By Katheryn Bourne, Staff Writer–
The UTC French department hosted National French Week from Nov 4 to 11 on and around campus. The events included the regional Francovision Film Contest on Wednesday Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., UTC’s third annual French film festival on Friday Nov. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., and the Café Conversation meeting at Rembrandt’s coffee house on Monday Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Coordinated on a national level by the American Association of Teachers of French, the events offered allow students from all majors to learn more about French language and culture through unique events at each school.
While the celebration of National French Week is tailored to the specific interests of each campus hosting, the French American Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Francovision Film Festival. Students involved create informational videos about French culture and compete for prizes against other high schools and colleges.
Dr. Karen Casebier, assistant professor of French and the week’s organizer, spoke on the benefits of having celebrations like these on college campuses.
“It really is a community building exercise,” she said. “Students are able to really get their friends into these events, even those who aren’t attending [college] on campus.”
The department helps organize French week annually, but the events change depending on the interests of the current students. The second event during the week, the third annual film festival, offered two different movie showtimes: 17 Girls, a 2011 French comedy-drama surrounding a group of teen girls who make a pregnancy pact, and Bag of Marbles, a 2017 drama following the story of two young boys fleeing Nazi occupied Franch during World War two. Showing these films, Casebier says, offers a convenient way for students on campus to experience French cinema.
The events, according to the department, are also meant to connect students with others who share their interests, specifically languages. Those students studying French and Spanish, as well are those who are generally interested, were invited to attend and mingle at the final event of the week: Café and Conversation at Rembrandt’s.
Overall, National French Week at UTC is organized for the benefit of students, according to Dr. Casebier. She adds that the hope is that the events will spark student interest in the depths found in other cultures. The importance of learning about foreign cultures and languages is summed up by Dr. Casebier while discussing the purpose of National French Week on college campuses.
“Language is your passport to culture,” she said. “Learning someone else’s language, especially if they are different from you, is the way into their life. Appreciation of other cultures is your ticket to the world.”
More information about UTC’s French Club, French department, annual cultural events, and other programs such as study abroad can be found online at the French Club’s various social media pages as well as in person at 208 Brock Hall.