Arielle: Offshore Engineer, Leading with French
Professionals across industries and skill levels are sharing how they Lead with Languages:
“I’m grateful that I took advantage of learning French in college, because it gave my engineering career a global opportunity that I would never have imagined.”
Meet Arielle—an Offshore Engineer at Oil & Gas Industry Contractor Saipem
Grew Up In: Brooklyn, New York
College: University of Rhode Island (undergraduate); ENSTA ParisTech (Masters in Offshore Energies Engineering)
Majors: International Engineering Program: BS in Ocean Engineering & BA in French
Study Abroad: A year in Compiègne, France
How do you use your language skills in your work/career?
Working in Paris allows me to use my language skills everyday. The majority of my co-workers are French, so we communicate and work in both French and English. It’s a great opportunity for me to continue building my technical French and enjoy French culture in a working environment.
What is the biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages?
The biggest misconception Americans have about foreign languages is their inherent value: People think that languages are more out of reach than they are because the U.S. is an English-speaking country, but it is plausible to become proficient from school. I’m grateful that I took advantage of learning French in college, because it gave my engineering career a global opportunity that I would never have imagined.
Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?
After my first month of studying abroad in France, some French friends invited me on a 4-day vacation to St. Malo. I was the only English native on the trip with six French friends. These four days were a bit of a culture shock to me, because it was the first time I really experienced French culture. I didn’t realize how strange it would feel to wake up and begin my day speaking and thinking in another language. From cooking together, doing activities at the beach, and exchanging cultural differences, I gained confidence in myself which motivated me to improve my language skills while enjoying the culture that year abroad.
Check out our Lead with French page to discover programs, scholarship opportunities, student stories, and more. And for information about global engineering, be sure to read our Engineering Sector Profile!
Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LeadWLanguages on social media.