During the February break, the French Heritage Language Program launched a pilot program with Lafayette College and its students from the French department, led by Mary Toulouse.
The plan is to build a partnership called PAL (Partenariat de l’Amitié Lafayette) between the two institutions with mutual benefits: the FHLP students are mentored on college prep, and Lafayette students are given the opportunity to develop new friendships and empathize with people who are from a different community of learners.
In Mary Toulouse’s own words (she is the french teacher at Lafayette who spearheaded the visit): “Our students are also able to use the French they’ve been learning. This is an outreach program, but we’re hopeful that it is also helping to build and strengthen Lafayette as an inclusive and diverse community.”
The retreat included a campus tour in French led by a Lafayette student, a French class, an admissions presentation led by the senior admissions advisor; a student panel; a workshop on maintaining relationships; a leadership workshop led by the associate dean of students and a student-led workshop.
This experience had a real impact on our students: it helped them understand a few important things: their multiculturalism, multilingualism and resilience are valued; they have something unique to bring to a college classroom, colleges are looking for people like them and all the opportunities they foresaw at Lafayette College are not necessarily out of reach, with hard work, determination, preparation and some support.
We are hoping to build on this partnership and allow FHLP sophomores and juniors to benefit from this program every year.