KAMPALA – French is a very interesting language to learn, sing to and just listen too. French is a language of romance, love, a musical language for which the pronunciation is unique. I fell in love with the French language during my Ordinary Level when we used to sing French songs, vowels and numbers. I loved the French classes because I would enjoy speaking and saying something new. I would feel like am a foreigner, this feeling triggered me to associate and acquaint more with the language even at a later stage in my education journey which I did.
My passion for the language is immensely unmeasurable and it grows on a daily basis. Today as I share my French learning journey, I applaud myself for the extra effort I have put into learning it. Many people only believe that a new skill such as a language which is a very marketable skill currently can only be attained while young. Yes, I acknowledge that it is true that our ability to learn new languages while young is exceptional as compared to while old. However, all this also depends on the passion, self-drive and above all the resilience you put in to learn what you love.
My strongest learning point of the language was while I was pursing my Bachelor’s Degree of Leisure and Hospitality Management at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) where languages were part of our course units. Little did I know that it was my breakthrough, I was nominated as the class coordinator of the French class where I was responsible for organising class discussions, presentations and classes for the facilitators which I used to do wholeheartedly. One day, our facilitator Dr. Milburga Atcero brought an idea of reviving the glory of the phased-out French club at the University, she called upon all willing students to take on leadership. I did not comprise my abilities and took on leadership as the First Vice President of the rebranded MUBS French Club and since then I have never looked back on the mileage and opportunities this has created for me. During our leadership, we fronted servant leadership which has seen the club grow and visible to the French partners, embassy and institutions.
As the Club Vice President, my effort towards the club’s visibility paved way for opportunities such as involvement in the French celebrations, competitions, book clubs, open day events among others. Through French Club, I have also been lucky to attain a scholarship from the Embassy of France to Uganda to study my Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) alongside 40 more people for a period of 6months at Alliance Française Kampala, an accredited French teaching School in Uganda. I believe this will broaden my language scope and open more doors for me to aim for the stars and spread my wings as well.
As a youth, I implore the young generation to learn a new language because the future lies in developing lifelong skills such as languages to remain relevant and competitive in your career path. And with the fact that French is soon becoming an official language alongside English and Kiswahili as endorsed by the East African Community (EAC), it will be an opportunity for the youth because it is a language for communication in the community. The ability to speak French and English is an added advantage on the international job market. knowledge of French opens your doors to French companies in France and other French-speaking countries in the EastAfrican Community and other parts of the world.
France is one of the world’s largest economies and a leading destination for foreign investment, thus a key economic partner and an opportunity for a youth to grow in this market space.
A foreign language fosters an understanding of the interrelation of languages and human nature because it expands one’s view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and makes one more flexible and tolerant in any environment.
An added skill as a language exposes you to new ideas and new networks which pay off in due course. One of the most rewarding aspects of the human experience is our ability to connect and network with others. Learning languages full of different sounds, and different word order is also fun.
Learning a new language also pushes your brain to get familiar with new grammar and vocabulary rules. It allows you to train your memory to remember new words, make connections between them, and use them in contextual situations.
In conclusion, I greatly thank the Embassy of France to Uganda under the leadership of Ambassador HE. Jules-Armand Aniambossou, MUBS French Club, Makerere University Business School, Bonjour Kampala, Alliance Française for promoting French through creating various opportunities to learn the language.
The writer is a Teaching Assistant at Makerere University Business School in the Department of Leisure and Hospitality Management and the first Vice President of the rebranded MUBS French Club.