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Welsh French Cultural Exchange Flourishes in Cardiff


On Monday 10 October, The Institut Français came to meet their long-standing partners at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. The Institut Français is the official French government centre of language and culture in the UK.  It is one of 150 French Institutes worldwide, and one of the oldest. The Centre has been working with the Institut for over ten years to ensure that our French courses match the criteria of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Every year, students who choose to, sit the French diplomas DELF and DALF with us.This was an occasion for the Centre to show the Institut the wide range of French language courses on offer as well as the state-of-the-art language teaching facilities. In exchange, the Institut treated students by launching their new online platform, Culturethèque, which will delight all Francophiles.

The Centre provides part-time courses from absolute beginners to very advanced levels, courses taught both daytime and evenings cater for the needs of everyone who wants to learn French in Cardiff and beyond. What makes these part-time courses special is the fact that you can obtain a European diploma with them. In an era where fewer and fewer young people take foreign languages and where it is becoming progressively obvious that, as a consequence, the British economy is losing out, it is good to know that such excellent provision is available to everyone.

Dr Catherine Chabert, French co-ordinating lecturer at the Centre said: “Over the years, we have noticed an increasing local interest in foreign language learning. It’s as if, once they are adults, people then see the point of learning a language. Their motivations vary, from gaining a qualification for their CV, enjoying the challenge and pleasures derived from being able to speak another language, to improving their awareness of cultural differences.”

Axelle Oxborrow, UK co-ordinator for the French diplomas recognised by the French Ministry of Education (the DELF and DALF) commented: “Your facilities at the Centre are very good. You have two state-of-the-art language laboratories which many language centres would envy and the atmosphere in your classrooms seems naturally conducive to active communication. I am really impressed by the Centre’s strong provision of language programmes.”

Gaëlle Robin, the Director of the Language Centre at the Institut Français, told guests about the wealth of resources the new online platform, Culturethèque, offers and said:  “As long as you are a UK resident, you can access this online platform for free. We have e-books, films and audio documents, carefully selected and accessible from the comfort of your home. There is no equivalent anywhere else in the world”.