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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 6. May 28, 1947

French Journalist Interviewed

French Journalist Interviewed

M. Megrel is here in New Zealand representing a group of French newspapers, chief among them being "France Soir," the leading evening daily of Paris. He is collecting information about us for the delectation and instruction of French people who know little or nothing about the jewel of the Pacific. M. Megret had already visited VUC, CUC and Dunedin when "Salient" asked for his impressions of New Zealand university life.

M. Megret

M. Megret

... a leftist tradition

The tranquility and seeming discipline of our colleges as compared with French universities quite impressed him. (He'hadn't seen Procesh. at this point.) Students in France were nearer to the centres of historical crisis and this was perhaps the reason. France's political life is more active than New Zealand's; in fact, politics practically spring from the university. In New Zealand students take an active interest in political thought, but due to the fact that a big percentage of students in France emerge straight from Varsity into political life (into ministries, etc.), politics play a more vital part in the average French student's activities.

Students in Politics

The war has also increased its importance. Mnny students before the war were either left or right, but due to the conduct of rightists during the occupation, there was a swing to the left. The universities of France as a whole have a leftist tradition, especially in the arts and philosophy faculties. It would be difficult to find anyone in the arts universities who had no politics.

Despite political differences, students had a solidarity more evident than in New Zealand. The Child case, he opined could not happen in France. All universities would immediately take an active interest in the case, and the student body would take a stand for or against such a student. Above all they would jealously guard their rights to judge their own representative.

Mr. Megret said that he had noticed the prominent part played by sport in the Anglo-Saxon countries. Not that French students were not interested in sport—it was simply not prominent in the curriculum, thus giving a better balance between physical and mental activities. Students in France spent quite some time discussing and arguing in their studies and other social or cultural activities.

Girls in it too

Girls in French universities were much the same as in New Zealand—they had the same interests, but, as many of them had helped to carry war to the Germans, their interest in politics was more fundamental.

Finally, M. Megret expressed surprise at the number of people in New Zealand who understood French, and was quite impressed with the completeness of the French sections of our University libraries.