Justin Bennett ‘22 is a senior double majoring in French and Economics.
“How did I get into French? That’s always the question.
Interestingly enough, I was in fifth grade, and we had a student come over from the Ivory Coast. He knew not one English word. So it was like, does he learn to communicate with us, or do we make the effort?
But there wasn’t anyone at our school who spoke French, so it was on us to learn to communicate with him. We were taught little words and phrases, just to be able to understand him a little bit. And for me, I thought, I actually really like this—I want to learn more. I started learning on my own, taking classes online, all around the age of 10.
What ended up happening was that I joined the IB program in middle and high school. Part of the program is learning a foreign language. My choices were French, Spanish, and German, and I chose French because I had a little bit of background knowledge. After taking French classes all the way through middle and high school, it got to the point where I was basically fluent.
So I thought—how can I use this to my advantage? Well, I’m going to use it to get paid more. That’s why I decided to major in it in addition to Economics. I did well enough on the placement test that I only had to take three French classes here—and I finished my first major in the middle of my sophomore year. I’ve just been taking economics classes since.
I will say that I haven’t really used French since my sophomore year. I was going to study abroad, but COVID messed up my plans. So, I have forgotten a lot. But I have a degree in it, which will get me paid more, which was the ultimate goal.
I just don’t remember a lot of the grammar—it’s hard to remember a language when you’re not using it. But graduation is right around the corner. Once May 21st comes, I’ll have a lot more free time to study French, I’ll tell you that!”