Living in a country where English and French are the official languages, there’s a benefit to being able to speak both. I have taken French class all throughout elementary and high school but there was always a lack of opportunities for me to practice my French. This is where the Explore program comes in. Explore is a program where students and adults can learn and hone their French in various institutions across the Great White North. All student applicants receive a bursary from the Canadian Government when they get accepted into the program. I was fortunate enough to participate in Explore at the Université de Moncton in Moncton, New Brunswick which surprisingly is the only officially bilingual province in Canada.
The Université de Moncton was a fairly small campus boasting about 4 residences, a stadium, and various other buildings. When I was at the Université de Moncton, I did what every student does: go to classes early in the morning, take notes on the lecture, and practice my French. There were also workshops (a.k.a. les ateliers) that I was required to attend. The subjects of these workshops ranged from Francophone music, photography, and improv. You would think that going to class to learn French would be the only thing I would be doing but there were a plethora of activities such as exploring the province of New Brunswick, learning about Acadian Culture, and even getting the chance to travel to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island! New Brunswick boasts many great natural landscapes such as Hopewell Rocks, Bouctouche Dunes, The Bay of Fundy and much more. Explore gives students the opportunity to visit these places and it is amazing that students take an interest in viewing these things. The best part about this entire experience was that this was all in French!
On top of all this, I got to meet students from all across the country. The best part about meeting new people is that you can make friends and establish connections. They not only help you speak French but also make your time at Explore one of the best experiences of your life. The one thing I learned about travelling to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it. You can’t learn a new language if you keep speaking the old one.
Fun Fact: I met our Co-Founder Frank Ong during this program and I wouldn’t be a part of INKspire today if it wasn’t for this program.
Co-founder Frank Ong (left) & Writer/Editor Lawrence Cheung (Right) at Dickson Falls Trail, Bay of Fundy