Monday, May 8, 2006
French student wins national essay contestBy Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Shyamla Mourouvapin recently received second place in the Alliance Francaise national writing contest. For the contest, which is open to non-native French-speaking students, Mourouvapin wrote an essay in French on the culture of France and other French speaking countries. While she is a native of India, Mourouvapin lived in France for eight years and her experiences helped her write the essay.
“I got married when I was 19 and followed my husband to France. I started French just for communication purposes. As I have my English degree, I was hoping to teach in France. My husband got a project here in the U.S. Again, I followed him here. But then, I thought ‘what am I going to do with an English degree in an English speaking country?’ So, I started working on my French degree at OU,” said Mourouvapin.
Mourouvapin supplemented her studies with a part-time job tutoring executives who travel to France frequently.
Assistant Professor of French Caroline Jumel alerted Mourouvapin to the Alliance Francaise contest, and at first, Mourouvapin was apprehensive.
“Basically, I don’t like competition. But then, my professor told me if would give me an opportunity to express myself in French. I guess I wanted to test my knowledge and writing skills,” said Mourouvapin.
The contest is open to non-native French speakers who are currently studying the language. During the testing period in February, the students were given two hours to write an essay in French on the culture in France and other French speaking countries, said Mourouvapin. In April, the Alliance Francaise announced the winners — including Mourouvapin, who earned second place in her category.
“She is an outstanding student in French, and I knew she had good a chance to win,” said Jumel. “I think she is successful in her studies in general because she is a very serious student, very mature and she has a natural aptitude for languages.”
The prize for the contest is $100 worth of French books and dictionaries, which will come in handy for Mourouvapin, who plans to continue her studies.
“I’m interested in translation, but my primary interest is in teaching French at the university level. Wayne State accepted me for a master’s degree in French and they have also offered me a teaching assistantship position. I will be starting in September 2006,” said Mourouvapin, who added she wants to work toward her Ph.D. after completing her master’s.
Mourouvapin, already has a bachelor’s degree in English and graduated Saturday, May 6 with a bachelor’s degree in French.
Mourouvapin is also putting her degree in English to work. This year, in addition to working and raising her eight-year-old daughter, Mourouvapin also submitted an article on English studies that was published in the Meeting of Minds 2006 volume.