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Beyond the Law: Crossing Borders

France is a country located in Western Europe which boasts fine cuisine, spectacular historical landmarks and fine art. Its capital, Paris, affectionately known as the City of Lights, is widely recognised as a fashion capital of the world apart from Milan, New York and London. Its highly distinguished culture is not only concentrated in Europe, but it has spread to various parts of the world. Whether it is the aroma of a chocolate soufflé or pictures of Gothic-based buildings like the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, these all ring with the richness of French culture. 

Another captivating fact regarding the French is that they hold egalitarian values very seriously, believing that everyone has equal rights. This facet of France was one of the main reasons that attracted me to undergo the free 10-day online language course offered by Taylor’s University, to further explore the French language and by extension, their rich history and culture. 

The first day of French class started off with learning the basics of salutations. Throughout the course, the focus shifted to learning about the French culture, geography, numbers, days of the week, seasons, calendar months and even how to address family members. We were given quizzes to test our knowledge on the daily activities done and the videos watched. There were audios in French to test the students as well. 

As a new learner, challenges such as trying to pronounce the French words correctly and adapting to typing with specific punctuations were definitely present. I resorted to sources such as Google translate and dictionaries which helped me to increase my vocabulary and have a tighter grasp of the language. 

Further, it is also an interesting fact that in contrast to the English language which I grew up speaking in my household, the French language has more nasal sounds and some of the words used in French are gender-sensitive. For example, computers are considered to be masculine and chairs are referred to as a feminine item. Certain words such as adjectives are also classified into the masculine and feminine categories. 

Over time, I learned to read and speak French more fluently. The 9 days worth of French learning has made me more confident when it comes to recognising words and scrutinising for details such as whether or not to pronounce the ‘s’ or ‘e’ at the end of the words and identifying singulars and plurals. The ultimate test was on the tenth day of the course where we were to participate in an activity that required us to introduce ourselves in French. It was daunting but fun at the same time. 

Although it was a short 10-day course, it was definitely a very rewarding experience to have a taste of learning French while juggling my undergraduate degree modules. Not only has it allowed me to hone my time management skills, but it has also helped me to improve myself. Earning the e-certificate reminded me of all the effort put into the course and how important it is to be resilient when faced with challenges. As they say in French, Fais toujours de ton mieux même si personne ne regarde (Always do your best even if no one’s looking.)

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