There is now a French class at the Hospitality Institute. Our volunteer Eva Hirschi tells you why, and how the class looks like.
«The borders of my language are the borders of my world.» This quote of Ludwig Wittenstein is also a guiding principle for PROJECT-E. Aside of Amharic, also courses in English are mandatory – a must in the hotel sector. But the students of the Hospitality Institute shall learn a second foreign language as well in order to broaden their horizon even more. Since many visitors from Western Africa but also more and more tourists from Europe find their way to Ethiopia, PROJECT-E tries to satisfy the demand for French speaking hotel staff. Therefore, the students of the Hospitality Institute get French classes in their second year of school.
«Training of trainers»
Because the French lessons of the teachers and staff members lays a few years back (or are lacking completely), I’m giving a three weeks refresher respectively introduction course. The goal: The teachers and staff members should be able to teach French to the students themselves.
This concept is called «TOT – Training of trainers». Instead of giving a short intensive course to the students, it’s more sustainable if the teachers in Addis can teach this course during the whole year. Moreover, I don’t speak any Amharic and can’t make any comparisons to their mother tongue. Teaching French in English – a foreign language in another foreign language – would be an unreasonable imposition.
Advantage as a non native speaker
I’m not a language teacher myself but I got experience in leading workshops and I really enjoy to impart knowledge to somebody. Also, I grew up in the German speaking part of Switzerland, in Berne, but I studied seven years in French in Geneva. Actually, I feel like it’s an advantage that French isn’t my mother tongue – my memories from the French classes in primary and in high school are still fresh and I remember which exercises and tips helped me most to understand certain rules. Now, I’m trying to pass this knowledge on to my class.
Right from the beginning I enjoyed teaching French in the Hospitality Institute since the motivation of the course participants was noticeable. Since the class is quite small with three to seven participants per day, I’m able to give a very interactive course and can make sure that everyone is getting involved. What surprised me in a positive way: Each day during the three hours of class, nobody looks at the smartphone or is distracted. Everyone is gives 100% to learn this language.
Another great observation of mine: Everyone tries to apply what they’ve learned whenever possible : In the morning («Bonjour Eva, comment ça va?»), at lunch break with the other staff members («J’ai faim! Bon appétit!») or when someone sneases («santé!»). Satisfied and happy about this experience I can only say: «A bientôt, Addis Ababa!».