Claire stands next to the Chute de Montmorency waterfall during orientation.
Overseas Study Program
Claire’s majors: Spanish and Political Science
Term abroad: Summer 2009
Reason you chose this program: I had only taken two semesters of French before leaving, so I decided I should go somewhere a bit closer to home. Quebec seemed more off the beaten path, too, which appealed to me. It was different, since most French students go to France.
Favorite classes: I took mostly French grammar and pronunciation classes, but we did a section about Quebecois idioms, which was really neat.
Decribe the housing situation: I lived in the dorms, which were standard college quality, although everyone did get individual rooms. Other kids stayed with host parents, which they all really enjoyed. They got to experience how the Quebecois live first-hand.
Best Memory: Sitting on top of one of the walls of the old fortress with friends and a bottle of wine, watching a concert from the Festival d'Ete.
Biggest Surprise: How different Quebecois French is from the regular variety. Most of the structure and the majority of the vocabulary are the same, but the pronunciation can be very different and difficult to understand.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would... live with a host family. The students who did so really got a front-seat view of Quebecois culture, and their French improved a lot more since they didn't hang out in the English-speaking atmosphere of the dorms.
Greatest Challenge: Doing well and participating in class was difficult. By the time I could think of how to construct a question I wanted to ask, the discussion had already progressed to the point that it was irrelevant! Luckily, my teachers were nice and the program director was very supportive and willing to help with my grammar.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: In a referendum in 1995, the people of Quebec chose by a margin of about 1% to remain a part of Canada instead of becoming an independent country. They are very proud of their heritage!