Step 1 : Learning French
For me, learning the French language was a childhood dream. When I was little, my family and I moved to Scotland for my father’s doctoral studies. There, my older brothers studied French in high school, and it was then that I fell in love with the French language. But unfortunately, we went back to Pakistan before I could start learning it. However, the idea of one day speaking French stuck in my mind.
So, in 2008, in Pakistan, I made the decision to start learning French. After finding out about French classes in Lahore, I enrolled in an online course in the Department of French at University of the Punjab. By taking this step, I began to realize my dream. Then, from 2009 to 2011, I took French courses at the French Centre of Lahore. During this time, I also enrolled in the French Master’s degree at the University of Punjab, which I passed with 2 gold medals in 2011. In the two years that followed, I started to teach French in several universities and institutes of Lahore including Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design (PIFD), COMSATS Lahore, UMT Lahore as well as the French Centre. In 2013, I moved to Islamabad for two years to pursue an MPhil in French from NUML University. From 2014 to 2015 I also taught this language for a year at the French Centre of Islamabad and NUML University.
Step 2 : Studying in Paris
Nevertheless, my goal after learning and teaching French, was to further my language skills in a French environment, and especially to pursue a degree in Teaching of French as a Foreign Language. The desire to master this language encouraged me to pursue my studies in Paris, France.
Concerning the French higher education system, there are similarities as well as differences between the Pakistani one. In Pakistan, we have a single 2-year course called MPhil. In France, this course is broken down into 2 individual years called Master 1 and Master 2. The marks of Master 1 determine admission into Master 2, and the marks of Master 2, as well as the marks obtained in the thesis written during Master 2 determine admission into PhD.
In both Master 1 and 2, there are 8 or 9 modules to be chosen which are evaluated via exams and also individual or collective assignments which must be submitted on a fixed date. Students also have a choice to give an oral presentation instead of a written one. In addition, depending on the field, there are internships to be taken concerning the professional component of the coursework.
Since I was studying Teaching of French as a Foreign Language in Master 1, I did a 2-week internship at my university, teaching French to foreign students. The internship was evaluated, and afterwards a detailed overview of my experience that I submitted was also evaluated. There is also a possibility for students to do internships abroad or in their home country.
In Master 2, studies remain the same except for an 80-page dissertation that has to be written by the end of the academic year. For this dissertation, students often opt to go abroad or to their home country for a few weeks, in order to collect their data. This again depends on the field of study and the topic of research.