Hannah Gerrish

Hannah Gerrish

Biology (2018) and French (2019) Majors with Music minor

“I was part of the UAF French Department from 2014-2019. I started just taking classes for fun to follow a lifelong goal of learning French but after a few years transitioned into the major. The French department at UAF gave me many opportunities. I got to take classes with other interested students in small classes, learn about French culture as well as language, through film and literature and theatre, lead the French club and help to share enthusiasm for the French language and diverse cultures it represents, be part of a small group of committed peers from diverse backgrounds who share a common interest, and have access to incredibly valuable exchange programs. During my time in the French department I was lucky to be selected for a summer immersion program in Quebec in 2015, an experience that set the foundation for my enthusiasm and learning from then on. Many of our students have the opportunity to apply for this program and it is unique to the department. I also participated in another summer program in Dijon, France, in 2018, which was intensive and enjoyable and gave me some insight into that region of the francophonie. Finally, I spent a semester in Switzerland in 2018 through our direct exchange with the University of Neuch√Ętel. This was my final semester of French language classes and a perfect way to round off the experience, getting to live in a third French-speaking country, having access to a diverse and beautiful country, and classmates from all walks of life from throughout the world. I spoke exclusively French every day in all facets of daily life and it solidified my basic fluency and competence in the language and made me confident that I could function in a French-speaking society, my goal from the beginning. The UAF French program gave me community, many opportunities to learn, and a chance to follow a passion. The skills I learned will be carried with me through the rest of my life!”