French Institute’s 2016/17 launch fails to attract international students

Organisation’s Jeu de Boules tournament poorly attended


Le Jeu des Boules

By Inès Mette

Despite a 5-day extension for participant registration, the first Jeu de Boules Toernooi, or Tournament, of Groningen was poorly attended by students and international people.

The event took place on Saturday, August 3, from 1pm to 5pm at the Club de Pétanque Près le But in Stadspark. It was organised by the Institut Français, of the University of Groningen, together with the Club de Pétanque Près le But.

Although the tournament was open to everyone, the 40 participants were either French nationals or Dutch nationals, and very few of them were students. The participants were already members of the sports club, learning French at the Institut Français, French expatriates or simply Dutch people interested in the French language.

The lack of international and student participants can be explained by a few factors. For one, the sport simply isn’t very popular in the Netherlands and here in Groningen. As such, the registration deadline for the tournament got a 5-day extension because not enough people had signed up. In addition, the Facebook page of the event, the main vehicle for its promotion, was written in Dutch and French only. Florian Vanicatte, of the Institut Français and winner of the tournament, said that the lack of translation of the Facebook page in English was “probably an oversight.” Another issue was the timing of the tournament, which took place on the same weekend as the beginning-of-the-year student events such as the ESN (Erasmus Student Network Groningen) events. The promotion of the classes offered by the Institut Français, the wish to kick-off the year with this event, and the weather were reasons given by Mr. Vanicatte as to the choice of the date.

Mr. Vanicatte, speaking for the Institut Français, also expressed a wish to push the event to mid-September in the following years, in order to attract more students and more international participants.

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