The Golden Age of Pen Friends

Just before life as we knew it stopped pretty much everywhere in Europe, I received a request from a colleague in France who wanted to help some of the senior members of his local Association France-Grande-Bretagne group to get in touch with English U3A members.

The whole idea of foreign pen friends was born again, the lockdown channeling people’s enthusiasm online through various platforms. Several members of the Andover U3A (Advanced) French group and of AFGB from le Cher near Bourges started talking online, writing to each other and exchanging articles published in their local and national media. Six months later, more members of the same Andover U3A Group have asked if some French penfriends would like to start talking with them.

So, our International Committee has decided to encourage the renaissance of international online pen friends. We are actively identifying equivalent U3A groups in Europe whose members are keen to exchange ideas and establish virtual links with their British counterparts.

Nobody needs to be fluent in any particular language. All one needs is to be willing to exchange ideas and experience with European citizens keen to brush up their English and make new English-speaking friends… and Learn, Laugh and Live!

Please do get in touch if you have similar arrangements, or would like to become involved in such a scheme – we would love to hear about your experiences. –

Dr Marie-Elisabeth Deroche-Miles
Andover U3A
Member of U3A International Committee