Today, the international student organization hosted a rainy day board game day. The only problem? It wasn’t raining! The one day they plan a rainy day activity and wasn’t raining! That meant that there weren’t many international students there, but there were a lot of French students who had volunteered to help with the event.


Actually, for a long time, I was the only international student there. So, the French students started playing a board game with me. It was a little like monopoly, except you didn’t buy houses and had to pay for your carte bancaire (they start French kids young with all of this bureaucracy). The objective was to gain the most money. I really didn’t know what I was doing half the time, but I ended up winning. Must have been the luck of the Irish today.


I then played a really fun card game where one animal (or the card) “eats” (or trumps) another card. It reminded me a little of card game I play with my friends at WVU, except with animals instead of a deck of cards! There was a guy who explained the rules and then let us play. Afterwards, I found out that he was the creator of the game! He came up with the idea, the rules and the cards by himself. He then mass produced it and it’s now marketed. He’s created other games since then, which is pretty cool.


I played another card game which I didn’t understand at all. It reminded me of a game I played in Gifted and Talented in middle school called “Set” because you had to match the shapes and colors of the cards of other players. However, unlike “Set,” sometimes you had to grab a yellow stick in the middle. I couldn’t figure it out, no matter how many times they explained it!


We played Uno, which is apparently a universal card game. I ended up winning that one too, which is odd because I’ve only played Uno once or twice before! Luck, I tell you, luck.


My favorite game, though, was Taboo. It’s the same as the game in America if you know it. You get a card with a word at the top of it. You try to get your partner to say the word by describing it, but you can’t say the word and you can’t say other words on the card. At first, I was nervous about playing because I’m not fluent in French, but the French students were super friendly and understanding about it. If I didn’t know a word, they let me pass it and go to a word I knew. But how could I possibly have the capacity to describe the word? I really didn’t think I’d like the game, but…my life here in France is like the game of Taboo. I don’t know every word in French, but I can describe what I’m trying to say. So, I looked at the word and tried to describe it any way that I can. It’s like this, but not like this. It’s a verb. It’s when you do this and then you do that. The French version also has a lot of French culture/history woven within it like names like Edith Pilaf and Jacques Chirac. I loved playing that game and I think it would be a great game to play when learning French. For any French educators/future French educators, consider playing the French version of Taboo in your class. It would teach your kids about French culture and history while forcing them to communicate through explanation, which is a very useful skill! And it’s really fun.


P.S- March 14th marked my second month in France. It goes by so quickly!