Set on majoring in speech pathology, Marlene Jones was hesitant about Luther. But after learning about the Linguistics Department, she was sold. Looking back, Marlene realizes the benefits of her education at Luther. “The one-on-one time I've had with professors is completely unmatched and invaluable to my education,” she says.
Studying French was also on her mind when she first came to Luther, and her professors encouraged her to stick with it. “I'm so glad I decided to stay with the French major because it completely redefined my Luther experience and opened me up to a much broader world, literally.”
Marlene currently teaches English grammar and conversational lab classes at Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO) in Brest, France. She introduces new topics to her students on a weekly basis, usually surrounding different laws and cultural views between France and America. Marlene enjoys working with students that challenge her own views. “I didn't think I'd be in the front of a classroom but I feel confident that my French degree from Luther prepared me for this adventure and hopefully many more to come!”
Many of Luther’s French courses teach through role-playing games, a method called RTTP (Reacting to the Past). Marlene found these indispensable in learning French. “They forced you to truly argue your way through a class in a target language,” she says. “Even when English completely surrounds our lives, RTTP games in upper-level French courses pushed us to interact with the language in new and exciting ways.” Marlene felt her classes were taught in practical, real-life ways.
Through her connections to the French department, Marlene was able to land work-study positions in multimedia and the French Humanities research lab. She helped create the 2002 French Presidential Elections RTTP game that Luther students now play in French 342.
Internships were also defining in Marlene’s pursuit of the French language. During January Term of her junior year, she took French 347, an experiential immersion course. During that month, Marlene interned at a French school in Tours, France. The following summer, she interned in Lomé, Togo, working as a speech therapist.
Togo stands out as one of Marlene’s best experiences from Luther. “It was amazing to volunteer in a therapy clinic for special needs children and meet so many unique people that shared my interests and passions about rehabilitation and pediatric therapy.”
“At first, I thought majoring in French would distract me from my graduate school goals, but I’m confident that my unique French experiences have done nothing but made my education more well-rounded.”
—Marlene Jones ‘17