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Bienvenue! To Alliance Fran莽aise

Bienvenue! To Alliance Fran莽aise

The Door to the French-Speaking World Is Open for You
 
By Natasha J
 
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Whether you need to brush up on your French or are hoping to learn the basics for your trip to France, there are several language schools in Tianjin that can help you. In such a culturally diverse city, it shouldn’t be shocking to discover a wealth of foreign language courses as a second language program. But one stands out - The Alliance Fran莽aise. It is a non-profit educational organization famed as the premier destination for French language classes and culture.
 
The Alliance Fran莽aise, a prestigious French foundation headquartered in Paris, is an international organization that has dedicated itself to promoting French language and culture around the world. The organization’s goals are: to propagate French language globally, raising awareness of French and Francophone cultures and to favour cultural diversity by emphasizing the importance of all cultures.
 
It was founded in Paris in the 1800s and rapidly spread around the world. The Alliance has 1040 centres in 137 countries, spread across five continents of which 69 are in Asia and Oceania. Of these 69, 18 Alliance Fran莽aise branches inhabit many cities all over China and each one runs autonomously. 
 
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Presently, in Tianjin, the Francophone community is quite substantial. French is also the most sought-after language to study amongst the locals after English. The history of France and its reach in numerous fields influences the students’ choice of French language.
 
Decor at the Alliance is a stark contrast to industrialised Tianjin. The warmly lit lobby perfumed by their drip-coffee-maker oozes sh奴fu (comfortable) as Yann would put it. Beyond the traditional stateliness, perhaps it is the charming touches which make the space light hearted and modern all at once. Furnished in a radiant red theme, the interior emanates energy and vitality. The relatively petit library just next to the reception contains books relating to the French culture and all reading material is in French language, making it the largest library of French books in Tianjin. The corridors, bathed in deep red walls, are adorned with artwork by students and renowned French artists and lead you to the gracious and experienced teachers teaching in their classrooms.
 
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Yann Carpentier, the director of Alliance Fran莽aise, Tianjin
 
French is a global language spoken over five continents. It is the official language in 29 countries and is a secondary language to many more. It was popular in the 18th century until the Second World War, when English became very prevalent. It is known to be one of the most romantic languages in the world and is also the language of the diplomats, being an official language of many global conferences such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, European Union and the former NATO. 
 
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“We are a country of history and culture. It is the opening toward literature, history, art, gastronomy etc. Speaking French means being well educated. It opens studies related opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, which are ranked among the top tier education institutions in Europe and in the world. Knowledge of French and English is an advantage in the international job market,” says Yann Carpentier, the director of Alliance Fran莽aise, Tianjin.
 
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This centre offers a number of courses and workshops in several levels of fluency, specially tailored for both adults and children. You can choose to study French in a truly authentic setting - immersed in a pure French environment, wandering in the Sino-French cultural exchange and experiencing the magnificent wealth of French culture. Moreover, the Alliance Fran莽aise offers to French learners the opportunity to take exams of the DELF (Dipl么me d’Etude en Langue Fran莽aise) and the DALF (Dipl么me Approfondi de Langue Fran莽aise). The DELF and the DALF are proficiency certifications in French. These exams were formulated by the French Ministry of Education and are recognized all over the world. They are designed for people who want to have their level recognized. 
 
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“The Chinese are gifted and talented with great appetite for French. They are curious about French manners and are interested in learning the language for professional and other purposes,” says Carpentier. He also goes on to say, “The cultural difference I experience every day, being French and living in China, is something I have been trying to make the most of. Sharing my cultural difference is something I have set as a priority. I want to try to bring France and China closer. I want to bring the French and Chinese citizens together in a way that they can understand each other beyond their cultural differences.”
 
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But Alliance Fran莽aise’s teaching goes beyond language learning, it is also a personal enrichment. It houses an extensive library and an impressive multimedia collection. These documents are available for consultation and for rent. In addition, Alliance Fran莽aise, Tianjin is a forum where people can meet and enjoy exhibitions, musical concerts and various other cultural activities hosted throughout the year in conjunction with their collaborators. Stemming from so many diverse activities, the events are not limited to just being enjoyed by members but are also within reach of non-members.
 
“Every year, in conjunction with the worldwide Francophonie month, we organize concerts with French speaking bands touring China. What's more, we display French films and many more small events. In June, we hope to host a grand concert for ‘La Fete de la Musique’: a tradition of concerts to celebrate summer, coming from France. In October, an event called ‘’L’automne du Romantisme’’, an exhibition and classical music concert. Then there will be a series of environmental and climate change lectures, meetings and movies and so much more! We even have many programs in conjunction with Le Loft to promote French cuisine. And throughout the year we organize numerous shows for children” explains Yann.
 
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He goes on to say that his vision for Alliance Fran莽aise is to provide a modern infrastructure and high-quality service in areas of culture and teaching. His main aims regarding the courses entail continuing to make successful those who want to go abroad, open new courses for children, and be more approachable to everyone – both Chinese and foreign. Regarding cultural events and finding new partners and sponsors in Tianjin, he says “We want to bring to the locale as many great and amazing events as Alliance Fran莽aise in Beijing and I envisage the foundation of more branches in other parts of the country. Hopefully by the time I finish in Tianjin, we can create many Francophiles.”
 
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