Starting Up a Conversation

By Samantha Ward

Natural disasters have a way of making people pay attention, even if it is only for a limited amount of time. After the earthquake in 2010, we heard a lot more about the small, Caribbean country of Haiti. Through this long ongoing process of recovery, we continue to hear much about how the people there are suffering, but little beyond that. Just like any other country, however, Haiti has its own rich history and culture that few of us are familiar with.

In November of last year, Elizabeth Louis, currently a second year doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, started the Haitian-Creole Conversation Table in order to help people become more familiar with Haiti as well as its main language. Originally from Miami herself, Louis’ parents are both from Haiti, so Haitian-Creole is her native language.

“[My favorite memory with the club is] learning about Haitian history from other people as well, and I think it’s just really fascinating because there is just so much history . . . to learn about someone’s interest and someone who has learned about a part of Haiti that I haven’t learned about or explored yet, it’s really fascinating,” Louis said.


As far as size goes, group meetings are typically small and intimate, with two to four students on average. They cover many aspects of the language and culture, from learning more about grammar, literature, and history to discussing current events and sharing stories about visits to Haiti.
“All levels are welcome, and it’s a place where you can feel welcome to come to appreciate the language, music, and just the different cultural aspects of Haiti,” Louis said.

The group meets every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute on 290 S. Hull Street.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Louis at

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