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Studying in Strasbourg

by Zander Willoughby | Dec 05, 2016

Hi! My name is Zander Willoughby and I’m an MU student studying abroad in Strasbourg, France this year. I think it best to start off by introducing myself. At Manchester, I study Political Science & French with minors in Peace Studies & International Studies. Last year, I worked in the Office of Multicultural Affairs as a Multicultural Affairs Programmer and liaison to the Black Student Union, served as Student Senate Vice President and the Academic Integrity Panel, headed-up the Model United Nations programme and was Vice President of the Political Science Club, served on the Peace Studies Institute as a student liaison, and was active with a few other clubs on campus. I even slept a couple times! After undergrad, I want to get a Master’s in International Relations or International Law to someday work in diplomatic and humanitarian affairs, hopefully for international NGOs or the U.N.

Why Strasbourg? Manchester’s study abroad programme for French is Strasbourg, France.

Why French? See above. French, though no longer the lingua franca of diplomacy as it was from the 17th to 20th centuries, it remains the secondary language of international politics. For the UN headquarters in New York and Geneva, the working languages are English and French. For E.U. work, the most used languages are English, French, and German (though, English and French dominate). I love studying languages in general, I’ve studied Spanish, Finnish, Russian, German, and Arabic and learned to read Greek and Hebrew; for most of these, I can understand the gist of what’s going on, speaking is a totally different question. At Manchester, French is the strongest foreign language programme. (I feel comfortable saying this because I don’t have to go down the Modern Languages hallway for another 9 months or so.)

Why not just speak English since ‘everybody speaks English?’ In short, it’s more fun to learn another language. In medium, Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” In long, you don’t care that much, I’ll spare you details.

More to come: the European Parliament, international language institute, STRASBOURG, cultural differences, the election, and more!


Zander E. Willoughby ’18 is a Political Science & French major & Peace Studies minor, and a former Multicultural Affairs Programmer, Student Senate Vice-President, Model U.N. Secretary-General and more. He is currently studying in Strasbourg, France at the Institut d'Études Politiques at Université de Strasbourg. His future plans include working in International Relations or International Law, hopefully within the U.N. system.