Empowering Cultural Curiosity in the MSU French Programme

My motivation to learn a new language was rooted in my desire to escape my everyday reality of my Mid-Michigan trailer-park poverty. Learning French allowed me to dream. Dreaming allowed me to temporarily escape my reality to places like Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Montréal (Canada), Briançon (France) or Casablanca (Morocco). Exploring these places in French class motivated me in high school, helped get me accepted in the MSU French programme and changed my life. There, I discovered the global diversity of francophone cultures and ultimately integrated one.

Like many students in the MSU French programme, I spent a summer abroad. Unlike my peers, I went to Québec City for the French immersion programme at Université Laval. After Université Laval, I fell in love with Québec and francophone North America. The MSU French professors recognized this and were instrumental in helping me deepen this cultural curiosity. Two professors were my champions: Anne Violin-Wigent and Safoi Babana-Hampton. In FRN 330 & FRN 430, Anne took the time to learn Québécois phonology to better evaluate my phonetics assignments. In FRN 416, Safoi took the time to find me Québécois literary texts and films to study. These two understood my passion and went out of their way to help me cultivate it. I am deeply grateful to Anne and Safoi as well as to Ehsan Ahmed, Michael Koppish and Julie A. Foss, for helping me cultivate my cultural curiosity for the francophone world.

Young man wearing a white striped shirt sitting in a busy walkway.

Thanks to the support of the professors of the MSU French Programme, I was able to kick-start a series of very fortunate events. I was accepted to the Master of Library and Information Science at the Université de Montréal in 2011 and graduated in 2013, obtained my 1st Academic Librarian job at the Bibliothèques de l’Université de Montréal in 2013 and my 2nd  in 2014 as the Librarian for French Literature, Economics and LGBTQ+ studies at the McGill University Library.

The MSU French programme, and most importantly, its Faculty, were instrumental in providing me with the tools to set me on a path to achieving my goals and dreams. I will forever be grateful to these amazing people and hope future students get to live an enriching experience with the faculty of this amazing programme. #FrancoMSU