French Club Offers Students Unique Learning Environment

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French Club adviser professor Katherine Morel. Photo: S.F. Sotillo.

With hundreds of clubs at NC State, there’s an organization out there for everyone. For those enthralled by the French language, looking to make new friends, or wanting to brush up on their speaking skills in a relaxed environment outside of class, consider Le Cercle Français or the French Club.

As a facet of the French program, the French Club is advised by Foreign Languages and Literatures lecturer Katherine Morel, who enjoys her advisory role due to the student interaction. “I love seeing the growth of students through the French Club,” Morel says. She mentions, however, that the club is practically student driven. “The executive board does everything. They will sit down and come up with ideas. They organize and lead the meetings, so for them it’s kind of like teaching a class. All I do is okay their decisions.”

In effort to appeal to members, the executive board organizes a variety of activities held during club meetings. A special meeting is held on Canada Day, in which members discuss Canadian (especially Québécois) culture and eat native dishes. Other celebrations include French Day and club member favorite—Mardi Gras. For this vibrant holiday, members gather to decorate masks and celebrate New Orleans’ French heritage. Past meetings have offered cheese tasting and Paint and Acquaint, similar to Wine and Design, sessions. Developed by student Nicole Blackman, French Club president, Paint and Acquaint allows members to recreate pieces by famous artists, such as Claude Monet, while getting to know other students. Additionally, professors have even come in and helped members work on their French phonetics.

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Student gets ready to celebrate Mardi Gras. Photo courtesy of Kat Morel.

French Club is also a great opportunity for students searching for leadership experience. “I have created activities that promote conversation and interaction with fellow members through French related activities. Watching the members of the club interact, speak French, and make friends through a mutual love of a country’s language and culture is what I enjoy most about the club activities,” Blackman says.

If you’re worried about not being able to comprehend meeting discussions, only half of the matters on the agenda are spoken in French to give those who are just beginning to learn the language an opportunity to benefit from club meetings. “I would recommend it to students, especially incoming first year students, because it is a place where you can be the worst French speaker and there are always people there to help. You make great friendships, learn about the greatest language and cultures, and eat some really good snacks! It has been such a great experience that I hope they would enjoy it to,” states student Emily Carson, club treasurer.

Learning a new language can be challenging. Relying on support from peers no matter their proficiency level is key to progression. The inclusive community, diverse language and culture experiences, and valuable leadership opportunities provide a proper environment for personal development.

If you are interested in joining, please visit their website.

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Students adorning their Mardi Grass’ masks. Photo courtesy of Kat Morel.
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Students making their Mardi Grass’ costumes. Photo courtesy of Kat Morel.
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French club participants during one of the many activities organized by the club. Photo courtesy of Kat Morel.

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