My courses started by September 5, however, the host university advised us to arrive earlier to enroll. At the time of my arrival there were only few daytime courses available to attend, so I signed up for four courses. For each chosen course, we had to pay 100 CAD.

My classes began in the evening, each course lasting three hours. The most interesting courses for me were Correction phonétique and Rédaction et stylistique. Correction phonétique is the correction of pronunciation. This course allowed us to share stories that we wrote, to stage small theatrical performances and stand-ups and even rap. At Rédaction et stylistique we learned to write. Each week we were given individual assignments: to write an essay, to correct someone's essay, to prepare a text for dictation, to perform a text, to write a poem using the grammar we’ve just learnt, and so on. Only a few courses required textbooks; it seemed to me that in Canada they focus more on the ability of students to analyze and experience given material, rather than just memorizing it.

At Langue orale et écrite we didn’t do exercises from textbooks, didn't use dictionaries, but studied modern French language, taught jargons and idioms, and learned to understand unfamiliar words without a dictionary, examining their composition and analyzing their origin. It is no secret that the biggest challenge for those who learn foreign languages is to start speaking, so we were taught to break through our shyness and hesitancy and to make an impromptu speech in front of the whole course (about 20-30 people).

Every week our faculty offered various activities: excursions to cities nearby, hiking in the mountains, picnics at the waterfall area, philharmonic concerts, wine and cheese tasting sessions. Also, Québecers among us volunteered to help us with homework or just talk. At first, it was difficult to adapt because of the different education system in Canada, and mostly because of the ill-fated "language barrier”, but thanks to the administration of the university, teachers and students being attentive and helpful, I gradually started to feel like home.

In our spare time, we traveled a lot. We visited Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Indian reserves, Jacques-Cartier National Park, New York, Albany, Laval, Chibougamau, Tadoussac, Levis, Niagara Falls... Every weekend we discovered new places, as the transport fare is quite inexpensive. In each city, we met new people; in the Indian reserve called Nemaska we met and talked to almost everyone who lives there, even got to meet with the chief of the tribe.

This program gave me a lot. I finished my study of Quebecois idioms, I finally started to understand fluent French and began to speak without hesitation, I experienced the life of the indigenous population of Northern Canada, saw a lot of cities with my own eyes and of course Québec, the city I heard so much about - now I understand why everyone who has been there falls in love with the city and the region!

Nyurgun Pavlov 2

 

Published in 2017.