When I was looking for a university to apply for a PhD, I wanted to go to an English one. My level in this language was not yes-no-toaster… but not far from that. Let’s just say that I enjoyed more reading in Latin than English, and I wasn’t a great latinist. After 4 years at McGill, I really can’t say that I am bilingual (the many mistakes you see in all my posts show that), but at least I can now have a conversation in an academic context, which is not bad. But some funny things are now happening.
- One day, I started reading a novel, and I realized only after a couple of pages that it was in English, not French. This was impossible 3 years ago!
- When I go to McGill in the morning, I think in French. When I go back home after a day, all my thoughts are in English.
- I started dreaming in English. That was a big level-up.
- I sometimes have to use Google translate from… English to French, because the only right term that comes in mind is in English.
- Quand j’écris à more than one person sur Facebook, one English et une qui parle en français, I write dans les deux langues to both friend.
- My ease in English follows the level of stress of an undergrad: low at the beginning of the academic year, really high at the end of a term, non-existent during summer.
Even if I don’t get a job in history after my PhD, I will be able to say that this experience was like a very expensive English language class. Even if I don’t perfectly «speak two tongues!»
Banner picture by @falisha.k // @gradlifemcgill