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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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UNA celebrates 8th annual National French Week

Bre Goodwin | Graphic Designer

The 21st annual National French Week will take place from Nov. 1-8, as designated by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). This year will mark the eighth year of UNA’s participation in the AATF’s celebration of the diverse aspects of the French language and cultures.

The UNA French Culture Club sponsors the week of events. However, all members of the campus community are encouraged to participate in the planned events, which range from a French Table Conversation at noon on Nov. 1st and 8th, to Croissants with the French Club at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, with free berets provided while supplies last. 

“I’m most excited for the croissants with the French club on Friday,” said Thea Sommer, a member of the French Club. “There’s going to be hot chocolate too.” 

Sarah Camp, the French Club’s president, is also excited to participate in this year’s French Week events. 

“I am most looking forward to the recital on Friday,” said Camp. “One of the upper level French students is having their senior recital for us and will be singing four French songs.” 

The recital takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3 in the Music Building Recital Hall. Camp also expressed special interest in the upcoming French Club meeting. 

“We will be discussing the Congo and its culture,” Camp said. “One of our foreign exchange students is talking with us about it.” 

The discussion of Congolese culture highlights another important aspect of National French Week, the inclusion of Francophone, or French-speaking, countries other than France. Such discussions capture the complexity of the Francophone world and allow for meaningful interactions, which benefit not only one’s educational perspective but also one’s interpersonal appreciation of diverse cultures. 

“Most people aren’t aware that it’s not just about France,” said Dr. Stephanie Coker, a French professor at UNA and the faculty advisor of UNA’s French Club. “There are cultures all over the world that speak French. Of course there is Canada, where I visited recently, but there are also countries in Africa and portions of Asia that also speak French. Each Francophone country has its own unique culture and even different linguistic aspects that make it unique in how it’s spoken in different regions.”

Within the diversity of Francophone countries, there are also differing reasons why UNA students choose to pursue French. 

“I took French because I needed it for my BA degree, and I had taken it in high school and enjoyed it then,” Sommers said.

Whereas, some students, like Camp, relate the study of the language to other career pursuits. 

“French has contributed to my academic experiences in many ways,” Camp said. “My perspective on it has expanded through it as well as my learning capabilities. Learning French has helped me because I am a culinary arts student as well, and French is very ingrained into culinary. There [are] a lot of culinary terms that originated in French.”

In addition to the interest the week will provide members of the French Club, it also affords learning opportunities for those who might be unfamiliar with French language and culture. 

According to Coker, “[the] benefit of learning about other cultures” can “broaden one’s world view,” and simply allow for an opportunity to “have fun.” The opportunity to broaden the horizons of one’s perspective and have a deeper world view is the ultimate goal of education, and when accompanied with the chance to interact with others, it provides the potential for a life-changing experience.

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