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Local teens experience French life in Quebec this summer


TRURO - It was a tough decision to make, giving up five weeks of their summer to continue their education, but that's exactly what Mary MacLean and Lindsay Sibley have done.

The two 17-year-old girls participated in a five-week French Immersion program in Quebec, on bursaries, with 400 other teenagers.

"It was a really good chance for us to improve our French in an environment that was almost all French," said MacLean, who picked up the award for Best Female Camper. "If you want to improve your French, that is the place to go."

Last February, a representative of the program, called Explore, visited Cobequid Educational Centre where the two were Grade 11 students. The representative gave students information about the program and the two received full bursaries to attend. The French courses will count as a credit for their high school education.

"We have to complete a French exam at the end of Grade 12, and we thought this would help improve our marks for that," said Sibley.

For four hours Monday to Friday, students gathered at St. Charles Garnier for classes. They stayed at Université Laval, just down the hall from each other.

"It was amazing," said MacLean. "We met so many people from around the world. There were students there from Colombia, Mexico and the States. It was great we got to share this experience with them. I picked up a little bit of Spanish, and they picked up some English from us."

When they weren't in classes, they had the opportunity to participate in other activities, such as shopping in Montreal, whale watching and white river rafting. They also visited La Ronde, which is operated by Six Flags in Montreal.

MacLean said one of her favourite memories from the experience was renting bicycles from the university with three friends and riding into Vieux Quebec, 10 kilometres away, for a Rolling Stones concert.

"That was an incredible experience. I was 15 feet away from Mick Jagger. I couldn't believe it," she said.

For Sibley, she enjoyed the entire experience.

"It was just all packed. There was no stopping while there," she said.

Because they were so close to Vieux Quebec, it gave the teenagers a chance to spend some time with locals who were in the heart of the French community.

"We got a lot more comfortable talking in French," Sibley said.

"We learned a lot from it - communicating with other people as well," added MacLean. "I'm going on a French trip next year with school to Rome, the Riviera and Paris, and this will help with that."

The girls said the experience, and taking French Immersion itself, will help in their future careers.

Along with the classes, MacLean had the chance to tutor some of the other students. Both MacLean and Sibley were given green bracelets, identifying them as ‘advanced' students. Beginners had blue and intermediate wore red.

For two hours a week, MacLean tutored students, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes one-on-three.

"It was neat to help out with what I learned in school," she said.

While both girls are too old to attend next year (the program is open to ages 14 to 17), MacLean may return.

"At the end of the camp, the director offered me a job as a counselor next year," she said. "I was shocked and didn't really have any words in the moment. I said I would love to and hope to go back next year for that."

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

 

 

The two 17-year-old girls participated in a five-week French Immersion program in Quebec, on bursaries, with 400 other teenagers.

"It was a really good chance for us to improve our French in an environment that was almost all French," said MacLean, who picked up the award for Best Female Camper. "If you want to improve your French, that is the place to go."

Last February, a representative of the program, called Explore, visited Cobequid Educational Centre where the two were Grade 11 students. The representative gave students information about the program and the two received full bursaries to attend. The French courses will count as a credit for their high school education.

"We have to complete a French exam at the end of Grade 12, and we thought this would help improve our marks for that," said Sibley.

For four hours Monday to Friday, students gathered at St. Charles Garnier for classes. They stayed at Université Laval, just down the hall from each other.

"It was amazing," said MacLean. "We met so many people from around the world. There were students there from Colombia, Mexico and the States. It was great we got to share this experience with them. I picked up a little bit of Spanish, and they picked up some English from us."

When they weren't in classes, they had the opportunity to participate in other activities, such as shopping in Montreal, whale watching and white river rafting. They also visited La Ronde, which is operated by Six Flags in Montreal.

MacLean said one of her favourite memories from the experience was renting bicycles from the university with three friends and riding into Vieux Quebec, 10 kilometres away, for a Rolling Stones concert.

"That was an incredible experience. I was 15 feet away from Mick Jagger. I couldn't believe it," she said.

For Sibley, she enjoyed the entire experience.

"It was just all packed. There was no stopping while there," she said.

Because they were so close to Vieux Quebec, it gave the teenagers a chance to spend some time with locals who were in the heart of the French community.

"We got a lot more comfortable talking in French," Sibley said.

"We learned a lot from it - communicating with other people as well," added MacLean. "I'm going on a French trip next year with school to Rome, the Riviera and Paris, and this will help with that."

The girls said the experience, and taking French Immersion itself, will help in their future careers.

Along with the classes, MacLean had the chance to tutor some of the other students. Both MacLean and Sibley were given green bracelets, identifying them as ‘advanced' students. Beginners had blue and intermediate wore red.

For two hours a week, MacLean tutored students, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes one-on-three.

"It was neat to help out with what I learned in school," she said.

While both girls are too old to attend next year (the program is open to ages 14 to 17), MacLean may return.

"At the end of the camp, the director offered me a job as a counselor next year," she said. "I was shocked and didn't really have any words in the moment. I said I would love to and hope to go back next year for that."

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

 

 

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