By CJ Shaleesh
What does the French Club do?
The French Club is a St. Edward’s student organization meant to allow non-native French speakers and those not from a French background to sample the language and culture. According to one of their officers, “The main goal [of this organization] is to give people an environment to practice French, learn French, and learn about French culture. This semester we are trying to focus on French being a world language so during our conversation club we try to bring in as much knowledge about francophone countries.”
Those who partake in French Club, “go above and beyond to practice and make French a part of their daily lives.” Even though this is their current target demographic, one thing that they want other people to know is that “the French Club is not just for people who speak French it is also for people who want to learn French, or who like French films or food… it’s truly for everyone.”
A quite literal way the French Club engages in civil civic discourse is by creating dialogues in their conversation hours. During this time, the club works to, “create a safe environment for everyone to discuss and express themselves freely.” The intention behind making this an additional aspect to the club is to establish a, “platform where [they] can create dialogue on campus and discuss campus/local events.”
What do you get out of participating in the French Club?
While French Club has no definitive meeting time, they do have meetings several times a month. They have an official meeting at least once a month and conversation hours at least twice a month. In their general meetings, they discuss current events in France and French cultures all around the world. They also expose themselves to the customs of these places. As for conversation hours, the French Club tries to be as inclusive as possible by creating different conversation hours for different levels of speech. They have beginner/new, intermediate, and advance conversation hours. This helps people engage with and learn the language in a setting that is less high pressure than a classroom setting.
Some other events the French club has done in the past include picnics in the spring, game nights, a Mardi Gras Ball, and sponsoring a French film series. Their picnics usually take place at museums and historical French sites in Austin. During game nights, those in attendance will play traditional French board games. The Mardi Gras Ball takes place on campus and is a school-friendly way to celebrate Mardi Gras. This event is basically just a large party where people make masks, throw beads, and enjoy each others company. The French film series takes place over several days or weeks. They show both classic and modern French films.
What does the French Club contribute to the St. Edward’s community?
The atmosphere for French Club is different with each meeting or event they have. One of the main contributors to this is that they do meetings and events in a variety of different places. Sometimes they have them on- campus, outside of Jo’s, or off- campus in various French cafes, restaurants, and historical locations around town. What the changing of atmosphere contributes to the club is that it provides a different way for those involved to perceive and interact with various French cultures.
What the French club contributes to the St. Edward’s community is the chance to learn and interact with different cultures and customs that many are not typically exposed to on this campus. This organization allows for the St. Edward’s community to broaden their perspectives and be able to have dialogues about global ideas and issues.
How can students get involved?
To find out more information about how to get involved with the French Club, check out their Facebook page.