Monday, May 02, 2011


Woohoo! Final French marks are up. I pulled a B- over all. Not bad considering I failed the first midterm [insert blushing smilie here] That makes me feel beter.

Actually I basically improved over all.

First Semester
Latin C
Geography A-
Canadian History B
North American A

Second Semester
French B-
Medieval History B-
Canadian History A-
North American A+ (!)

It should be noted that my second semster North American Studies class was a second year course as well. So not only did I bring up my grade from my first semseter NA class but I got an A+ on a second year course when I am just a first year student. Yeah me!

I'm really, really happy with that. Even with the learning curve of first semester, second seemed harder in a lot of ways and I didn't think I'd do that well. I'm glad to see that I was wrong.

So, French. The course I completed was "Introductory French 102" I was technically over qualified for the course and definitely not allowed into 101 because I have grade 11 high school French. However I contacted the course advisor and explained that grade 11 was over 10 years ago so they let me take 102 this year. As you know I was also part of the French club which helped a lot with my comprehension levels.

(forgive me if I've blogged any of this before. I'm going to launch into my little "30 second commercial" so that anyone who doesn't know, gets a better picture of why I'm doing what I am doing. I feel like I have said this a million times to people but I doubt I've blogged it so here it goes)

My goal after school is to get a job with Parks Canada or a similar organization. I'd like to work in a National Historic Site, or any historic site, preferably as a costumed least to start. Every SINGLE person I have mentioned that goal to always asks "how's your French"? Basically, to work for in tourism for a federal agency in Canada French is a huge bonus. Now I like French and I would love to speak it more fluently so it is something I'd want to do anyway.

Because Canada has two official languages, English and French, the federal government has designed a "Five-Week French-Language Bursary Program". They describe the opportunity as: "Discover another region of Canada while learning French. Enjoy five weeks of learning and adventure, friendship and discovery!" Program is called My Explore or, "Explore" and the official website is here: Explore Sessions run in the spring and summer at a variety of campuses around the country. You select the campus and time frame, apply for three and they see what they can do for you.

I spoke with many people (at historic sites during my trip to ON, fellow students and French Club members and professors) and they ALL suggested being outside the big cities (like Montreal and Quebec City) because they are too used to tourists there and it will be difficult to practice French when out and about. My top three choices were Chicoutimi, QC, Saint Anne's in Nova Scotia (where you also can't practice French but apparently it's beautiful and I really want to go to NS) and Trois-Pistoles, QC. The three I selected also offere university credits, accomodation with a host family and spring sessions (mid-May to mid-June).

As you know, I was awarded my first choice, Chicoutimi! I know of at least four other students at my school who were wait listed for the program (and from what I've heard, haven't been admitted) so I consider myself VERY lucky.

The course is five days a week for five weeks. You're in class every morning as well as Thursday afternoons and doing group cultural activities, in the remaining afternoons and evenings. It will be very busy (and exhausting because it's all in French) but good. There's also a "three strikes and you're out" policy. If you are caught speaking English three times you can be sent home. Now obviously if you're just trying to work out French words and you're giving the English equivilant, that's find but if you're just speaking English instead of French? That's a no-no. It's meant to encourage the use of and development of your lanugage skills. I think it's great.

Chicoutimi is about a 12 hour drive from Waterloo which is doable in one day, but boring. I have to be there on Sunday, May 15th so I decided to leave two days early and spent a bit of time in Ottawa on the way. Ottawa is about halfway and another place I've always wanted to visit. Two nights and one full day won't be nearly enough time but it will help me get a bit of a feel for the city.

So, there, that's what "Quebec" is all about. My goal while I'm there is not only to further my understanding of the language but to also imerse myself in the cultural side of things. The French classes I'll be taking in the coming years at school have a large component of French culture. My Canadian History and North American Studies classes all talk about Quebec-as-a-region-of-Canada extensively and I feel that I'll have a better understanding of what they are teaching after being there for awhile. It's fine to learn from an English Canada - text book point of view, but it's not the full picture.

Next year I will be applying for summer jobs in my chosen field and by listing "Explore" on my resume, I know it will float it higher to the top of the stack.

I'll do my best to keep you updated on my progress when I am there :)


Things to Do said...

What a great program and what a great way to finally conquer a language. Good luck!!

Veronica said...

Congratulations on your great results! You should be very proud of yourself. It is very hard returning to study as a mature age student and even harder when you're so far away from friends and family.

The program you're going to do in Quebec sounds fabulous - and yes, it will look great on your CV.

Dirt Road Quilter said...

Well done Girl! What a wonderful accomplishment! Sounds as if you are on the verge of new adventures! How fun! Keep us posted and enjoy the journey!