Language training day, migrants testify

Following a referral from the territorial directorate of OFII in Orleans, 16 people arrived to the “Union française des centres de vacances” French Union of holiday centres (UFCV) in Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, to follow their 100 to 400 hours of French language training.

Latifa B., the trainer, already knows them. She begins, in a friendly atmosphere, by reminding them of what was taught the day before.

Everyone expresses themselves easily in French, and everyone respects each other’s words.

The topic of this Thursday is housing. The trainer relies on oral and written skills. She begins by speaking and asks them: “Where can you live in France?” Answers are flying thick and fast: “In a centre, a house, a flat, etc.”. Then arrives the writing and Latifa insists on the difference between the formal and informal message: “We don’t address the same way to a friend and an administration”.  All understand the distinction reminded on the board.

Latifa B., trainer
Latifa B., trainer

Each trainee gets involved and applies himself to answering throughout the morning’s exercises. They have come to learn useful things, they say, smiling behind their masks.

Sylvia B., from the Central African Republic, who arrived in France in 2002, was looking forward to this training. After 57 hours of language training, she considers to apply for a session leading to the next level of French language proficiency: level A2. She hopes to obtain a residence permit. This training during which they take time to explain her everything, allows her to consider a professional project in IT. 

Daouda B., from Guinea, took 27 hours of lessons. Arriving in France as a minor, he was able to attend a high school and then enter an apprenticeship for two years. His path to arrive in France was difficult, so, today, knowing how to write to an employer is a sign of integration for him. He has a work permit and works days or nights. The training center therefore adapts its schedule according to his working hours. He can also attend classes on Saturdays.

Mao K. also from Guinea, was recently granted refugee status. He follows the training course, 24 hours a week, with assiduity and satisfaction, in order to learn French and be able to create his own business in France.

Din Mohammad S., Afghan, is a beneficiary of subsidiary protection and comes four days per week. The trainer is comforting and the lessons are pleasant. So, despite the language difficulty, he is happy to come to learn and exchange in French. He also hopes to create his own business.

The trainees Mao K., Sylvia B., Din Mohammad S. and Daouda B.
The trainees Mao K., Sylvia B., Din Mohammad S. and Daouda B.

While this training continues in the afternoon, nine other trainees also attend a training in another room. They are all refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and have been prescribed 600 hours of training. They listen carefully Sarah J. the trainer. Today, they are studying the French sound “ou”, both in speech and writing. For these people who did not go to school in their country of origin, this 600-hour training course is a real asset for integrating in France.

Zara M., from Central African Republic, is satisfied with the training. She can speak, exchange with other trainees and learn to write. Zara has already done 440 hours and wants to take advantage of the remaining hours to progress and to communicate more confidently during her daily activities.

At the end of the day, the trainers write the daily report: good progress is being made. Each trainee benefits from an intermediate evaluation and a final evaluation. If the A1 level is reached (understanding and using familiar and everyday expressions, being able to introduce oneself or someone else, being able to ask a person questions concerning them and answer the same type of questions, etc.), an orientation towards a certification is presented by the training organization.