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UAlbany French Professors Host Coffee Talk


Photo Credit: Bill Vaughan / ASP (French professors speak with students in campus center)

The smell of warm coffee wafting through the air, the sounds of happy chatter as students meet and greet, tiny blue, white, and red flags, and a smiling woman leans over and says, “Bonjour!”

September 11 marked the first bi-weekly French Coffee Meeting, an event that welcomes students who are studying French to meet at the Campus Center Starbucks so that they can get extra help through conversation.

“Honestly, the only way to get better at a language is to use it,” says senior Aseem Garnault-Kumar. “You can do a million course books in - name a language - but if you don’t ever talk to someone in that language, then you’ll never figure it out.”

The Coffee Meeting is a place where professors can help students without the pressure of a classroom.

“[Professors] help you with the connotations and everything gently. They tell you the correct way to do it,” Garnault-Kumar says. “It becomes easier to make the connections yourself.”

Students taking French classes are able to attend meetings to improve their conversational skills as well as connect with professors on a more personal level. The meetings are stress-free, filled with fun, stories and laughter.

Machteld De Poortere, a French professor, enjoys being part of the bi-weekly meetings and engaging with students in a new way.

Photo Credit: Bill Vaughan (Professor De Poortere far right)

“[Students] are encouraged to come. They have no obligation to but it’s a plus,” De Poortere says. “It’s a department initiative and we are hoping that as we continue these conversations, we will attract more students; possibly even offer them extra credit to encourage them.”

French Coffee Meetings are held from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. every other Wednesday in the East Addition of the Campus Center. For more information, students can reach out to their French professor directly.


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