Each week at the end of her weekly French language conversation groups Sylvie Dubrulle proposes a topic for the following week’s meeting. I’ve never been sure whether this is done in an effort to achieve some coherence in our babblings and to keep us all on topic, or whether she is just giving us time to marshall our thoughts in advance so that any conversation at all becomes possible. Last week the topic she proposed was fairly open but required us to reflect on what the Alliance Française has done for us and what we want from it. It was a brilliant idea which made all of us think hard about the fact that we have a fairly small group which is amenable to change if indeed change is required.
My own contact with the Alliance Française began when I was in junior high school and has been re-established on a number of occasions both in Australia and overseas. Over the years, I have looked to the Alliance for French language training and to share my interest in things French with fellow Francophiles. Through my contact with the Alliance I have improved my knowledge of the French language, become interested in French cooking, played petanque, played rugby with a French rugby team and even obtained a French pilot licence. All of this has given me access to a non anglo-saxon world to which I would otherwise have remained oblivious and, needless to say, I feel that my life has been enriched by it.
Since joining our own little Alliance some ten years ago I have enjoyed the friendship of Australians who share my interest in things French, I have attended the French film nights, borrowed books and movies from our French language library and received any amount of advice on how and where to travel in France. I have played petanque, savoured French meals, enjoyed French wines, relaxed in the company of French people living in our area and been grateful for their patience with my attempts at conversation.
Without our Alliance I might have had none of this, so it has become an important part of my life. The charter of the Alliance Française is to promote the learning of French language and an awareness of French culture. Over the past 32 years our Alliance has worked hard to do these things through a variety of innovative and imaginative activities and I am confident that it will continue to do so. If there is something that you would like us to do to achieve the aims of the Alliance which is not on our current program, please contact me or any of our committee members.