We love our members! In fact, we love them so much that we want you to get to know them and share in our community. In this series, Member Spotlight, the French Library introduces you to a member via our blog. This edition we are featuring Will Hansen, a globe-trotting, sports tourism-loving member! Read on to learn more about Will...

Will Hansen

"The adaptation to programming at the Center pendant le confinement this year has been great, and definitely has made this period in time more enjoyable/bearable, from the virtual conversation groups to adapting the format of the film club, all especially uplifting for me..."

What is your connection to the French language and/or francophone culture?

I'm from a very internationally-minded family having lived or resided abroad for short periods growing up, and constantly in global communities locally. Both my parents learned French when they grew up in the US, one doing an exchange program in France when they were in high school. When I was an infant I was enrolled in some French classes at a local enrichment program and generally had French children's books around to read. I took French through parts of middle school, high school, and college, and have had opportunities to travel in the Francophone world with my family to France and Morocco for short periods in middle and high school (including being unable to find turkey anywhere in Paris on Thanksgiving...).

Post-college, I've jumped on any opportunities for travel related to visiting friends and family, professional opportunities, or sport-tourism, and so have made reasons to visit France several times. This has meant I've needed to work on my French language ability, using the help of the French Library and also taking part in programs at the Alliance Française de Lyon.

How long have you been a member here and why did you decide to become a member of the French Library?

I joined in mid-2019, after I was in Lyon and became aware of the Alliance Française there from programs that Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was doing with them and which I was able to tag along with for a day. Then I googled while on the train to Aéroport Charles de Gaulle and found the French Library of Boston! I think I went to an event less than a week later and then registered as a member, and signed up for classes a couple of weeks after that.

[I decided to become a member] to take part in the events and classes, especially with the discounts on classes being a no-brainer more than offsetting the cost of the membership. I've used the local area or online discounts too more recently. I think when I joined there were a series of events about French innovation that were really interesting. I believe the first one I went to before joining was about the history of luxury branding tying modern innovation in 3D printed shoes to Louis XIV and fashion houses.

What do you like about being a member at the Center? Do you have any favorite classes or events that you have participated in?

I think the pace and range of programming is impressive; at any point if I check for things going on for free or close to it there are at least a few options for each week or so and always very interesting. I think last year around this time there was an art exhibition collaborating with scientists and artists that was fascinating and important. The TV5MONDE offerings or just awareness of it has been great in getting me to sign up, and I've found that super helpful and entertaining as a great starting point for keeping up with francophone media, current and classic.

The adaptation to programming at the center "pendant le confinement" this year has been great, and definitely has made this period in time more enjoyable/bearable, from the virtual conversation groups to adapting the format of the film club, all especially uplifting for me considering I left France and francophone Europe slightly sooner than expected "à cause du coronavirus" (when I also learned that "Coronavirus" was a villain in the 2017 Asterix BD).

If you could travel to any Francophone country, what would it be and why?

This is always a difficult question, since the obvious yet unhelpful answer is "all of them, and right now" so to be most practical and specific, I've never been to Montréal despite it being a short 5hr drive north (border closing notwithstanding), and since "tourisme sportif" seems to motivate me, they have a great running event every September (except this one). Genève and Bruxelles are interesting on a number of levels with high-level global happenings in beautiful cities, and I know Genève has a running festival next May along the lake for UNICEF.

Interested in sharing your story or becoming a member?

Contact our Membership Manager, Natalie Collet, at or call (617) 912-0400.

Natalie Collet

Former Membership Manager

From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and​ the language and culture entranced her through her student years.​ She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities​, ​quality programming​, and a community through French!

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Upcoming Events

Wine Seminar

Wine Seminar - Rhône#2

Gastronomy & Wine program: Your French Culinary Arts and Wine Journey

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Join us in our Victorian Founder's Room for the first Wine Seminar of the year, dedicated to the Loire Valley wines. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, our series is tailored to provide a deeper understanding of French wines, refine your wine-tasting skills and vocabulary, and foster confidence in conversations, selections, and pairings. We will provide you with an authentic French perspective and access to a splendid array of quality wines.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Meet the heroes who saved multiple art works during WWII in France! Michelle Young is a Harvard Graduate, author of the upcoming book The Art Spy about spy Rose Valland.

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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Let's clink glasses and have a great time together! In collaboration with the Boston French Community.

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