For undergraduates looking to improve their skills in French for travel or work—or just hoping to enjoy French culture and language—the Maison Francaise offers a forum for all things Francophone.
Housed in Voute Hall, the Maison Francaise currently enrolls 13 undergraduates from a variety of majors who pledge to speak French during their time in the residence hall. Interested students apply during their freshman, sophomore, and junior spring semesters. Most begin in the program at the intermediate level.
“The Maison Francaise is a kind of window open to the world. We have activities here in order to promote the French language,” said Anik Noudou, the resident director of the Maison Francaise and a Master’s student in French. “We can cook French foods, [sing] French karaoke, dance, view a film, in French of course, or have discussions.”
The program has not only a wide range of activities to introduce students to the French language but often lets students embark on special one-time excursions
“Last week we went to the French consulate,” Noudou said. “The consulate invited us for a dinner, and we had fun. We met with other people from other Maisons Francaises and French clubs in Massachusetts. Everything was great.”
For those not currently living in the Maison Francaise who are interested in French culture, the program maintains calendars of events online. Noudou, as resident director, is responsible for planning three events per month, while students organize one more.
While Noudou certainly spoke to the merits and fun in joining the program, she also acknowledged the difficulty, for non-native speakers, of living full-time in a French-speaking environment.
To alleviate anxieties and to allow a French practice forum, Noudou often host more student-focused activities.
“Sometimes we just have a ‘cafe en francais’ that’s just having some coffee and talking about our life at BC, and if they have any problems, maybe in French, we can talk about it,” Noudou said.
Noudou encourages anyone interested in French to try to get involved.
“Our doors are open for you and for everyone” Noudou said. “If you want to live here, I think that’s going to be a great idea.”
Laurent Cipriani / AP Photo