It's all business with French students

03 March 2003
THE SIX students who made up the 2002 third-year Business French class have done UCT proud by passing the formidable Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIP) exams, and doing so with distinction.

Nadia Botha, Sarah Conolly, Ryan Hawthorne, Lilya Matcheva, Jacqueline Rutter and Bridget Sharples sat the full-day test at the end of last year at the CCIP's local exam centre, the Cape Town Alliance Francaise. The six received a financial hand from the centre's director, Luc Goudmand, who sponsored a generous part of their examination fees, which had to be paid in Euros.

Since completing these exams, Botha, Rutter and Sharples have registered for their honours studies at UCT. In addition, Botha and Rutter are putting their French to good use at the prestigious Institut Sciences Politiques in Paris, where they recently started a six-month exchange arranged by UCT's International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO).

According to Vanessa Everson, lecturer in French at UCT, Business French focuses on more than language issues related to the business world. So, for example, students look at everything, from how to present themselves at a job interview, to the skills and aptitudes that are required of a general manager.

“It's a totally different language register from the one students would come across in literature studies, for example,” she says.

Students also spend plenty of time looking at economic concepts, explains Everson. To this end, the class makes extensive use of a CD-ROM package, designed in France, which looks at authentic business situations.

All this appears to have stood the six in good stead in the CCIP exams, which are set and marked at the Chamber's headquarters in Paris. The exams serve as useful entrée to the labour market, whether locally or abroad, as graduates working in South Africa, for example, could serve as useful intermediaries for business associates in France or Francophone Africa, notes Everson.

The exams are also among the most prestigious in the French-speaking world, she says. “The standards for the exams are set by the CCIP, and are the same around the world, giving it international weight and recognition.”

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