Understanding culture through language

Building synergies: Yasmine Dass, course director, Alliance Francaise of Madras.

Building synergies: Yasmine Dass, course director, Alliance Francaise of Madras.   | Photo Credit: Photo: S. S. Kumar


The new course director of the Alliance Francaise of Madras, Yasmine Dass, has many programmes and courses drawn up to suit individuals with varied backgrounds.

Alliance Francaise of Madras is all set to launch a special language training course for the visually challenged individuals. This is a first of its kind in the world, to be conceptualised by the AFM. UNESCO has declared year 2009 as the year of Louis Braille bicentennial and, the AFC will begin this course in order to commemorate Louis Braille.

The entire course material will be available to the participants in Braille and they can take the international certification tests at the end of the course.

“In the present scenario, there is a great future for anyone who learns a foreign language,” says Ms. Yasmine Dass, the new course director of Alliance Franciase of Madras (AFM).

Ms. Dass succeeds Mr. Karl Cogart (who is presently at Alliance Francaise Iceland) and, she took charge as the course director in the first week of December. She spoke to Education Plus about the new courses and initiatives of the AFC.

“AFM focuses on developing French language courses but we also specialise in offering specialised courses to suit corporate environment. As French Government is now offering courses to suit international students, we also take into consideration students who plan to pursue higher education in French universities. Apart from this there are special courses that focus on hospitality industry, Business Process Outsourcing and Call Centre employees,” says Ms. Jasmine Dass.

AFM has specially designed programmes on cross cultural training. “We aim to make the French and Indian minds meet and understand each others culture. Of course cultural training does not replace language training. Cultural training and learning French goes hand in hand and we achieve optimal results when students learn both together,” she points out. Successful communication is the key factor in such cross cultural training. “We are all set to launch a new course for young executives who want to get a taste of French language — pronounce names of French wines, dish and cities correctly— and build their social skills,” informs Ms. Dass. This course aptly called 20/20 is not a serious learning programme but an opportunity to get a peek into the French culture. AFM also makes it possible for those who have studied French in schools or colleges to brush up their French and get international certification. The institute also offers a fast track 80 hour French course which covers day-to-day interactions and practical situations that will be most useful for those who undertake business trip to France or to build relationship with clients based in France.

Campus France

In the recent times the French government has introduced many courses in English in order to attract international students with the major focus on India. Most of the universities also offer scholarships and as a result many students from India are keen on pursuing their higher education and research in France. “In fact the Institut Superieur d’Agriculture in Lille, in France conducted a training programme for their teaching staff about interacting with Indian students and, our staff from Chennai conducted this course at France,” says Ms. Dass. AFM provides cross cultural training to those students who have obtained admission in one of the universities in France. “There are opportunities in almost all fields of study, but I would say that there is particularly greater scope in the area of science and technology for students from India.”

For those hard pressed for time to attend regular classes, the AFM offers an online French learning course,, for beginners. “Our online course brings together the flexibility of the Internet and the expertise of our teachers with suitable learning materials,” Ms. Dass says. Personal tutor and phone teaching is possible.

For further details about courses offered at AFC at No. 24, College Road. Phone: 2827 9803/ 2827 1477.

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