In the age of globalization the skill of knowing an extra language is vital; such is the mission of Alliance Française de Kathmandou. AFK is one of the most respected language institutes in Nepal and with over 2500 students enrolled every year, they are doing a pretty well rounded job of helping people learn French! FR!DAY sat with the Deputy Director of AFK, Prabin Rana, to get into the importance of learning a new language and learn about the services they provide.
Please brief us about the history of Alliance Française de Kathmandou and also about your involvement in this organization.
Alliance Française de Kathmandou is in its 25th year; it was created in 1994. For the last 25 years, it has been the only certified French institute in Nepal. I started working here as a teacher in 1998 and since 2002 I have been handling its operation as the Deputy Director. I also handle the translation desk and the Campus France, a French national agency built to promote higher education in France.
What are the services provided and activities held by AFK?
Apart from providing certified French language classes, we strive to promote French Francophone culture by organizing events that build cultural diversity. Since we are an alliance, we promote Nepalese artists. We also have an easily accessible physical as well as a digital French library. Along with those, we have the Campus France where students who want to pursue higher studies in France are given consultations and help in obtaining visas. Then there is the Le Bistrot cafe which provides french delicacies to visitors.
How has the organization established itself as the only certified French institute in Nepal?
We fall under the international chain of Alliance Française. Although we are patronized by the French embassy, we are an autonomous body working as a non- profit organization following the guidelines laid by the embassy.
How many students take French language classes with you each year?
The number varies yearly but approximately 2500 students are taken in-house. We provide language classes to a large number of people outside the institution too. Our French language services are extended to the Nepali Army and the Nepal Police, UN agencies, some hotel management schools and private schools that have contracts with us. So we have a lots of students altogether.
What are the kinds and duration of French language courses that are provided by AFK?
For normal students, there are two kinds of courses- general in which 45 hours of sessions are completed in 6 weeks, and intensive in which the same hours are completed in three weeks. We also have private classes for both adults and kids. Other than that, we have customized courses for trekking guides and UN peace keeping forces, pre-departure courses and Nepali classes for expatriates.
What are the various levels that students can attain?
The students start from the beginner (A1) level and continue up in the order of elementary (A2), intermediate (B1) and finally the advanced (B2) level.
What are the different diplomas and certificates provided by the organization to attest to the students’ level of French?
We provide international diplomas to our students. Students can take either DELF (Diplome d’Etudes en Langue Française) or DALF (Diplome Approfondi en Langue Française), examinations for various purposes like immigration, further studies and professional stays in France. Also, we are the only recognized examination center in Nepal for different diplomas and certificates in the French language.
Why would you suggest learning French?
If you want to be different, then learn French! Learning any new language expands your knowledge. By learning French, you open yourself up to a whole different world. It is the language of culture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature and art. French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, which is important for those wanting to work in the humanitarian sector. The ability to speak French is an advantage in the international job market as well. French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. It is a fun language to learn.