When did you decide to begin a French Club here at MacEwan?
Eric Thompson: The club started in 2013. It was started by Julie Masson in an effort to make the French language and culture more visible at MacEwan. The club was also started as an opportunity for members to practice speaking French.
What sort of club activities or events does the French Club put on at MacEwan?
E: We have weekly meetings for conversation. This term, we have not started planning any events because we are students running the club. We want to start running events after reading week, continuing weekly meetings for conversation and anyone who wants to practice their speaking skills outside of the class. To constantly study in the French language requires a large effort, and to speak in your native tongue every once in a while really relaxes your mind.
Who can attend these meetings? Are they open to anyone, or do you have to become a member first?
E: These meetings are led by an advanced speaker or native speaker, and any level is welcome to join. Also, there is no pressure, and people are encouraged to come and participate at any level they can. There are lots of people there ready and willing to help you practice your speaking.
Can anyone who is interested in learning French come and attend the meetings to learn?
E: We haven’t had any members who have not spoken a little French or at least taken a class before attending a meeting. But anyone who is interested in the French language and culture is welcome.
Do you encourage anyone who is interested in French or struggling in their French class to attend a meeting?
E: Of course! Any French speakers, whether they are native speakers or people practicing their French, are welcome to attend the meetings. Anyone who is curious about French is welcome to attend and see what it is all about.
What goals does the club have for the future in terms of events or showings at MacEwan?
E: We’re planning maybe to go see a movie sometime, and perhaps at the end of the year going to a French restaurant, along with our annual general assembly. Traditionally, most French celebrations, like St. Jean-Baptiste in Canada and Bastille Day, are in the summer. In the winter, there is not much in terms of French celebrations or holiday events. In the spring, there is a cabane à sucre (sugar shack) where they boil down the maple syrup and make it into candy, so we have that in mind. But we are in the process of deciding what events would be better to host.
What else would you like to say about the French Club here at MacEwan?
E: The French Club here is a great opportunity to learn French, which is always a good thing. Many careers now require you to be bilingual — especially jobs for the Canadian government, which require French and English. To learn a language at school, that’s one thing, but you really become efficient when you practice it in everyday life, and the French Club is an excellent opportunity to do that. Even if you’re not really into the language itself, you can learn about the culture, and anyone who comes to practice their French — there’s no pressure. It’s very casual conversation. With all this, we are trying to do as much as we can to make the French Club more appealing to MacEwan students.
What is the best way to get in contact with one of the administration members or to get info on the club?
E: We have an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we also have our Facebook page. Either way is great to reach one of us, as we check both regularly.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Photo by Angela Johnston.