Native Speaker program welcomes Andrew Howard, hosts ‘La Francophonie’


Flickr\Rosana Prada

The college’s Native Speaker program will host French food at La Francophonie.

Emily Craig, Assistant News Editor

This past semester the Modern Language Department welcomed to the French Native Speaker program Andrew Howard, who will take part in the upcoming program La Francophonie.

Before coming to Saint Anselm College, Howard spent time travelling across Europe and living in Paris. Among the many countries he visited, aside from France, during his time spent abroad were Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the UK.

“I worked freelance as a newsroom assistant for BBC news’ Paris studio and managed a nonprofit based in Montreal,” said Howard. “I’ve always been interested in history and social justice, and the nonprofit I founded with my best friend in Montreal celebrates black history in North America and worldwide.”

The nonprofit organizes cultural events across the globe. Howard reveals that the group has even hosted several “world renowned Black activists and icons including Angela Davis, Tommie Smith Kathleen Cleaver and Michaëlle Jean.”

Just last year, Howard arrived in New Hampshire to begin a new chapter in his life. With the intent of working in an academic or cultural environment, he soon came across the Saint Anselm Modern Language Department.

“After my initial meeting with members of the modern languages department, I knew this was where I wanted to be. Being around a diverse group of people is so exciting and I get to learn so much from students about American culture. I love how open this community is.”

Howard said that he even started learning some Spanish here and there simply by being around the other native speakers who work with the Modern Language Department.

“I love the Native Speaker program here. The fact that we, native speakers, all come from non-English speaking countries really gives us a unique perspective on the process of learning to speak a new language. We know that it can feel intimidating at times, and so we put a lot of effort in making Native Speaker sessions fun, interactive and relaxed.”

Howard said that along with speaking the language – in his case, French – the native speakers also have the opportunity to share their own experiences with their respective cultures with the students.

“From celebrating Día de Muertos,” said Howard, “to baking French madeleines, to tasting German pretzels and learning about Oktoberfest, Native speaker is a fun and immersive experience.”

The Native Speaker program is not the only way for students to get involved in the French language or culture at Saint A’s. In fact, the Modern Languages Department will soon introduce a new program called La Francophonie. Throughout the month of March, the La Francophonie program will celebrate and showcase the French language and culture through several different events held across campus. The Modern Language Department will collaborate with different groups on campus to make this program possible; the groups involved are the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the History and Fine Arts Departments, and Campus Ministry.

La Francophonie events include, but are not limited to, showcasing French books in the Geisel Library entrance area, a francophone treasure hunt on campus, and French-themed menu days at Davison.

The Modern Languages Department also introduced another new program for the French language called La Table Francaise. This program is a simple way to practice your French in a relaxed atmosphere. All language levels are welcome to meet other French speakers on campus at the Coffee Shop every Thursday at 12:30 p.m., starting Feb. 23. No French experience is necessary to participate in the program.

When asked for his thoughts on the La Francophonie program, Howard said, “The upcoming events for La Francophonie month are going to be great. Having francophone faculty from around the world is going to make our activities very diverse and will showcase a variety of French-speaking cultures.”

Among some of the other events that will be held throughout the month are a French cooking class held by Howard himself, screenings of French movies, a tasting of Howard’s favorite French-Canadian maple delicacy, a tour of Manchester’s French historical districts, and a French mass.

“It really is a great opportunity to celebrate the unique relationship this city has with French,” Howard said. “It’s part of Manchester’s, and New Hampshire’s, cultural fabric.”

Students can expect a full list of the La Francophonie events in their Saint Anselm College email inboxes closer to the beginning of March.