Three students in CSI Professor Kathryn Talarico’s French 313 Advanced Communications class had a unique experience on Election Night. They had the chance to participate in a studio audience in the Manhattan studios of French cable station TV5, an international channel that broadcasts to all Francophone countries around the world.

The station’s coverage, which was dubbed “The American Night,” featured live coverage from Paris; New York; Washington, DC; and Dakar, Senegal.

Prof. Talarico explains that this was “a live broadcast with guests, politicians, and journalists from around the world talking about the elections is the United States, which [the station and the French media] have been following exceedingly closely….”

Talarico, who is a subscriber to TV5, received an invitation from her cable provider, Time Warner Cable, to join the studio audience and to bring a few guests. Talarico explains, “One of the activities that the French 313 students have been doing is to follow the elections on the Internet, looking at the French media. How is the French media covering the American elections?” In an effort to add a new dimension to this research, she drew lots to see which of her students would enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The students got the chance to meet their favorite TV5 host, Philippe Dessaint, and had pictures taken with him. They are working on creating a Webpage describing their experience.

Shaimaa Mobarak, a French 313 student who attended the broadcast says that the experience “was very interesting. Not only was it a monumental day in American history but it also affects people around the world. My understanding…[of] the French people has changed drastically after speaking to some of the people who were in the audience. They were so receptive to the change in this country and were very eager to see how this election would change our country and subsequently theirs.”

Commenting on the meaning of this experience for her students, Talarico notes that “this is very important. I think we’ve had it driven home for a long time now, and especially with the recent economic collapse, how important it is to understand global situations and the interconnectedness of everything–the importance of studying foreign languages is one part of this. I was pleased to see how excited the students were,” Talarico adds, “and how they paid close attention to what was going on. And since this was a French event, we were treated to a lovely buffet with wine! The students stayed in Manhattan after the broadcast and enjoyed the rest of the Election Night festivities in Times Square.”

Three CSI students had the chance to participate in a studio audience of French cable station.