Meet Our Teachers: Ariel Calmes

008Bonjour, je m’appelle Ariel Calmes, et je suis Francophile! As a high school student, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a foreign exchange student through the Evanston Rotary Club.  My host country? Belgium! I had a classroom background in French, but was nowhere near conversational when I arrived.  However, the Belgians are a wonderful people, and during my one year stay in their country, they taught me to speak French.  After returning to Wyoming I sought a Bachelor of Arts degree of French, which I received in 2008 from the University of Wyoming.  During my undergraduate studies I traveled in Japan, and there found my French language skills helpful.  Many Japanese study and speak English, however equally as many spoke French.  I found common ground with the Japanese in our common second language, and speaking French with the Japanese people took the pressure off everyone.  Neither of us had to try to speak the other person’s native language well.  I never imagined that my time in Japan would be enhanced by speaking French. After graduating from the University of Wyoming I received a Juris Doctor from the University of Utah, and currently work as an attorney at the Harris Law Office in Evanston.  I may work as an attorney, but I still have a passion for French.  I teach French 1010 and French 1020 at the Western Wyoming Community College Evanston Outreach Center, and I hope that you will consider taking French, either to fulfill your foreign language requirements as part of a degree program, or simply to enrich your life and improve your international travel experience. So, should you take French with WWCC? Do you……

1. Use the internet? French is the third most used language on the internet after English (first) and German (second).

2. Have an interest in foreign affairs or international sporting events? French is the official language of The United Nations, NATO, UNESCO, The International Red Cross, the International Olympic Committee, International Courts (including the HAGUE) and the European Union.

3. Seek educational opportunities? Fluency in French may qualify you for French government scholarships to pursue higher education in France or qualify you to seek internationally recognized French degrees and education.

4. Like to talk with others and make new friends? Over 200 million people on five continents speak French. Even if a native French speaker speaks English, he or she is more likely to bond with you if you speak at least some French, and speak it well. Many people also speak French as a second language, but do not speak English, or are not comfortable conversing with you in your native language.

5. Want to learn a skill that is useful everywhere? French and English are the only languages that are taught in every country in the world (and you already speak English!) and French is the ninth most-spoken language in the world

6. Want to work abroad? France has the world’s fifth biggest economy, and French speakers have job opportunities not only in France, but also in other French-speaking parts of the world, including Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium, and North and sub-Saharan Africa.

7. Like to travel? France is number one tourist destination in the world, with more than 70 million visitors annually, and there’s more to see than just Paris! Go to the Cote d’Azur, the French Alps, the beaches of Normandy, or the coastline of Brittany.  Additionally, French will help you when traveling to Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium, the Seychelles islands, Tahiti, Monaco/Luxembourg, French Guiana, Vietnam, Guadalupe, Martinique, and many countries in North and Sub-Saharan Africa (including the gorgeous Tunisia).

8. Enjoy baked goods? Make some Kouign-Amann using an original French-language recipe. It’s delicious.

9. Understand your native language better? About 50% of the vocabulary of the English language derives from French.

10. Want to learn other languages? French is a gateway language to other romance languages, like Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian. (All statistics courtesy of the French Consulate General; http://www.consulfrance-houston.org).

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