Every year, the Department of German and French languages organizes a Language and Culture Camp for students of the Institute of Foreign Languages who study French and students from the Jean Daute Lyceum (La Rochelle, France) who study Russian.
This year, students of PetrSU were traditionally supposed to spend two weeks in France, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trip did not take place. However, the organizers did not fold their hands, but changed the format, thanks to which the camp, albeit virtually, took place.
30 students of the Institute of Foreign Languages (112 and 132 groups, direction of study “Pedagogical education”, profiles “French” and “English”), as well as 20 students of the Lyceum of Jean Daute from La Rochelle during April-May, got acquainted, communicated, practiced the language being studied, and also worked on creating a joint project.
For new project participants, a wide variety of lectures were prepared to get acquainted with a new culture: Madame Claude Joubert, a member of the Friendship Society (La Rochelle), spoke about the main mistakes that Russians make when learning French, and also spoke in detail about the current the situation with the coronavirus in France, the attitude of the French themselves, as well as, together with students, commented on satirical pictures from the French press.
An important event was a virtual meeting with the Senator of the Department of Primorskaya Charente, Mr. Mikael Vallee, who is a member of the commission on foreign relations, in particular with the Russian Federation. During the meeting, the senator spoke about the state of the French language in the world, as well as the actions that the French themselves are taking to preserve and spread their language. Mr. M. Vallee once studied Russian, has information about the strong position of French as a foreign language in Russia and appreciated the level of language proficiency of PetrSU students.
The theme of the international camp is always associated with the study of the educational systems of the two countries. This year, in connection with the recent signing of the Cooperation Agreement with La Rochelle University, thematic seminars were organized, during which the heads of the international service of the French university spoke about the peculiarities of studying foreign students in La Rochelle, about living conditions, and about the programs offered. If sanitary conditions allow, then in September two 3rd year students Maria Terentyeva and Veronika Zaitseva will leave for 1 semester to La Rochelle University to study. The students have already received confirmation from the French side.
Despite the virtual format, the camp was not limited only to open lectures through zoom. 1st year students of the Institute of Foreign Languages and students of the 2nd grade (corresponds to the 10th grade of the Russian education system) of the Lyceum of Jean Dotte on the padlet platform created a project of acquaintance, where they told not only about themselves and their interests in the studied language, but filmed very interesting and original videos about your favorite place in your hometown, so that foreign friends can get to know the sister city at least virtually.
In addition, the students of the Institute of Foreign Languages attended the Russian language lessons at the French Lyceum, were able to communicate in French, and also act as a native speaker of the Russian language, which greatly motivated the French students to talk.
Here are some impressions from the students of the Institute of Foreign Languages, participants of the International Camp of Language and Culture.
The past joint project of our institute and the Lyceum of the city of La Rochelle is very memorable. Not only because he is the first in our training. Communication and meeting new people is always interesting, but it is especially impressive when these people are representatives of a completely different culture and native speakers of the language that you are learning. Communication with high school students at Zoom gave a great experience, because it is one thing to communicate with a teacher and listen to listening, it is completely different – “live” communication, when you had to answer questions related to different spheres of life.
The project also included a video acquaintance with cities (Petrozavodsk and La Rochelle), which was also exciting, especially for me, as a person who loves to travel and go on excursions. I really liked everything!
I was lucky enough to attend a meeting with students from La Rochelle in the Zoom app, where we answered each other’s questions and gained experience in communicating with foreigners. It was an unforgettable experience, I looked at French from a different angle. All the guys were very nice and funny. I am very grateful and hope that there will be more such meetings.
Of course, this is a wonderful project that helped to get to know real Frenchmen and their manner of communication better! The teachers and the guys turned out to be very nice and funny, which influenced the atmosphere and mood of our meeting! Hearing live, unprepared speech is very pleasant and interesting! Therefore, I would like to express my deep gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such an event in order to fall in love with France and its culture even more!
A joint project with schoolchildren from La Rochelle was a great opportunity for us to communicate with native French speakers and learn more about their hometown. During the project, we were able to show our creativity by sharing videos of our favorite places in our cities. We also did not miss the opportunity to develop our oral and written communication skills in French. For this, distance learning technologies such as Padlet and Zoom were used. The idea of the project found a deep response in our hearts, it was very interesting and informative. We are looking forward to the development of the project in the next academic year with new content and in new formats.
The Department of German and French Languages expresses special gratitude to the teacher of the English language of the Lyceum Jean Daute Madame Alexandre Nante and the adviser to the President of La Rochelle University, Mr. Patrick Ansel for help in organizing the camp in a new format.
The camp participants are already making plans for the next year, which may become special: if sanitary conditions permit, a delegation of students from the Jean Daute Lyceum plans to arrive in Petrozavodsk in February, and in April, in order not to lose the opportunity missed this year, students of the Institute of Foreign Languages will go to La Rochelle.