Christine Crowle – French Café and Chat


Written in June 2023.

Nillumbik U3A membership

Nillumbik resident: I have lived in Nillumbik for more than 40 years.

I joined Nillumbik U3A because I wanted to maintain and develop my fluency in the French language.

In my own words

My family emigrated from Scotland to Australia on the SS Orion when I was seven years old. So, although I am an Australian citizen now and call Australia home, I am aware of other worlds and other cultures. Perhaps this was why I gravitated to learning a foreign language at school and continued studying French at university. I have also dabbled in learning Italian.

At Melbourne University if one undertook an Honours Arts Degree it was mandatory to study a foreign language for at least a year – which I did. Later in my life’s journey, my husband, who was a systems engineer, was given the opportunity of working in the high-tech city of Grenoble and so we migrated to France where we lived and worked for two years. On return from France, I continued teaching and ultimately my love of learning and teaching has brought me to Nillumbik U3A where I enrolled into the U3A French cafe conversation group to keep the language alive.

What my students will learn

I am taking over leadership of an already well-established group, most of whom have a good foundation in the language. So the emphasis is on maintaining and developing French reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. We touch on matters of grammar, when necessary, and make use of a range of texts – stories, poems, songs, dialogues.

I hope that the group will build on their foundational knowledge as we continue our linguistic apprenticeship together.

Class structure

The space is small so it is a squeeze to fit us all in at times. The class is quite informal and begins with “Quoi de neuf?” (What’s new?) offering the opportunity to exchange life experiences, news, interests and opinions – in French.

Why did you volunteer to run this class?

I was asked to take over the leadership of the class.