Skip to main content

French beyond France: An interdisciplinary outreach project

Students filming an interview in a studio. The interviewer and subject are brightly lit.
French, film and humanities students collaborated on a project to bring community stories to life.

This article was written by Claire Hindrup, a senior studying Integrated Media and Strategic Communications and a member of the student-run Blue House Agency.

Boise State offers several community outreach opportunities, but in Brittney Gehrig’s French 400: Careers and Community class, they are taking it a step further. Focused on conversational French outside of the classroom, this two-credit course includes a collaborative project with film and humanities classes and interviewing French speakers in the Boise area. The project’s goal is to highlight different communities in the Treasure Valley so that both the students and the greater Boise community can experience and learn about a culture unlike their own.

Gehrig, a lecturer in the Department of World Languages, said the class and project have evolved over time.

“Originally, we started as a way for students to speak French and reach out to their community, and now it has become so much more.” she said.

The goal is to produce a documentary film and other supporting materials from the interviews with Boise area French speakers. Rulon Wood’s film class and Kyle Boggs’ humanities and cultural studies class collaborate with Gehrig’s students to make the project as well-rounded as possible. The humanities students draft the interview questions. The French students translate the questions and conduct interviews entirely in French. The film students shoot and edit the footage.

“This is not just for French students, not just for film students, but for anybody who is curious about other people and the Francophone world,” Gehrig said.

She hopes to present the project in a setting such as the Luminary on campus so that anyone in the community can attend and see the insights gained by the students, or of their own.