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Monday, February 21, 2011

Home of the Free, Land of the skeptics.

Almost thirteen months after I first set foot on French soil, I find myself back in the land of the Pilgrim's Pride. February holidays began, and I felt myself in need of a healthy dose of America, and my family. Since I've been back I've been trying to 'cram in as much America' as possible. I went up to Philly to stay with a college friend, Julia, and meet a good childhood friend of mine, Kelly.

Julia had to work so Kelly and I took advantage of the day by wandering around Philly, seeing the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, awkwardly leaving a Jewish museum, and searching for job inspiration.

We wandered into the visitor's center searching for our free entrance tickets for Independence Hall. Hidden amongst the Children's t-shirts, philly cheese steak books, and American flags, we found a sign boasting services offered in the building. Number one was 'multi-lingual world class concierges.' 'Hey, I might not be world class (yet), but I am semi-multi lingual!' I thought to myself, and walked up to an employee to ask a series of asinine questions.

Note to job-seekers, you probably shouldn't go up to a stranger and tell him that you are already a 'world class multi-lingual concierge,' (I'm not even a hundred percent sure what concierge means, but its nothing I can't cure with a google search) and would be doing said place of employment a huge favor by taking a job there. Of course I was joking, but they guy merely looked at me incredulously and directed me to the desk.

These people were even less helpful. I asked about online applications, but they only had paper ones, and I gathered that they were looking for part time employees and probably would be paying minimum wage. I guess being 'world-class' doesn't mean well-paid.

Anyway the most uncomfortable part of this whole experience was the guy's expression when I told him that I could speak Spanish and French. He didn't believe me. Period. I don't really blame the guy, most people think I just graduated high school, and so I probably have about two years total of language studying.

But in Europe, this isn't unusual. In fact, I am so used to people saying they speak between three and four languages, it doesn't phase me; (this isn't a hundred percent true, I still get angry and jealous, but I'm at least not surprised) So when this guy looked at me so skeptically I realized, if I choose to be involved in something with languages I am going to have to prove myself every single time, that I am at least conversational in the two extra languages. And while I have a title in Spanish Language, I'm going to need to find some sort of certificate to say that I am qualified (ish) in French.

Does this mean I need to start taking school seriously?

1 comment:

  1. The French government regulates the testing of French language competency. You can take the tests all over the world.

    For A1-B2, it's called the DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française), you sit the test for the level you think you're at (eg: DELF B1, DELF B2)

    For C1 and C2 it's the DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française)
    C2 is basically speaking as well as a native speaker.