Niloufar Shamloo came to KU to study petroleum engineering, but she graduated in May 2015 with a B.A. in French Literature.
A love for authors like Camus and Sartre led her to make room in her schedule to study foreign language so she could read her favorites in their original tongues. Classes in German and French inspired her so much that she dropped her engineering courses to major in French.
Thanks to encouragement from her professors, Niloufar studied abroad in France twice as an undergrad — once in Paris and once in Angers. Her trip to Angers, in particular, drove home the importance of learning a new language.
“While I was in Angers, there were many situations were people did not speak English, and speaking French was my only choice,” she said.
“My host mom, for example, did not speak a word of English so we communicated in French. Also, even if the people do speak English, it is polite to try to speak the language of the country that you are in!”
Originally from Iran, Niloufar began learning English when she was just 7 years old. Moving to the U.S. at the age of 15 helped her see that learning a new language went beyond just grammar and vocabulary.
“By learning a new language, you learn about another country’s culture, history, geography, foods, and customs!”
Niloufar is in France teaching English through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). She plans to return in fall 2016 to earn her master’s in French Literature.