Professor Mougel

French and Modern Languages

You’ve been teaching at AUP since 1986; why have you decided to stay?

At AUP, no two semesters are alike. I love being in a place with students whose stories are so different and with colleagues who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. That mixing of cultures with all of the languages that we hear and speak on campus sets AUP apart. I think it’s especially significant for me since I was born and lived for 20 years in Morocco before coming to France.


Can you please describe your career trajectory?

After completing a master’s in Spanish Language and Civilization at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, I was trained at the Centre d’approches vivantes des langues et des medias (CAVILAM) [a private institution renowned for its innovative approach to teaching languages]. I was teaching in Parisian institutions like the Alliance Française, when a friend found out that AUP’s French Studies department was looking for a French teacher. I was interviewed by the head of the department, started teaching two days later, and have been here ever since!


What motivated you to become a French professor?

I first majored in Spanish Language and Civilization at the Sorbonne, and planned on becoming a Spanish teacher, before my linguistics professor, who also directed CAVILAM’s Audiovisual Center for Modern Languages, hired me for the summer. After a few days of observing, I took over a class and immediately felt comfortable, even though some of the students were older than me! I enjoyed teaching people who had come from all over the world to learn the language of Molière.


What is it like to teach French at an American liberal arts university in Paris?

As a French person, teaching at AUP is an especially original experience, one that I couldn’t have had if I’d worked in a French institution. I feel very lucky to be teaching in such a multicultural environment, especially since I’ve been able to see firsthand how the American university system lets each student freely explore his/her interests.


How does the city of Paris contribute to your teaching?

I love Paris and I try to share that passion with my students. I help them find places outside of the usual touristy spots and I encourage them to explore cafes, markets, gardens, delicious food, cinema—basically, all that Paris has to offer! And of course, Paris is integral to language practice. I tell my students to try to meet other French people, since that’s one of the best ways to practice French and get a better understanding of French culture and the French way of life.


What advice do you have for future AUP students?

Take full advantage of this opportunity to live in a foreign country and attend a multicultural university in an environment that is overflowing with culture and art. I would advise them to keep their minds open so that they can discover the richness of this new culture and encourage them to keep studying and practicing one or more foreign languages, since languages are an unending source of enrichment and discovery.