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4.16.2020 – David on Volunteering

French Community in Chicago

Connecting with the French Community in Chicago

One of the great things about learning another language like French is the opportunity to use the language to connect with that community in your city. There are French businesses, French immigrants, and other Francophone speakers who work and live in Chicago. Becoming involved in local activities is a great way to meet people in that community and to practice your language.

After a study abroad trip to Paris last year, I was fortunate enough to connect with folks from the Chicago Sister Cities International Paris Committee as well as the French Consulate.  Through meeting those people, I was able to volunteer at several Chicago events, including at the Chicago Marathon and the Field Museum.  Volunteering is also a great way to practice a language. When you volunteer within a community, it gives the people of that community a chance to get to know you, and you’re able to demonstrate an interest in them and what they are interested in as well.

Once you’ve made connections in a community, you can learn about events, food, culture, and other types of experiences. I was able to find out about a French singer from Paris who was performing in Chicago and was even able to arrange to buy extra tickets from someone when it was sold out. Likewise, I’ve been able to offer suggestions to French people who are visiting Chicago about places to eat, where to accomplish certain things in Chicago, and more.

The best way to learn a language is to practice speaking with others. Here in Chicago, being a multicultural city, we have access to people who speak a variety of different languages. By getting involved in the French-speaking community at UIC, that of greater Chicago, and now even online, we can easily practice French and make great connections with other Francophones.

– David