The Journey of Learning a Foreign Language


Erika Araujo (11) and Lauren Kamykowski (11) were both accepted into Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Language and will both study abroad in France for the summer. They both had gotten news of their acceptance in January.

Ayah Eid

Once in a language course for three years, more than 250 students are given the opportunity to spend their summer abroad.  

“You have to be a sophomore, junior or senior with a level three or higher in the class, so Spanish, French or German 3 students can apply,” Erika Araujo (11) said.

Students must undergo a lengthy application process in order to be considered for the trip, taking months to complete.

“First you pay a small fee to register. Once you answers a few questions, if you are eligible for enrollment you are sent the official application. It consists of a few parts: you send in your transcript, answer a lot of questions in English and your target language, and get two teacher evaluations, a parent evaluation, and one more evaluation for a non-teacher, non-relative adult,” Lauren Kamykowski (11) said.

After sending in the material needed to be considered, students applying are notified of their acceptance in January. They must then complete additional requirements.

“Now it’s a matter of sending in acceptance materials, making payments and attending a mandatory orientation at [Indiana University] in April,” Kamykowski said.

Spending seven weeks in either France, Germany or Spain, students experience culture and further their education surrounding the language by taking classes.

“In the classes we learn about communication, culture, grammar, linguistics and literature. It will help me become more independent and it will not only further my French communication skills, but my communication skills in general. It will also expand my knowledge and help me be more open to new cultures and experiences,” Araujo said.

Having an improved level of language  not only benefits students in their language classes, but in their future careers. Those who decide to go into language based careers can benefit from the knowledge they will obtain from June 7 to July 20.

“When I grow up I want to be a diplomat. French is the official language of the UN, so proficiency in it will definitely help. Also, being a diplomat, I will travel a lot, so this will help me prepare for that,” Kamykowski said.

Students who don’t plan on going into a career that involves knowing a foreign language can also benefit from the experience.

“I’m just really excited and grateful that I get to go, but I’m also very nervous about going abroad to a new country and speaking French and not English. [However], it will also expand my knowledge and help me be more open to new cultures and experiences,” Araujo said.