Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

French Table creates weekly cultural immersion

One would not expect the murmur of fluent French conversation coming from the purple couches inside of Starbucks.

An extension of the The University of Alabama French Club, The French Table aims for complete cultural immersion every Wednesday at Starbucks.

This mix of students, coming from all walks of campus, share one commonality – a love of the French language.

Melissa Henderson, director of the French House and first year masters student studying French literature, was originally on the pre-med track, but fell in love with France when she studied abroad.

“It has been going on for a couple years now,” Henderson said. “Normally the grad students are in change of it. We get undergraduates and international students that come.”

French graduate teaching assistants are in charge of the French film series as well as the French Table in hopes of helping students majoring in French to delve more into the French culture.

Samuel Hand, a junior majoring in French and biology, was encouraged by his French friends back home and his parents who work in the French Quarter to pursue French as a second language. He was taken to a French Table function by a friend and has participated every since.

“You don’t learn how to speak the language in the class,” Hand said. “You learn to engage in the culture. The only way to speak it is to go out and try it.”

The level of French expertise does not matter; all are encouraged to try it out. French Table attendees are encouraging and do not mind helping each other out whether a student cannot remember a word or needs a sentence repeated because they did not understand.

Alexa Piepul, a sophomore majoring in political science and French, heard about French Table from flyers and thought it would be a great setting to practice speaking French.

“I like speaking French even though I’m not good at it,” Piepul said. “For second languages, you need the practice to talk and you don’t really have the opportunity outside of class.”

Piepul hopes to carry her language skills with her for future job opportunities and would love to live abroad in a French speaking country.

After an hour of only speaking in French, the eleven students in attendance immediately began to joke and laugh in English. They all spoke of the exhaustion experienced after having to actively think about each thing each other said.

Henderson, the director of French House and one of the leaders of French Table, invites all students interested in the French language to come next Wednesday.

“Anyone can come,” Henderson said. “There are no fees, you can come get Starbucks and stay for five minutes if you want.”

French Table meets every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Starbucks couches.

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