The whole French language thing has actually been going pretty well for me. I understand professors during lecture, and I’ve gotten much better at following and chiming in to conversations among other students. However, my latest struggle came when I had to give two oral presentations in French (let alone the project reports I had to write, also in French). The problem with an oral presentation is that I am trying really hard to think about the grammar ahead of time and not make any mistakes, but then I forget what I am talking about or I forget one of the more technical words.
So I forgot a word during the question portion of my first presentation and did the French “uuhhhh … uuhhhh” before I came up with “truc”, which literally means “that thing”. I tried to kind of say it under my breath so the professor wouldn’t know what I said, but he totally caught it. He then gently chided me after the presentation was over, saying that this type of slang is fine with other students but not with professors, especially during a presentation. Oops.
So for my next presentation I again forgot a word and “uuhhhh”-ed for a little bit before helplessly looking at my partner who gave me the word. French partners for the win. On the bright side, I definitely only talked about a third of the time and my partner did the rest, which was great for me because I didn’t totally know what was going on. But I’m pretty sure the professor thought that I understood the project and wasn’t talking just because of the language thing. Boom. Being foreign does have its perks.