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ELAN Program students participating in an Immersion Course to learn French

By: Sharelle Flemming & Katelin Butcher

A group of students from several OECS English-Speaking Caribbean countries are now benefiting from a scholarship initiative that is offered with the ELAN (Échanges Linguistiques et Apprentissage Novateur par la Mobilité – Linguistic Exchanges and Innovative Learning through Mobility) INTERREG Project and monitored by Campus France.
The program has provided scholarships for twelve (12) citizens, drawn from St. Vincent & The Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis.
The financial assistance provides the students with the opportunity to study at the University of the French West Antilles, based in Schoelcher, Martinique, or in a similar institution in Guadeloupe.
However, before enrollment at UA, they have been participating in an orientation program that includes a five-month course of French language and culture learning. Class sessions have been interactive and learner friendly. The knowledge and skills gained throughout the past weeks have been extremely helpful, according to the students. Their lecturer, Mme Kate Butcher provides the students with much helpful guidance in the quest to further explore and immerse themselves in the French culture.

OECS students undertaking group work

In addition to attending classes, the scholarship recipients recently engaged in a social activity to meet native French speakers and interact with other key stakeholders who could aid with their training and assimilation into the French culture and life in Martinique.
This special Social Cocktail was hosted on Tuesday, February 18th 2020, at the Le Cloud Bar, in Fort-de-France, Martinique, where students were able to socialize and practice their skills in the art of speaking both the French and English languages.

« Talk to me » social event

“A night of networking to establish relationships with colleagues who have common interests and hobbies,” is how the Kittitian student, who is a teacher in her home country, described the cocktail.
“The meet and greet and the discussions held, will also help me to settle in Martinique and learn about the local culture and places of interests,” said Sharelle Flemming.
The students were able to meet new people and appreciate the opportunity to share their knowledge with others. In many instances, one was able to hear the exchange of French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. A similar session is planned in the future, at the same venue.
The participants are very thankful for the opportunity to become more fluent in speaking and understanding the language.