Julianne Chung, Rhodes College

I participated in TalkAbroad as a requirement for my French class, without knowing much about it at all. Going into my first TalkAbroad conversation, I was not very confident in my French speaking. I was beyond nervous leading up to the conversation, as I had never conducted a video chat with someone I didn’t not know using only French. I realized quickly that I did not need to be overly prepared. I came up with a couple of questions a few minutes before the conversation and made sure my laptop was ready to go.

My conversation partner was Eya Said from Tunisia, and she was very welcoming and genuine. She let the conversation flow, while bringing in new topics and ideas throughout. She even helped me phrase my sentences when I had trouble conveying my thoughts. I realized that although my French was far from perfect, I could still have an enjoyable, understandable conversation with someone I had never even met. At first, I was worried I was going to run out of talking points to fill up the 30-minute time slot, but before I knew it, I had been talking to this woman for a whole 29 minutes! I was surprised this conversation took me away from the clock the way it did. We seemed to have a lot in common with what we studied in school and how we felt about health/nutrition in children and adolescents. I thought it was very cool that we were both in psychology courses at completely different universities!

Overall, my experience on TalkAbroad was amazing. It made me feel way more confident in my French speaking and allowed me to go through some problem spots. After listening to my recording, I was able to see what grammar I needed to work on and what vocab I needed to better familiarize myself with. I was able to finally see what French sounded like outside the margins of textbooks and PowerPoints. I wholeheartedly believe that TalkAbroad is the way to truly connect to a language. It gives you first-hand experience with the language you are studying without any excess expenses. You can really get a taste for the language you wish to study without travelling or studying abroad for thousands of dollars. In addition, you can create friendships with people you would have never pictured yourself meeting.