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#SoCaribbean: Axelle Constantin, 19, a student with great potential


I’ve been wanting to offer content in French and English on my blog for a long time, because the Greater Caribbean has many English speakers that I’ve always naturally wanted to include among my readers. Unfortunately, between my various projects, my lack of time, but also my insecurity to write in English, I have always postponed this line of development.

However, I met Axelle Constantin, a young, intelligent, interesting Guadeloupean woman in June 2019. https://mylenecolmar.com/special-invite-les-plus-jeunes-peuvent-aussi-sinteresser-aux-problemes-auxquels-nous-faisons-face/ She is currently doing an internship at my company Plume Caraïbe. Thanks to her, my blog has been enriched with a new section “In english”, where you will find texts in English. A good first step to propose an English version of Mylène Colmar’s blog.

In the meantime, of course, when you do an internship with me, you must AT LEAST write a blog post that I publish, because nothing compares to the feedback from the readers. Axelle Constantin complied with the exercise. Your turn, Axelle!

My name is Axelle Constantin, I am 19 years old and I am currently a 3rd year student of  Foreign Languages Applied to Business (FLAB)at the University of the West Indies at Camp Jacob Campus in Saint-Claude. I come from a beautiful archipelago, Guadeloupe, also called Karukéra. Among my many passions, I can mention language learning, sports activities (such as dancing) and music (such as singing or playing the piano).

If I had to give the reasons why I chose FLAB for my higher education, I would simply start by talking about my passion for languages. I have always been bilingual, as the languages spoken on my native island are Creole and French. I was then introduced to language learning at a very young age. The first one was English. In fact, I can still remember my first words – “three”  or “cats”  – which I learned before the age of five.

As I was growing up, I was very influenced by American children’s series such as Hannah Montana or Phenomenon Raven, for example. It was while learning the lyrics of the opening songs that I continued to learn English without even knowing it. And the rest came naturally!

For my last two years of secondary school, I joined the Euro-Caribbean class, which focused on English lessons. It was also during these years that I took my first Spanish classes. I don’t even know how I managed to get by, because this subject was really new to me, but I got used to it.

At the same time, I was taking part in English challenges (The Big Challenge), as I had been doing since the beginning of my secondary school years.

Finally, I took part in the end-of-year trip to New York. It was an extraordinary experience, because everything I had seen on television, in the series, even on social networks, was very real to me. I will never forget this adventure in the middle of the most famous city in the United States.

When I arrived in high school, it was with a little hesitation that I chose the literary program. Today, I have no regrets, on the contrary. I’m convinced that the Spanish and English classes only reinforced my passion for languages. It was also during my high school years that I started to learn Portuguese and then Arabic using the internet.

It was an obvious choice for me to study languages after high school. FLAB was a good fit for me because it is not just about language courses. We also have other subjects such as geopolitics, civilisation, media-multimedia, the Caribbean economy or even professionalisation courses (because it is a professionalising program). Sometimes we apply languages to these various subjects. So we have, for instance, civilisation courses in English and Spanish.

I knew that in order to achieve my goal of becoming a polyglot and expressing myself in different languages on any subject, I had to choose languages in higher education. FLAB was a perfect match for me, as well as being a very accessible program. Not many people know this, but the FLAB bachelor’s degree is among the only ones to offer: a course offering a plurality of different courses, a consequent professionalization (a two-month internship abroad), all in French, English and Spanish. It is in fact a “multi-licence”.

Travel

I am convinced that the desire to become multilingual has also given me a taste for travel.In 2015, during a family cruise, I was able to exchange in English with people from different backgrounds and I enjoyed it. This cruise made me discover and rediscover unique places.

I can’t talk about my stopovers without mentioning the island of Saint Martin, which I had already had the opportunity to visit earlier in the year. This island, divided between 2 distinct territories: (Saint-Martin in the north, “French part” and in the south, “Dutch part” Sint Maarten), is one of the islands that impressed me the most by its colours, its beaches, its gastronomy and its particularities. In fact, two years later, I returned there for a longer stay in a hotel. That’s when I enjoyed the landscapes the most, visiting shops where you can find products quite different from those on sale in Guadeloupe.

I can say that I have already seen the most prestigious hotels on the island, eaten Johnny Cakes in the late afternoon near the beach, visited the vibrant streets of the Dutch part of the island in the evening, and raced down the small shops of Phillipsburg at the weekend.

Unfortunately, that same year, hurricanes Irma and Maria completely wrecked the island. Looking back at the images of the places I had visited a few months earlier, I found it hard to realize. However, despite the damage suffered that year, the island regained its vitality over time and the activities returned to normal. This is an island that I recommend if you have the opportunity to visit the Caribbean. I myself am looking forward to returning there after the health crisis. I’m sure I still have a whole bunch of discoveries to make.

Lire le billet en français : cliquez

Translation by Axelle Constantin

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