Despite the challenges raised by the health crisis, the 2nd edition of the ELAN immersion program is expanding rapidly, thanks to the adaptation of the program and the involvement of the students.
This 2nd edition of the immersion program began at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. As in the previous year, skills-building courses in FLE (French as a foreign language) are offered to selected OECS nationals who have the academic requisite to apply to the University of the West Indies. The objective of the immersion program is to assist them in getting required level in French (CEFR level B2).
As usual, these French courses take place in two phases: they are organized by the network of Alliances Françaises in the English-speaking Caribbean in the 1st semester and by the ICEFI (Division of the Université des Antilles) in the 2nd semester. These courses had to be adapted this year and have all switched to distance-learning mode, while a favorable development of the health crisis is awaited, which will allow students to travel to Martinique to sit their French certifications.
Distance-learning class: Ms Katelin Butcher and her students showing an object that makes them think of the French-speaking world.
Many students applied to the immersion program at the start of the 2020 academic year, in particular thanks to the important communication work carried out by the “Education Develompement Management Unit OECS (EDMU) as well as the ELAN focal points from the Ministries of Education of the OECS. This is how the number of students rose from 12 students in 2019-2020 to 27 students in 2020-2021, with a strong propensity for applicants from St Lucia which also leaves room for an expansion of the territories represented (4 territories represented during the 1st edition to 6 territories now).
The two editions of the immersion program were made possible thanks to the support of the consular and cooperation services of the French Embassy in St Lucia, which continues to support these students in their procedures (applications to the university, visas, etc.) and the Consulate of St. Lucia in Martinique, thanks to which students were able to travel between Martinique and their countries of origin despite the scarcity of commercial flights. In addition to the financial support offered by ELAN (monthly scholarships and travel assistance provided by Campus France), the project lead of the ELAN project, the GIP-FCIP of the Académie Martinique (Ministry of Education in Martinique) also wanted to provide maximum support to students in the midst of the crisis, in particular by taking charge of the additional costs that the latter generated (transportation, accommodation during quarantine, etc.)
As for their predecessors, the ELAN project team is already mobilized for the reception of the new cohort of students at the start of the 2021 academic year. Upon their arrival, they will be supported in achieving their practical formalities, their installation and their successful integration thanks to the joint efforts of the International Relations Office of the University of the Antilles, the CROUS and the CLLAJ.
Although they are eager to start their mobility, the learners in the immersion program are very involved in their French courses and improve their proficiency fairly quickly, specifically and notably thanks to the fun activities offered by their ICEFI teachers. You can find here excerpts from their activity “Master Chef ELAN”, initiated by their teacher Ms Morgane Marianne, which allowed them to understand the theme of gastronomy, to learn the structure of recipes and to use argumentation structures.
You can also find testimonials from John, Chard, Iliana and Jehiel about their experiences in the immersion program here as well as a little video surprise from Elisa.
Premier bilan du Projet ELAN
J’ai commencé à apprendre le français en janvier 2020 lorsque j’ai entendu parler du Projet ÉLAN. Depuis ce temps-là jusqu’à maintenant, les cours ont été intensifs mais mon niveau a amélioré. Grace à ce projet, les étudiants ont l’opportunité de faire leurs études dans les pays francophones. C’est vraiment bien pour la région et pour l’intégration. C’est une occasion incroyable pour les ressortissants de la Caraïbe de découvrir une culture et avoir cette expérience pendant ses études. J’espère que tous les étudiants réussissent les épreuves. Nous avons une bonne professeure, Katelin Butcher, qui nous fait beaucoup progresser donc, tout ira bien.
My Experience of the Elan Program
I believe the ELAN program is an absolute brilliant initiative which gives people in the Caribbean an opportunity to further their education and speak the French language. I have always loved French culture, the people and the country of Martinique. Madame Kate is a wonderful teacher. She gives us different exercises and videos we can go through to better understand the concepts of the different topics. I can proudly say because of the ÉLAN classes I am more confident in expressing myself to my friends and families in the French territories. The journey has been an amazing one. Thank you for this opportunity from my entire class.
C’est un programme qui offre une opportunité unique de grandir personnellement et professionnellement. De plus, l’immersion est une idée géniale pour comprendre la culture, et l’identité des différentes citoyennetés françaises. En conclusion, je voulais remercier toutes les personnes qui créent ce merveilleux programme d’inclusion.
Bonjour, je suis Jehiel l’une des participantes au programme ELAN pour cette année. Pour moi, le programme offre aux bénéficiaires l’opportunité de découvrir une culture différente de la leur. Ils enrichissent leurs connaissances intellectuelles tout en vivant dans un autre pays. Les responsables du programme sont d’une gentillesse hors pair, et d’une écoute envieuse. Malheureusement, à cause de la Covid, l’immersion commence virtuellement, mais cela n’empêche pas qu’on profite de la compétence extraordinaire de notre professeur, elle sait parfaitement comment nous aider à améliorer notre niveau en français, et je lui en suis reconnaissante. Enfin, je remercie tous ceux et toutes celles qui contribuent à la mise en place du programme.
We wish the immersion students a lot of success and we definitely look forward to welcoming them very soon!