The French Immersion program in Nova-Scotia at Universite Sainte-Anne was one of the most amazing times of my life so far. So, what exactly is this program? Well, people come from many different parts of the world to a small town in Nova-Scotia to fully immerse themselves in french. I went to the 2016 summer program for five weeks. I had never done anything like it before. I’d never even been out of New England! I went to Canada (where I’d never been) to stay in a room with someone (who I didn’t know) and to speak French (which I’d been teaching myself for just a couple of months).
When I arrived, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I wasn’t sure how formal everything
was going to be. I was very happy to finally reach my destination after about 10 hours of driving along with a two and a half hour long ferry. I got my key and went to my room and took a long, much needed nap.
On the first Monday, we were still allowed to speak English. We were all split into different groups and assigned our times for the written and oral placement exams. Because I hardly knew any French, these exams
were quite difficult. This didn’t bother me because I knew I would be put in the Beginner 1 course before I had even arrived. That night, we had an assembly where the staff was introduced and we chose the workshops that we would be doing for the next five weeks. I was in the workshop Conversation for Beginner 1, to help me learn useful vocabulary and phrases. Right after we chose our workshops, we had to sign the contract to vow that we will only speak French for next five weeks.
We had a set schedule every day. We would wake up for breakfast and go to our first class. After that would be an information session where we would be told what the activities for the day were. But they weren’t just spewing information, they were singing, dancing and acting out skits that they had created to make this half-hour session interesting. They would also announce which trip we would be going on for that day. There was one bus that would take us to different destinations every day for fun or for things that we needed. We would put our name in a box and hopefully get picked to go on a trip to places such
as Tim Horton’s or Foodland. After the session was our second class,and then lunch.
There would always be some sort of activity in the
evening that wasn’t usually mandatory
but fun. For example, there was a mime who came named Ryan Doucette and there were also musical performances by Cy, Luc Tardif and Radio Radio. Every Friday and Saturday there would be themed parties at the bar on campus. Some of the themes were Toga,
Hawaiian, ’50s and Western. My favorite day at Sainte-Anne was on the night of the Halloween party. It was on a Saturday and my birthday was the next day so my friends and I stayed up at the bar past midnight in all of our awesome costumes and celebrated.
Another fun day was when we went on a whale watching excursion. We went on such a
beautiful day and there were so many whales out. Apparently, the whales really like the attention and they were eating it up. I probably saw about fifteen whales that day.
All in all, I’m so glad that I went to Universite Sainte-Anne. I was nervous at first but there wasn’t ever a time when I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many people there that were beginners in French just like me. Everyone understood that we were there to learn but we also had so much fun. It’s the sort of program where you are going to learn as much as you want to. If you go to the program and don’t want to learn, you won’t, but you’d just be cheating yourself. I advanced so much in my French because I didn’t settle to learn just the basics taught in class. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.
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