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Hannah Gray


College of Arts, Society and Education

Publish Date

3 August 2020

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French in the South Pacific

When Dr Florence Boulard’s students begin their classes at JCU, they often eagerly share their excitement to take their French fluidity to the city of lights. However, Florence has a few reasons for studying French that hit much closer to home.

Florence Boulard is passionate about sharing her knowledge with those who want to expand their skills and their horizons.

“My first language is French, and it is a privilege and honour for me to be able to share my language and culture with others,” she says.

Here are five reasons why Florence is excited about French – and why you should be as well!

Why study French?

Languages are essential

It’s a simple reason, but undeniable. Languages are essential to our lives. They enhance our communication with, and understanding of, each other. Whether language is spoken, written, signed or sung, it has the power to enrich our relationships and our lives.

“Language is something that, for most of us, happens naturally. It is easy to forget and take for granted how amazing and unique our ability to use language is,” Florence says. “Can you imagine a life without language?”

Since we could neither write nor read this article without it – no, Florence, we can’t.

French is not as foreign as you might think

“While French is often considered to be a European language, at JCU our teaching is focused on what I refer to as ‘Pacific-French’,” Florence says.

Why Pacific-French? Because there are several of our Pacific neighbours—like New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna—that recognise French as their official language. As Florence says, “French is an important language for Australians because it is spoken right in our backyard!”

From foreign to fluid

Florence’s course is designed to get you not only familiar with French, but confident as well.

“Our French language classes at JCU provide opportunities for students to develop all four macroskills – speaking, listening, reading and writing,” Florence says.

“Our language classes are small, which enables our students to practice their language skills in class a lot.”

And if the only phrases you have in your repertoire are oui and hors d’oeuvre, don’t worry – JCU has classes for beginners as well.

A marketplace in french polynesia Tahiti
A variety of french pastries
Colourful sarongs on sale

Be immersed in the language and in a culture

If you hear adventure calling to you (in a French accent), look no further than Florence’s course.

“The most exciting part of our program is without a doubt the opportunity to travel abroad,” Florence says.

“I am passionate about providing opportunities for all of my French language students to experience living and studying overseas. Each year I take a group of students to New Caledonia, Vanuatu or French Polynesia.”
Dr Florence Boulard, JCU

JCU Modern Languages has both short (2 weeks) and long (up to 1 year) immersion programs overseas. There are also scholarships available to support students in covering travel costs.

Level up with a second language

Looking for a way to stand out to employers? Or a skill that can open the door to opportunities both near and far? A language like French could be your golden ticket.

“Learning a language will always add value to your degree and personal life,” Florence says.

“No matter what you wish to achieve in the future, knowledge of a second language allows you to broaden your communication skills and enable you to reach out to people from different cultures. These are critical skills to have as our world continues to be more and more interconnected.”

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Dr Florence Boulard

Senior Lecturer

Florence is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts, Society and Education at JCU. Florence teaches in the Languages program as well as in Education and Arts subjects. She is also the Director of the Academy of Modern Languages which runs from both JCU Cairns and Townsville campus.

In sharing her passion for languages and culture, Florence works in partnership with a range of schools in Queensland and in the Pacific. Her community engagement and research work is led by her desire to build stronger, international-minded communities.