by Ben Cripps
Every Wednesday, from 12 to 1 p.m. in Cascade 101, the French Club meets to “explore French and Franco culture,” said advisor and French language instructor, Anne George.
George was born and raised in Paris, came to the U.S. on foreign exchange and eventually returned to the States to teach the French language.
George wants students to have the opportunity to engage in the language through immersion of dialogue and culture. George speaks almost entirely in French during club meetings and in her classes. “I try not to use English at all,” she said.
The greater goal of the club is to increase the larger community’s awareness of French culture, said George.
The club engages and enhances curriculum from French classes in ways unique to its needs. Two years ago, the club went to the Seattle International Film Festival to see a myriad of French films.
The club goes to the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham when a French film is shown and afterwards has a “follow-up at a coffeehouse like the French do,” said George.
Students in George’s class saw a film that showed the French game Pétanque, a cousin of bocce ball; subsequently the French club learned and played Pétanque. “It was really nice,” said George. “Everyone came and played.”
French cuisine plays an integral role in students’ ability to understand French culture. “French Dinner Friday” is offered once a quarter for students in the club or French classes, tutors and alumni. Attendees learn the different French courses and speak French during the dinner.
The meal will include appetizers and entrées prepared by students. George will bring the main dish: Carbonade Flamande, a beef stew cooked in Belgian beer. A former French student and current culinary artist will also present a very fancy French layer cake. It will be a “quite elaborate” dinner, said George.
However, the continuity of students in French club is a challenge. Every year the club starts from scratch because students move on to four-year-institutions, said George. Yet, it is a challenge that is overcome, she added.
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