Trivandrum in French

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Geoffroy Meyer and Sophia Laouari

Geoffroy Meyer and Sophia Laouari

Meet Geoffroy Meyer and Sophia Laouari, two French “stagiaires” or trainees who chose Alliance Française de Trivandrum to add to their experiences.

When Geoffroy Meyer landed in Trivandrum it was like another world. Everything was different, there was a lot to learn, culture shock was immense that he felt like swimming in unknown waters. Fortunately this was not his first foreign program. His previous experience in a cultural organization in Benin as well as the guidance of Bindhu, the cultural coordinator of Alliance Française helped him in managing quite well his work as event organizer. Thus he was in charge of taking care of the French artists who come to Trivandrum for the cultural events of Alliance Française. Geoffroy was also the animator of the conversation program for students “Dialogue à la Française” conducted every month which proved to be popular among students.
“On my arrival in Trivandrum I found even ordinary day -to-day life so different that all my previous notions of India had to be altered” said Geoffroy. But generally being a person eager to learn he adapted well to Trivandrum and not once during his stay here did he feel homesick.” Yes, maybe I missed French food a little,”he admitted “ but on the whole my experience was good.” But as expected, by the time he was feeling comfortable with life here it was time to say good-bye. Though he always felt that his difficulty with English was a hindrance in report-writing of the cultural events, when he left, his language skills had improved so much that he considered this an asset to take back home.

“Couscous” equal to  “Puttu”
For Sophia Laouari Trivandrum was definitely different but exciting. Her knowledge of English and her previous experience in Cambodia made it easy for her to adapt well here. She found the people of Trivandrum  warm and curious that establishing social contacts was not at all a problem. With not even an ounce of homesickness, she felt completely at home here and she loved the local food.
On the professional side, Alliance Française de Trivandrum taught her exactly how a FLE (français langue étrangère) class takes place. While teaching a group of freshers who had absolutely no previous knowledge of French, she realized that practice was sometimes so different from theoretical knowledge. “I had to give explanations for grammar rules which come naturally for the French. Sometimes I even had to go searching for local references to explain certain concepts; like how ‘couscous’ resembles the local dish ‘puttu’. But all this makes teaching exciting” she happily observed.  Apart from teaching she also organized a photo exhibition titled “Metaphor Shots” . Interesting glimpses of South India were matched with apt proverbs in French and English which were used as captions for the photos.  The exhibition was colorful and lent meaning to ordinary things in Indian life.
For Geoffroy his whole experience in Trivandrum was unforgettable whereas for Sophia, a handful of cherished memories were a bit more lingering than others. Like the time when she was bombarded with gifts from her students at a farewell party, their warmth was really touching. Attending a typical South Indian marriage, being invited to dinner at the local people’s houses, going to the temple with her ‘adoptive’ family, being able to share their lives albeit with sign language, were all Trivandrum moments to be carried off to France.

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...