, I found myself in the old town of Provins where I tried my very first Escargots. I tried the best French cuisine in Albi and Paris and can’t stress enough what an entirely different French travel experience you get with the ability to speak French - no longer do you under the category of ‘the ignorant tourist’ but are accepted into the daily lifestyle of the French.