Tag: Canada

‘Excited to see what the future holds’

As the Autumn colours start to appear on campus, it’s time for another couple of updates from former students, both of whom graduated in 2018. Rebecca completed a BA Hons in International Management with European Languages and Society with us but first up is Michaela, who graduated in French and Law:

‘I’m still working at Ashurst LLP in Glasgow. I’ve been there almost 2 years now and recently got promoted to Senior Legal Analyst. I think I mentioned before that I’m mostly involved in legal work but always try and get involved with French work where I can. We often get ad hoc French translation tasks coming in, and it’s great to be able to assist with them. I’ve also been able to review French documents that have come up in various projects – I’ve really enjoyed being able to contribute to the team in this way.’

2019 Brown CH Pic V Sept19As for Rebecca, she is currently in the third semester of an MSc in Management which ‘includes three ‘branches’ (General Management, European and Global Business and Marketing) and modules on everything from Consumer Research, Complaint Management and European Marketing to Intercultural Management, Management of Innovation and Advanced Entrepreneurship. I’m hoping to finish all lessons by December and then the next step will be to write my thesis. The plan for afterwards is yet to be determined. I would love to go and work in the French-speaking part of Canada for a year or so but as I say, the rest is to be determined!

Although I’m Swiss, after one year, I’m still shocked as to how different the British university system is to the Swiss system. From having to organise your own courses, to having no student union to contacting the Dean if you have any questions. It’s been an experience that I have loved, however I do miss Stirling and the university a lot. I’m excited to see what the future holds in terms of jobs or travel.’

2019 Brown CH Pic III Sept19

Many, many thanks to both Michaela and Rebecca for sending through these great updates and we wish you both all the best for the future!

Cuimhnichibh Oirnn – Remember Us

And while we’re posting about French at Stirling-related research, this seems a perfect opportunity to post this article about what our colleague, Aedín ní Loingsigh, has been up to over the past couple of months.

Back in June, Aedín was part of a team of academics and actors who organised a one-day workshop on Dementia and Bilingualism at the Insight Institute in the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. As this BBC Alba film shows, the performance-led day created a very different kind of event to the usual format of academic and voluntary sector conferences.

A dramatic reading of the play ‘Five to Midnight’ (provisional title) portrayed the experiences of ‘Mary’ who, with the onset of dementia begins to lose her ability to speak in English and returns to Scottish Gaelic, her mother tongue. The play, performed in separate parts, was interspersed with audience reflection and three panel discussions on bilingualism in the medical context, dementia’s impact on the family and the bilingual community and bilingualism and the arts.

The play prompted much discussion about changing roles and relationships in families affected by dementia. Mary’s husband ‘John’ does not speak Gaelic. Meanwhile, Mary’s adult son finds himself being pulled into the not always comfortable role of interpreter between his parents and those around Mary who do not understand Gaelic.

As Mary’s dementia progresses, she becomes increasingly cut off from the English-speaking world. Audience members without Gaelic language skills are exposed to more and more Gaelic monologues and conversations as the play unrolls, mirroring John’s experience of being increasingly locked out of his wife’s world. This experience fosters audience empathy with characters in the play who are separated by language divides.

Dementia’s impact on language is a key clinical and care issue, and science has shown that monolingual and bilingual individuals are affected differently.

Of course, the play focuses on a very specific linguistic context. However, students of French may be interested in this interview with the Canadian actress Louise Pitre who speaks about the struggles she had to find linguistically cognate care for her native French-speaking parents in anglophone Canada. As the project continues, it is hoped that it will highlight the need for wider recognition of the role of language and cultural understanding for the care needs of bilingual individuals living with dementia.

2019 Key Words for Travel Writing StudiesAedín has also been busy on the publication front with entries on ‘Anthropology’, ‘Coevalness’, ‘Ethnicity’, ‘Primitivism’ and ‘Translation’ in Key Words for Travel Writing Studies: A Critical Glossary and a chapter on ‘Migrant Travel Narratives’ in The Routledge Research Companion to Travel Writing.

Many thanks to Aedín for this update and keep an eye on the blog for more news over the weeks ahead.

Québec, Guyane and beyond: Active Retirement…

And finally, as promised, in this little flurry, something more research-centred with news of publications, conferences and talks from our colleague Bill Marshall who’ll be retiring at the end of August.

2018 Bill Cine Monde I
Chloé Leriche

Bill’s Cinéma-monde conference at Stirling in May was a great success. As well as including papers covering everything from Franco-Romanian cinema to the films of Rachid Bouchareb via discussions of the subtitling of banlieue cinema and the role of remakes, the two-day conference also featured two film screenings. Chloé Leriche’s 2016 work Avant les rues was screened as the conference opener and Bashir Bensaddek’s Montréal la blanche (also from 2016) brought the conference to a close. Both directors were in Stirling for discussions around their films.

 

2018 Bill Blog Update Gott Schilt cover Jul18

And as if all that wasn’t enough, the middle evening of the conference also included a celebration for the launch of two great new books: Michael Gott and Thibaut Schilt’s edited collection Decentred Perspectives on Global Filmmaking in French and Stephanie Hemelryk Donald’s There’s No Place Like Home: The Migrant Child in World Cinema.

2018 Bill Blog Update Theres No Place Like Home cover Jul18

2018 Bill Blog Update Locating Guyane Cover Jul18And as well as organising that particular conference, Bill has also given a lecture entitled ‘Canadian Cinema: Between the National and the Global’ as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s ‘Focus on Canada’ strand and his chapter ‘Equality and Difference: Queering Guyane?’ is just out in Locating Guyane, edited by Sarah Wood and Catriona MacLeod.

It’s going to be very strange to start our new academic year without Bill but we’re hoping he’ll continue to keep us posted on his plans and projects (and travels…) over the months and years ahead! And, of course, we wish him a very, very happy retirement!

Language is the key to global understanding…

As promised in the previous piece about Silje, here’s the second Scandinavian account of life post-graduation, this time from Terry:

“Whether you fully master a profession as a banker, engineer, architect, teacher, factory worker and so forth, you are still limited in terms of its usage. As a professional, your job can only be applied in a context-specific environment in which the same language is spoken. However, if a company or an employee wish to expand their business and transmit their knowledge, they need to learn other languages. Learning a language holds the key to global awareness. Speaking many languages enables you to learn more about other cultures and to relate to individuals on a deeper level. Being multi-lingual is a sure way to further your career in any profession. Having the ability to speak many languages can help us transmit knowledge universally, increase cultural awareness, and reduce the amount misunderstanding and conflict that constantly surround us.

As a multi-linguist, studying at the University of Stirling was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I graduated with a BA Hons in both French and Spanish. This in turn prepared me extremely well to complete my MA in Spanish in Ottawa, Canada. The language courses at Stirling offered modules in translation, culture, history, interpreting, literature, and much more. As a double major language student, the year-abroad programme was an integral part of the course curriculum, offering opportunities to both work and study in targeted countries. During my second year of studies, I went to Lille in northern France to work as an English Language Assistant, which was quite an achievement for a non-native speaker of English. The following year, during my Semester Abroad, I studied legal translation in Málaga, Spain. This immersive hands-on experience abroad gave me confidence and knowledge to successfully complete my studies.

2016 Karpathakis Terry Feb

Aside from these wonderful travelling opportunities the University of Stirling has to offer, the language course components are directly relevant to the current language learning environment. Courses such as interpreting, translation, and literature truly equip you with the tools you need to succeed professionally. In my case, the interpreting and translation courses helped me land jobs at the local court in Logroño in Spain as their official translator, as well as several teaching jobs in Ottawa where French is often a prerequisite for working. I also worked as an official IELTS examiner in Canada and I have been called on for various interpreting services in Sweden where I am currently working as a language teacher.

2016 Karpathakis Level D at CultureWorks Canada Feb

Now, ten years after my graduation, I speak six languages fluently, I have had plenty of job offers, I have benefited from visiting and living in many countries. Most importantly, I have many great friends from all over the globe. I am a citizen of the world.”

Terry happens to have graduated at the end of my first semester teaching at Stirling, so it’s particularly nice to have been able to keep in touch over the course of the past decade and we wish him all the best for the future!

Textbook problems…

As well as conferences and study days and the like, the summer months are also a time for preparing new classes, writing lectures, revising coursepacks, ordering new textbooks… Not always plain sailing as our Language Coordinator, Jean-Michel DesJacques, explains:

“J-1! Ah! Le soleil, les vacances, le verre de rosé le soir à la fraiche. Sauf que… en fait d’apéro, déboires à gogo! We need to talk about “the textbook”.  Have you heard of the curious legal incident in a faraway land?

Tout a commencé par un courriel anodin: “We wish to inform that there will be a substantial increase in some of the print textbooks that you have chosen” (US Supreme Court ruling Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons for those, if any, who wish to know). How lucky of me to have chosen a textbook whose sale price had to be discussed by the US Supreme Court. A few weeks later, I received another email saying that ‘my’ textbook was still available of course but it would cost £111.

I know, odd number, who would buy a book for that price I asked myself. Some students could be deterred from signing up to French for beginners, missing out on a potential lifelong love affair with the language. The timing of the decision was rather unfortunate: language tutors would tell you that a new textbook is a decision you make a good 6 months prior to the start of teaching so that you can reorganize your course accordingly. I certainly felt that I had done everything I could: I had met with the company’s representatives before teaching started in February and organized the purchase of the textbook with the added bonus of a range of on-line activities in the format of a virtual lab. A true example of blended learning, a combination of traditional methods combined with new technology, on which we pride ourselves at Stirling. The perfect mix!

What now? Well, I suppose I could go back to the previous edition which is still available at a reasonable price. I know conjugations and grammatical structures will be the same, but should I run the risk of having students who believe that M. Sarkozy is still president? And dare I mention Gérard Depardieu?

Dear beginners, fear not! You will have a textbook worthy of your efforts next semester. Remember, it’s an intensive course so I shall keep you busy and well prepared to eventually join the mainstream with the ultimate goal of studying at a Francophone university for a semester in 3rd year (we have partners in France, Canada, Morocco and Switzerland) and maybe spending a whole year working as a Language Assistant. A worthy reward.

À bientôt!”