The Story of Margaux: Hungry… or angry?

The Story of Margaux: Hungry… or angry?

ELSA now introduces Margaux Remize. Margaux was an exchange student from France at UC Berkeley this past year and took major steps to improve her English during her stay in the US. She grew up in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France and then moved to Bordeaux. We asked her a few questions about her experience and she was delighted to share her English learning journey.

  • Can you describe how being an English language learner has affected your living on a daily basis.
    • Margaux: It was hard at first; I had learned some British English in France but we didn’t really interact in English, just wrote, read, and listened. It was tiring because I had to concentrate very hard to be understood and to understand when in the US.
  • Tell us about one time when not being confident and great at speaking English severely affected you.
    • Margaux: On my first day at Cal, I wasn’t able to understand the professor and had to drop the class and choose a less interesting one. Thankfully I didn’t have to do this with all my classes.
  • Was there ever an embarrassing situation when you said something and someone misunderstood you because of the way you pronounced the word
      • Margaux: In French, we don’t pronounce some letters; thus, sometimes in English I forgot to pronounce some letters. I never pronounce the “H”.  I also never pronounced “hungry” correctly and said “angry”, it took me 6 months to finally understand the difference. Also, I’m really embarrassed because I cannot tell the difference between “beach” and “biatch”m
    • What have you done to improve your English speaking skill and gain more confidence while speaking? Have you succeeded?
      • Margaux: During my two first years of college, I read a lot in English, watched English movies/TV shows, and tried to speak to myself aloud to improve my speaking skills. When I arrived at Cal, I decided to join the water polo club team in order to interact as much as I could with native speakers. Also, two French friends and I decided to only speak English together.
  • Do you think you’d be more successful if you were better at English? How?
    • Margaux: Yes, I am still not fluent but I’ve made a significant improvement. As I look around and observe from my friends, it’s quite clear to me that if you have the chance to be fluent in English, you are more likely to have a job/internship.
  • Do you have any advice for other English language learners?
    • Margaux: It is really important to be surrounded by English speakers or people who do not speak your language; thus, you have to speak English with them. Also, it is important to ask your friends to correct you when you’ve made a mistake.

Margaux isn’t alone in her experience. There are a lot of people who come to America whose native language isn’t English. Margaux overcame adversity and made the best of her one year in the US. She played on UC Berkeley’s club water polo team; though she had never played water polo before. She had the courage to join the team and was willing to learn. She was surrounded by English speakers and persevered and became a fantastic player and is missed dearly by all of the friends she made on the team.

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Margaux’s story is just one out of many other success stories of those who come to America not being so great at English. Tune in next week for another great story! #ELSAStory

You can follow Margaux on instagram and twitter!

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