French – Class Project: Letter Exchange with Burkina Faso
Two Speakers of French, Worlds Apart: Banyao and Ali
Banyao lives in Burkina Faso in West Africa. Ali lives in Valparaiso, Indiana. Though they are worlds apart both culturally and geographically, they share a connection — the French language!
Across the globe there are 55 French-speaking countries and roughly 200 million speakers of French. A Valpo French class helped 23 such speakers connect with one another across 5 time zones through a letter exchange project. Ali, who is majoring in French and International Service, put her language skills into practice when she began corresponding with Banyao as part of her advanced French writing course. Organized by a Valpo French alum, Kim Hover ’08, this letter exchange was an integral part of Prof. Duvick’s Advanced Written Expression course in spring 2010.
Though the typical American college student is connected at viritually every moment with friends and family through Facebook and text messages, the only way to correspond with Kim’s students in Burkina Faso was the old-fashioned way — through a letter exchange. Three times during the semester Prof. Duvick received a package through the mail with more than 20 handwritten letters from students at the Collège d’Enseignment Général in the village of Bilanga in East Central Burkina Faso.
Read Kim’s blog about her experiences in Burkina Faso.