The International Club Lives On During The Pandemic


Kate Reilly (’22), a student in the International Club. Photo Credit: Flavie Lamat (’21)

Flavie Lamat, Contributor

Because of Covid-19 this year, the International Club from Bellows Free Academy of Saint Albans has had to adapt itself. This year the pandemic has caused big changes, like the cancellation of a trip to Montreal. 

“I think that it is important for students to have the opportunity to travel and use their language skills but also to discuss and experience different cultures, try new foods, listen to music from around the world and watch films in different languages,” Bruce Pollard, French teacher and adviser of the International Club, said. 

In the International Club, enthusiasts of different languages ​​and cultures come together to talk about this common passion. They discuss cultural differences that exist between countries, watch movies in foreign languages, listen to music or even dance, which can be seen on their Facebook page. They invite guest speakers, most likely foreign exchange students, to talk about their culture. They invited Flavie Lamat (’21), BFA’s French exchange student, to present on France’s culture to the members of the International Club on Dec. 17. Nictié Kalthoff (’23), BFA’s exchange student from Germany, has been invited to present in January. 

Any student of Bellows Free Academy can join the club. There are no restrictions, you just have to be interested in talking about languages, cultures and whatever you are interested in. 

Pollard lets his students choose what they are going to do during the meetings; these young people are very interested in this club. He recalled spending good times working with them, “I enjoy working with students who are enthusiastic about language and different cultures.” 

This year, because of Covid-19 regulations, there have been some changes. Pollard tries to organize meetings every two weeks even if the in-person meetings are not promised. They have had some meetings with Google Meet and some in person.

Also, this is Pollard’s first year as the adviser of the International Club.  He has to create meetings for both the Blue and Green student groups and to keep it active, even without the annual trip. 

Kate Reilly (’22), a member of the International Club since her freshman year, said she enjoys the club. However, there is no trip to Montreal, Quebec this year; the trip is her favorite part of the International Club, followed by the International Festival, which takes place at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds, and is an event where you meet people from all over the world and learn about other cultures.

Even though Covid-19 has changed some of the experiences of the International Club, participants have adapted to the situation the best they can.