Kyla Grau '17

Overlapping Disciplines

Kyla spent her time at Luther immersed in French and music, often finding connections between the two. During her senior year, she took her favorite French class: The French Electoral System. In this RTTP (Reacting to the Past) game, students reenacted the 2002 French presidential elections, and Kyla played an editor of a French newspaper. “I love writing in French, so the role was perfect,” she says. “I really got into it and included cover pages, cartoons, and many sarcastic articles. I was so excited to speak and practice French.”

Kyla’s creativity and passion for French and music was evident in her senior honors project in which she translated parts of a Francophone Belgian opera. The opera, Au Monde, is an ambiguous 20th-century Belgian opera composed by Philippe Boesmans.

Kyla translated the piece from French so that it could be sung in English. “I researched translation methods for vocal works, the specific opera and composer, and the philosophy of vocal translation,” she says. “It enabled me to create a new interpretation of a work based on my research and was a wonderful way to combine my two majors into a creative and unique project.” During her senior paper presentation, she also staged the opera with singers and accompanying piano.

World Traveler, Learner, Teacher

After graduation, Kyla set off to Togo, West Africa, for a summer of French immersion, interning at two NGOs (nongovernmental organizations). She now teaches elementary students through the Teaching Assistant Program in France in Orléans, France.

Studying French at Luther helped Kyla teach language to students and has opened her mind to diverse ways of thinking. Her innovation often goes beyond her multidisciplinary studies at Luther. “There's something special about learning a language because it makes you use your brain in a different way and and helps you understand culture and other people on a deeper level,” she says. “My experience learning a language has helped me understand how to better demonstrate, teach, and inspire the young minds of students who are learning a second language from me. It’s rewarding because the students learn very quickly and are always very excited when I walk into the classroom.”

Using an Academic Framework

“Since I learned a foreign language in an academic setting, I’m familiar with the process and feelings that are associated with it,” Kyla says.”Hopefully I can be sympathetic and cater the experience to my students’ needs. My classes and framework from Luther have also helped me look at things from different perspectives, be creative with problem solving, and not be afraid to voice my ideas.”