This week Her Campus Leeds donned her beret and had a petite conversation with the President of FrenchSoc, James Xu.
1. Hi James, tell us a bit about yourself- where are you from, what are you studying, what are your interests?
I’m a Londoner, born and bred, still perplexed by the fact that people up north say “tea” instead of “dinner”. Come on, we all know it’s dinner. Unsurprisingly, I study French, but it’s pretty funny because I initially took French and Economics before I wussed out and changed to straight French after the first week.
I’ve been playing guitar and singing for about four years now, so I guess you could say I’m pretty musical. You may have seen me at an open mic night over the past few weeks, blaring that John Mayer brilliance. Not gonna lie, my life would be pretty dry without my guitars. Aside from that, I love cooking, or just food in general, and I am pretty into my health and fitness, exercising six times a week just to keep me from losing my mind.
2. How did you first get involved in FrenchSoc?
Well, FrenchSoc was one of the first stands I visited at the Freshers’ Fair in my first year, and I still remember all the French flags painted on the committee’s faces. Fun times. The Modern Languages introduction drinks social and the Otley Run were pretty amazing for getting to know everyone at the start, but I have to admit that the latter is where I really put myself out there.
The fancy dress theme was, obviously, French, so I thought it’d be a great idea to buy a plethora of croissants from Morrisons and fashion myself various croissant related attire, i.e. a croissant headband and a croissant necklace thing. Adding to that, I had a massive baguette in my hand to eat throughout the evening (don’t be jelly of my devilish tactics), as well as my stripy red top and a terribly, atrociously drawn moustache (see the picture above!). By the end of the night, my headband was literally non-existent after people just started taking bites from it, and my necklace pretty much suffered the same fate.
But yeah, that was really the start of how I got to know all the awesome Frenchies, and of course the awesome committee at the time.
3. What made you want to become President and what does it involve?
FrenchSoc really made up a lot of my first year, it was literally my bae. I had met so many great people through socials, and I was loving it so much that once there was talk about elections for next year’s committee, there was nothing I wanted more than to get involved. As for why I chose the President role in particular, I’d probably say that since I knew everyone so well, I thought it’d be the best role for me.
The most important job as President is probably sorting out the Paris trip in November, something that took up quite a bit of my summer, having to send out countless emails and trying to negotiate the best deal between two travel companies, then of course having to make sure the trip itself goes well with the help of the lovely committee. Aside from that, in general, you just have to make sure the society is running smoothly.
4. What does being President involve day to day?
At the start of the year, things are pretty hectic, especially having to do your best to get the Freshers to join the society, but things start to mellow out a lot after the first semester or so. Once all the rush of the Paris trip and the initial recruitment of society members passes, it mainly becomes a case of helping the rest of the committee with whatever needs doing, replying to a lot of emails, and holding the odd meeting here and there. Also, with the assistance of my very, very helpful Vice-President, we’re helping out with the French play, ‘L’Avare’. The first performance is on the 10th March, 7pm, in the Rupert Beckett LT, so please buy your tickets on the FrenchSoc society page!
5. What do you have planned for this term? Anything exciting coming up that we should know about?
Most recently, we had a Bowling social, and in fact, earlier this week we had the notorious Wine and Cheese night which had an amazing turnout. Safe to say, all the cheese got absolutely destroyed, and we ended up having to buy some extra bottles of wine to satisfy the need for a bon vin rouge! It was undoubtedly a very jolly evening.
It is really weird how this semester is almost over, but we may have a social or two before the Easter break, possibly a French film at the Hyde Park Picture House. That said, the Modern Languages Ball is really close already, so there is also that to look forward to.
6. How can students get involved?
To get involved, all you have to do is like our Facebook Page, or follow us on Twitter @LUUFrenchSoc, to receive updates of what’s going on with the society.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It really has been amazing being part of the committee this year, and if anyone is ever thinking of joining a society committee, for any society at all, then you shouldn’t think twice about it. It gives you a chance to really get involved and it also looks great on your CV! I really mean the latter by the way; I mentioned it over a phone interview recently, and she sounded really impressed!