Archive for the 'Academics' Category

VISIT TO: Yara and Ouakam fishing villages with Amadiou Diallo

December 31st, 2009

Gary Engelberg (Director of ACI) contacted the man that supplies him with his fish, Amadiou Diallo, to take me around a couple of fishing villages in Dakar, Senegal. Gary gets his fish (thiouf, shrimp, etc.) from Amadiou about once a month and freezes it so that he will have the supplies he needs for preparing dishes (i.e. yassa poisson, chebujen). Amadiou is originally from St. Louis, where his mother, as well as younger brother and sister live. He has a wife and two kids (three and five years old) that live with him in Dakar.

Amadiou was extremely gracious for taking the time out of his busy day to take me to two fishing villages in Dakar. In Dakar there are a handful of fishing villages, which include: Ngor, Ouakam, Soumbédioune, Yara/Hann, and Yoff. Amadiou works at the Yara fishing village, located on the eastern coast of the Dakar peninsula. He is no longer a fisherman himself, but he mostly sells fish instead to locals. He explained to me that he has been in the fishing industry since 1986.

My journey started at about 11:30AM today. We took a taxi (1500 CFA) from SICAP Baobab to the Yara fishing village. In the village, Amadiou showed me the factories that make the ice, so that the fish will stay fresh; the market area where his friends and he sell fish; the beaches that women and children buy fish that are coming directly off the pirogues; and the gros bateaux that are from European countries like Switzerland, France, Spain, or n’import ou. Amadiou said “il y a toujours un mélange des pays qui font la pêche au Sénégal, il y a des Chinois, des Français, des Américains, et bien sur des Sénégalais.

My initial observations of the fishing village were how large it was and how much it did not smell of fish. When I was in St. Louis (the first time that I came to Senegal), I visited a fishing port and there was a very bad fish smell. Also, at this fishing village, every part of the fishing stage seemed to be present—from pirogue to fishing vendors. I saw men descending from pirogues selling fishing directly to women, whom would then resell the fish to others, as well as men taking Styrofoam boxes filled with fish to freezer trucks that would be taking fish into the heart of Senegal. There were small children gathering small fish that were falling out of fisherman’s hands and boxes; these small children were trying to sell these fish too. Amadiou told me that “des pêcheurs a fait la pêche depuis six heures du matin jusqu’au onze heure, et après le déjeuner, il y a des pêcheurs qui retournent à la mer pour faire la pêche encore jusqu’au le coucher du soleil.” Amadiou wakes up at 6AM every morning to get to the fishing village.

At the Yara fishing village all of the fisherman use pirogues. Most of the pirogues are smaller and go on daily fishing trips into the Atlantic Ocean; however, there are larger pirogues that will go on one to two week fishing trips, as well. Amadiou explained to me that on the smaller pirogues, there are usually 4-5 men that will use nets to catch smaller fish. he explained tha the most effective way to catch a lot of fish is with nets, though the fish are very small. I asked him if fisherman throw back any fish that are too small, and he respond by saying “il n’y a pas de type de pêche qui est plus petit à vendre. On vend tous les types de poisons et on utilise tous des tailles.” This is a huge difference from fishing practices back in the states, but it gets at the idea that in Senegal nothing will go to waste if it can make some money. The idea of making money to live was a very important insight that continually came up during this day visit. On the larger pirogues, there are as many as 20 men that will use nets, but also fishing rods to catch very large fish. Amadiou explained to me that “on doit faire doucement la pêche avec la canne à pêche, doucement, doucement, parce que si tu fait comme ça (making a jerking motion with his hands), le filet va casser.” He explained to me that the most effective way to fish is with a fishing rod because you can get the biggest fish and the biggest fish mean “tu va gagner plus d’argent.” I asked Amadiou how much a big fish would cost and he said that it depends on the type of fish and the size. He said the larger the fish, the more money that you will get. He also explained that the gros bateaux from other countries catch the biggest fish, but that it does not affect them too much. He said that as long as they can catch the amount of fish that is necessary to make enough money then everything is okay.

I asked Amadiou about the international fishing presence in Senegal, and he told me that there are a lot of international companies, but it is not a problem as long as they have a permit. Once they have a permit they are free to fish “comme ils veulent, sans problèmes.” He also said that they have limits on the amount that they can fish, but he had no idea about what the limits were set at. He alluded to the idea that international fisherman can fish as much as they want; however, they do not fish seven days a week, 365 days a year like the Senegalese. He said that foreign boats come and fish for one to two months and leave. Amadiou said that in Senegal there are times when fishing is the best; he said that in the winter months, like December and January, the fish come to the top parts of the water making it easier for fisherman to catch larger fishing stocks. In the warmer months, the water is too warm, so the fish go deeper in the water. However, in the end, he said “c’est la chance avec la pêche; il y a des jours quand j’ai plein des pêches et d’autres quand je n’ai pas des pêches…c’est la chance.” He made no reference to the fact that fisherman were over-fishing or that people were having trouble getting fish because there were lower levels of fish in the ocean. He simply believed that some days were just better than others for no particular reasons.

While I was at the Yara fishing village, I had the opportunity to speak with one of Amadiou’s friend (another fisherman). During our brief discussion, we spoke about the international community and the effects that other countries have on the Senegalese fishing industry. He spoke about previous incidents with China and the Soviet Union and how they would overexploit fish, but, he said that what the Chinese and Soviets used to do no longer exists. He told me how the Chinese and the Soviets would bring their large industrial boats into Senegalese coastal waters and leave them their for the entire year. He said that they would use large fishing nets and check on them every so often. He said that while the Chinese and Soviets were in the coastal waters that “ce n’est pas bon pour des Sénégalais et des pêcheurs.” He mentioned that the current trend is that Senegalese fisherman will bring fish from their pirogues to the large boats every so often. The fish is then taken directly to Europe after being chilled.

Furthermore, at the Yara fishing village, I had the opportunity to observe the way that fisherman sell the fish to the local women and the trucks that bring the fish into the interior portions of Senegal. Amadiou said that there is no fixed price for fish in Senegal, and that fisherman usually make about 20000 CFA a day by selling their fish. He said that fisherman split what they make from selling the fish. He also said that women and others who sell fish away from the coast make a decent amount of money as well. But, again, he stated that there is no exact amount because everything in Senegal is negotiated. Some large fish will sell for 50000 CFA or more.

After my visit to the Yara fishing village, we went took a taxi (2000 CFA) to the Ouakam fishing village. This fishing village is a lot smaller than Yara and is limited to smaller pirogues that go out and fish for a couple of hours and then return. This fishing village is located in a small alcove nestled between cliffs and La Mosquée de la Divinité. At this village there was not as much commotion and it appeared to be a lot more low-key. In the distance, there were no large industrial fishing boats and there were no vendors or women selling/buying fish. I had the opportunity to watch fisherman bring in their boats, as well as younger boys make the nets that are used for fishing. Amadiou told me that in this fishing village, they just use nets and fish for smaller fish. Since there are no large pirogues, the fisherman cannot go on weeklong fishing trips. However, it was interesting to go to this village because I saw a fisherman that was using a spear to fish. Amadiou told me that “c’est homme là-bas, il fait la pêche dans une manière la plus dangereuses.” He said that many men who choose to fish that way get their ankles bitten by fish. He also said at smaller fishing villages like this one, fisherman will not go out for two trips in one day like they do at the fishing village in Yara. Amadiou said that they go out in the morning or in the afternoon.

At this point in my day with Amadiou, I again tried to approach the idea of sustainable development in Senegal. It was interesting because “développement durable” meant nothing to Amadiou. I attempted to explain to him the idea of sustainable development and being conscience of the environment and future generations, but he simply responded, “ici, il n’y a pas des problèmes, au Sénégal, pas des problèmes.” I continued to explain to him that from an outsider looking in, that it appeared that fish were being over-fished in the region. I said that much of the world knows that the West African coast is one of the most plentiful fishing stocks in the world and that with all the fishing activity there could be problems in the future. He again said, “au Sénégal il n’y pas des problèmes.” He said that the sustainable development did not matter; he said “c’est la commerce, oui, c’est la commerce.” He said that everybody is in the commerce sector now because that is where all the money is. He even said that if you do really well in the commerce sector, maybe after working two to three years, you could be set for life. At this point, I had been with Amadiou for quite some time to understand that he, as well as every other fisherman, worked for the next day, not for five or ten years. He made it very clear that he worked to make money and never made any statements about not having fish in the future to eat or to fish.

Our conversation continued about how rich the West African coast was with fish. He told me that “Nous [des Sénégalais] sommes les meilleurs pêcheurs sur la cote, mais à la Mauritanie, il y a plusieurs de poisson. Plein de Sénégalais font le voyage à la Mauritanie à faire la pêche. C’est très bien là-bas.” From this point, I asked him about whether or not other countries besides Senegal fished off the coasts of Mauritania too. He said that yes there were, and began to speak more about the international presence in Dakar. He told me that “Nous faisons la pêche comme nous voulons, des pêcheurs internationaux comme ils veulent. Il y a une relation ici entre des Français et des Sénégalais, des Chinois et des Sénégalais, des Espagnols et des Sénégalais. Des Français aident des Sénégalais et des Sénégalais aident des Français. Il y a des Sénégalaises sur des gros bateaux de la France. Il y a des Sénégalais qui paient des Français pour assister à faire la pêche, mais bien sûr, il y a des pêcheurs français qui paient des pêcheurs sénégalais.”

I further probed this relationship with Amadiou and asked about whether there were any formal agreements that were made with these countries that established these interactions. He said that there were no formal agreements and that the only formal thing with fishing was getting a permit to fish. Though, Amadiou also stated that there are fishermen that fish for themselves. He said that it is all about being able to feed your family and “gagne d’argent.” He even pointed out three small children that were helping their father move a boat onto the shore of the Ouakam fishing village. He said that “la pêcherie commence comme ça et peu à peu ils devinent des pêcheurs.” This was striking to me because there was an intergenerational emphasis with fishing, but around the idea of being able to teach kids how to fish. There was no reference to if they would actually have fish to fish though.

After this trip with Amadiou to the fishing villages of Yara and Ouakam, I had a much better understanding of whom the Senegalese fishing population was and what the process of getting fish from the sea to a market or a dinner table was. However, the best insight from this experience was that “développement durable” might mean nothing to the Senegalese. Though I cannot generalize from one experience with on individual, I have a better idea as to what really matters in Senegal. There is an understanding that people must help future generations, but there is no consideration necessarily for the environment. In countries like Senegal, it appears that people work for the next day, not the next five years. If in five years there are no fish left in the coastal regions that are currently begin fished on, then the Senegalese will most likely move to another industry. As Amadiou said, “il n’y a pas des problèmes au Sénégal” and “tu dois gagner d’argent; c’est bien d’avoir l’argent.

Pictures from Dakar, Senegal to come….

Independent Study an academic black hole?

October 28th, 2009

I am well into my Independent Study (IS) Project on sustainable development in Senegal, West Africa. But, it seems that the 4-5 hours that I put into IS every day are being eaten up by an “academic black hole”. What exactly does this mean? Well, it seems that I am working so hard on IS and I am getting no where. Hopefully, this is what is happening with everybody?

Copeland Funding THANK YOU!!!

October 6th, 2009

So, a while back, I wrote about how I was applying for Copeland Funding to enhance my Senior Independent Study Project. Well, after about two and a half weeks, I have finally heard back…and I am going back to Senegal, West Africa!!! I am so excited!!! My grant application was approved (and granted in full), so I am really pumped to start planning my trip back (I already booked my ticket). I will be returning for two weeks (12/26/2009-1/8/2010) to research how Senegal is implementing sustainable development practices.

On another note, it is fall break…and I am trying to get a handful of work done. I am at my local library branch back home and I am getting ready to read Jeffrey Sachs “The End of Poverty” for my Economic Development class. I still have to do a handful of IS before Thursday (when I present my topic to all the political science and international relations majors) and a ton more research in general.

Sitting in Gault Library working on my Copeland Application!

September 22nd, 2009

So, I am taking a “break” from working on my Independent Study Project to write a short entry in my blog.

Right now, I am working on my Henry J. Copeland Funding Application. The Copeland Funding is in honor of the presidency of Henry J. Copland and was established by the Wooster’s Board of Trustees in 1995. The Copeland Fund is now in its 13th year of operation, and expects to be able to award approximately $90,000 in the current academic year! WOW! The purpose of Copeland Funding is to enhance your Independent Study Project.

After spending four months in Senegal, West Africa, experiencing life in an area of the world that is considerable lesser developed, I became very interested in the prospects of not just development in the region, but sustainability regarding the environment. For my Senior Independent Study Project, I am going to research sustainable development in Senegal, and, ultimately, how it is being met differently within the state.

I hope to look at the effects of environmental problems in the region (such as desertification, water resource management, over-fishing) and the problems and success that have been created in implementing sustainable development strategies. In understanding the problems with current environmental issues, my study will be able to focus on specific projects that are helping to combat these concerns. By looking at individual cases within Senegal, such as: (1) a jatropha tree initiative that looks to turn tree oils into bio-fuels; (2) a local, grass-roots based project in a more rural area, like Foundiougne or Tambacounda; (3) eco-villages on the beaches of Dakar that aim to reduce the impact of modernization; and/or (4) projects that aim to reduce the dependency ties between the European Union and Senegal regarding fishing rights, I will be able to look at sustainability in specific cases, then be able to further generalize how these projects are helping environmental problems in Senegal. Therefore, I will look to answer the question: how is sustainable development being implemented in Senegal?

Thus, I am applying for funding to return to Senegal for two weeks to conduct research in the follwong Senegalese cities: St. Louis, Dakar, and Tambacounda. Well, back to work! IS is killing me….GAHH!!!

AHH!!! We're REALLY seniors!

It is DEFINITELY senior year!!!!

September 20th, 2009

I cannot believe that I am a senior in college! It really does seem like yesterday that I was sitting in my eighth grade science class or walking through Kauke Arch during New Student Orientation. Where has all the time gone? and why is it going by so quickly?

I am well into the swing of things now; it is approaching week five of classes. I am taking (1) Theories of International Relations, (2) Economic Development, (3) Introduction to Francophone Texts, and (4) Senior Independent Study. This upcoming week I have two mid-terms (Theories of IR & Economic Development), a french paper due tomorrow, my Independent Study Research Design due tomorrow, my application for Copeland Funding (essentially grant money to enhance my Senior IS project) due Friday, and a Cross Country meet on Saturday. WOW!

I have been so busy that I literally have had no time to relax and breathe, let alone have “me time”. I need to start setting aside thirty or so minutes every day to just relax and not work on homework or anything related to school. However, though I am quite busy, I did “sign-up” for all of this. I was not forced into any of the roles that I am currently occupying.

Well, unfortunately, this is all I have time for now!

Aneeb, Tess, and I

Why the College of Wooster?

June 1st, 2009

It seems like it was forever ago that my mom and I started the infamous “college search” (which many of you that are reading this blog might be on). At times I was bored, but I knew when I liked something about a school. I had physically looked at what seems like 40 schools during high school, from larger universities to smaller liberal arts colleges. I was exposed to the perks of going to a huge school, but found everything I wanted, and more, at the smaller liberal arts institutions, like The College of Wooster.

The College of Wooster is a unique place; it has so much to offer, and I am extremely happy that I chose to come to this institution of higher learning. I remember my tour, not everything about it, but most of it. I remember saying that I “play cross country” as I entered (what I consider the epitome of a collegiate library) Timken Science Library; seeing all of the friendly people around, who appeared to genuinely love their school; enjoying the beautiful campus, which appeared to be manicured perfectly in many places; talking about how Wooster was the right fit for me (even if it was only an hour and twenty minutes from home); and experiencing a place that I could call home for the next four years.

I was drawn to the Senior Independent Study (IS) Project that Wooster had to offer and the opportunity to do a masters-like thesis at the undergraduate level. I wasn’t thinking about graduate school or a master’s degree in high school, but I knew that this “IS Project” was something that Wooster did well and perfected. I was excited to work one-on-one with a faculty advisor during the entirety of my senior year; to choose a topic that was not going to be assigned to me, but one that I could pick on my own; and to build the many important intangible skills, like effective time management, organization, and communication. The IS was the main reason I decided to come to Wooster; it made me reconsider the distance of Wooster from my home and it made me realize that I wanted to attend an institution that just focused on undergraduate study.

Wooster has so many incredible things to offer, and over the next few weeks, I am going to highlight the main reasons why I decided to come to Wooster. I absolute love this place, and would not want to be anywhere else. 

Cheers from DC! ALEX

Two more finals to go…

May 6th, 2009

Admissions Cookout...Brandon and I not wanting our photo taken

Admissions Cookout...Brandon and I not wanting our photo taken

I turned in my French IS Monday afternoon; the title of it was “LA POSSIBILITE D’UNE SYNTHESE ENTRE LES ECOLES FRANCAISES ET LES ECOLES TRADITIONNELLES EN AFRIQUE: UN ANALYSE DE L’AVENTURE AMBIGUE ET L’ENFANT NOIR”…very exciting! It was such a load off my shoulders to finish my IS and get it into my advisor Professor Gamble. Tess and I got our IS’ bound at the bookstore too; we didn’t have to, but we thought that it would be great to look back fifty years from now and have a 30 page French IS. We are extreme losers (in private).

I have taken one of my finals as well. Today, I had a final at 9AM for my US-China History class; the final went okay. Basically, our professor did his best to come up with a test that asked the most useless questions, not covering the overarching themes of the class. I studied till 4:30AM on Sunday and 1:30AM on Monday, but my studying was not that useful! Anyways, I am glad to be done with one final; I have two more tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I have my International Political Economy Final and my Research Methods and Design finals. I hope that I will have prepared enough by the time I take the exams. Obviously, I am not studying right now because I am procrastinating by writing a short blog entry. I will let you all know how I feel after my finals tomorrow!

Back to studying, ALEX



Tamara Bergert's BIRTHDAY BASH!!!

Birthday FUN for Tamara!


ONE down, ONE to go!

April 20th, 2009

I just finished making the cover sheet for my political science junior IS, titled: THE IMPORTANCE OF COLONIAL EXPERIENCE IN THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PERCENTAGE OF FOREIGN AID GIVEN TO FRANCOPHONE WEST AFRICA!!!! I took my final junior IS project to the writing center about two hours ago, as well as last night. The writing center is the best place to go on campus.

“The purpose of the Writing Center is to help students develop their reading and writing skills by encouraging them to think critically about the processes involved in both. [It is] staffed by experienced professionals and trained peer tutors, [and] is a free resource for all Wooster students who seek assistance in planning, drafting, and revising their written work. [They] cannot edit or proofread your papers for you. Instead, [they] act as educated readers, asking common-sense questions and examining problems in mechanics, organization, development, and expression. [They] are an instructive audience midway between students and professors; while [they] do work to create a more engaged relationship between a student and his/her writing, [their] goal is to help students learn to examine their own writing more critically by recognizing writing strengths and weaknesses and by identifying possibilities for improvement.” Check out their website at:

I am so excited that I have finished one of my junior IS projects….now if I could only get to work on my French junior IS. My goal is to have a full draft done by Thurdsay evening! I CAN DO IT!!! 

To the library, ALEXANDER



This is what is behind me at the Andrews Library....BORING!

This is what is behind me at the Andrews Library....BORING!

gold name tag. orientation 2013. sga.

March 25th, 2009

Today was such a busy day! I had classes (The US and China & International Political Economy) from 9-11am, work in the Admissions Office from 1-4pm, a meeting for regarding admissions interns from 4-5pm, a meeting for the New Student Orientation: Class of 2013 Program from 5:30-7pm, and a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting from 7-7:30pm. I am finally sitting down to work on homework at around 8pm!

Classes went well today; we are starting to get back into things after are two week spring break and I am having mixed feelings about it. There is so much work to do in the next SIX WEEKS and I am NOT ready to be a senior, to do IS, and to get ready for “real world” things! I have a literature review due on Monday, March 30 on sustainable development for my International Political Economy class and a lot of junior IS to do for both International Relations and French. I have a two-page IS proposal due tomorrow at 9:30am, but I am almost done so that is good, but I also want to edit five pages of my French junior IS and write 2-3 more before my meeting on Friday with my advisor. There are just not enough hours in the day!

Work in admissions is work. It is the busiest time of the year in the office now; today and yesterday, we had about thirty prospective families come in on each day and tomorrow and Friday we are supposed to have about 20 families each day. It should be a lot of fun because I am going to be sitting in on interviews! I am going to be an intern in The Office of Admissions next year and I am so excited; I got my official gold name tag today and I am pumped for the training process! I get to dress up (or at least more so than usually) and can take my “tormenting” in the office to a new level!!!

Today, I also had a meeting with the Senior Associate Dean of Students Carolyn Buxton and her Administrative Coordinator Darlene Berressford, regarding the New Student Orientation Program for the incoming freshman class. I am assisting in the process and will be organizing the program over the course of this year and through the summer to make it “THE BEST ORIENTATION EVER!” with three of my peers. If you have any questions regarding what to expect let me know!

My last meeting today was for SGA, and we discussed logistically stuff for our Relay for Life team, among other things. I have volunteered myself to be pie-ed in the face this upcoming Monday from 11:30-1 in front of our student center (Lowry) to raise money to fight cancer! I am so excited, because I did it last year and had a lot of fun. 

Well, that’s enough procrastination for now. Peace and love! ALEX


P.S. So, I have decided that I am going to post a picture on all of my blogs, so here is today’s picture:

"I like your shirt Anna Grace!"

"I like your shirt Anna Grace!"


March 23rd, 2009


The first day after spring break, all the seniors must have their Independent Study (IS) Projects in by 5pm to the Registrar’s Office. IS is Wooster’s senior capstone project that all students must complete to graduate. The thesis project is done within your major on a topic that you choose and want to research for the entirety of your senior year. It is the main reason why I decided to come to Wooster, and without a doubt is going to be one of my best experiences at Wooster (after I finish it…)!!!

I’ll talk later about the IS process at Wooster, and how Wooster focuses on individualizing the entire process for every student, because I wanted to have this blog be mostly pictures of the IS parade. The IS parade happens at 5pm, taking the entire senior class (led by the Dean of Students and our Scot Piping Band) through the academic quad, past the libraries and registrar’s office, and finally into Kittredge Dining Hall. It is one of the most school spirited and high energy days on campus! WOOSTER I LOVE YOU!

Francais quoi!?

March 5th, 2009

Alors, ce blog est pour tout le monde qui parle français; je vais écrire les choses ultrasecrètes de Wooster…

No, I won’t write about Wooster in French, but I am going to use this blog to talk about some of my incredible experiences here with the French department. My experiences with the French department can most likely be compared with all the language departments on campus, so enjoy!

When I arrived at The College of Wooster, I had no intention of being a French major, or even a minor. I had all intention of studying political science or international relations, but after I took a class in the department I was hooked. I was fortunate enough to be placed into French 216 (I had 4-5 years of high school French), and after the class I knew that I wanted to be connected with this department. The French department is a group of three professors, who have made an incredible effort to meet the needs of all types of French students, truly individualizing everyones experience with the language. This is a great feature of all the departments I have worked with and taken classes within at Wooster!

Anyways, after freshman year, I decided that I was going to be a French minor; I would take more classes within the department, maybe study abroad in France again and potentially live in the French House. So, sophomore year came and midway through, I decided that I was going to be a double major instead, pairing French and International Relations. Never in a million years did I think that I was going to take this path, but I have! 

Well, since I declared my double major, I have had so many incredible experiences related with the French department. I can say that I am very happy I made this decision, though it has thrown a few challenges my way regarding Independent Study. So, what have I done?

(1) My first study abroad experience in college was in Besancon, France during the summer between sophomore and junior year. Besancon is a small French city about 2 hours southeast from Paris (by TGV) and about 35 minutes west of Lausanne, Switzerland.  In Besancon, I had an incredible 5-week language intensive program at Le Centre de Linguistique Applique de Besançon, taking classes about 5-6 hours a day. In addition, I  lived with a host family and was about five-minutes outside the heart of a city. For students who do not have the opportunity to study abroad for an entire semester, this is a great way to spend a summer; Wooster has a variety of shorter summer study abroad programs including; China, Tuscany, Thailand, and Besancon. 

(2) My second study abroad was in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa. I spent four months abroad in Senegal and I could talk about my incredible culture experience for hours. I lived with a host family, took classes related with The University of Dakar and The University of St. Louis, traveled to five cities/villages, and had some of the most amazing food! I have a very intense blog on my extended stay in Senegal at: 

(3) Living in La Maison Francaise in Luce Residence Hall for my sophomore and junior years. Luce is a living experience for language students on campus; in Luce, there are a series of suites that create an immersion-like environment (each based around a different language -French, Spanish, Classics, Russian, German, Chinese). Each suite has different hall programs based around language and culture, in which most are led my students and facilitated by the language assistant. The language assistant is a native speaker from the respective country, often times a Fulbright Scholar, who helps actively engage the students in the suite and language classes to speak the respective language. A couple of weeks ago I presented on my experience in Senegal, West Africa, and served local juices, dressed in local dress, and answered questions about my time abroad. We show a French movie once a week, as well. The programs vary across the various languages, but the suites give students a different living option on campus.

(4) French tables in Lowry Center (main student building on campus) are definitely a highlight of my week. They are held twice a week, once at dinner and once at lunch. These tables are open to everyone who speaks French, and give us all an opportunity to utilize are language skills outside of the classroom in a more informal environment. Professors, faculty, and students will come to the table, which makes for a very interesting mix of conversation. Yesterday at French table, my friend K2 and I talked with the study abroad coordinator on campus, two professors, and a handful of students. There are language tables for all spoken languages on campus.

(5) Lots more, from all my amazing and fellow French double major friends (Tess, Katherine, Britta, Justin, Sarah, Maureen) to being ridiculously french with K2 to enjoying talking about all my fun times in France, with French, and in Senegal!

So, on that note, I have one more thing to do before I will be on my way to Savannah, GA…FOUR PAGES OF MY FRENCH JUNIOR IS. I have 3.5 pages now, so I am in good shape for my meeting at 2pm tomorrow, but I need to look over everything and make sure that I am not looking like a fool.

A bientot! ALEX


March 2nd, 2009

So, today in my IPE class, for the second time this semester we were all “called out” for not participating enough and free-riding on the couple of people that speak all the time. It is not that I did not do the readings today, but I just did not want to talk in class today…so to make a long story short, PARTICIPATE IN YOUR CLASSES, DO THE READINGS, AND DO NOT FREE-RIDE!