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Canada, je t’aime

Grace Miholic, Staff Writer

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Bags packed, passport ready, and neck pillow handy, I ventured into another country, another culture, another language, and another way of life. Now, I can easily say now that I am never going to be the same again.

This past summer I spent five weeks in Church Point, Nova Scotia (Canada) for a French immersion camp.

As I rolled my bags into the Lafayette airport at 5:45 July 1, the day of my departure, I remember turning to my mom and asking “This isn’t crazy, right?” and she just laughed. A month later I can easily say it was crazy, amazing.

The trip there was stressful, with a delay in Houston and a five minute mad dash through the Boston airport. I was exhausted when I finally got to campus at 2:30 in the morning. I was exhausted, but full of adrenaline. I didn’t go to sleep until after 4:00, spending those hours unpacking and getting to know my roommate, Megan.

The next two days went by in a blur, taking my placement test, which was difficult for a mere French 2 student, signing up for my workshop, and finally signing away my first language on a contract. By that point I had also met the people who would become my closest friends over the next five weeks.

The next morning I found out I had been placed in Debutant 2, which is French for Beginner 2, and I was so happy I hadn’t been placed in Beginner 1. They often got picked on through the duration of the program. I remember on “Western Night” they had handcuffs for the Debutant 1 students.

Once our schedules had been decided, routines quickly fell into place. Breakfast, class, information session, and another class. After class we were expected to eat lunch either at the cafeteria or at the takeout restaurant, Chez Amis, which is about five minutes away from campus.

After lunch, at 1:00, we had our workshops until 3:30, mine was “Fais le toi même”, which means do it yourself. After workshops, or ateliers, we could often go off campus on a bus (if you were picked after putting your name in a box) to shop or go to an off campus beach. Church Point is on the coast of Nova Scotia, so there were many small beaches lining the town.

There was also a game of softball every day between the residences, Allez Bozo 2!

I found myself benefitting the most from just taking walks with my friends occasionally, though. Learning about other people in a different language is an eye opening experience, mostly because you discover that you can. A lot of my vocabulary learning came from these walks.

After activities, we had dinner and a different type of party every night! My favorite being Toga, our very first soirée.

This continued on for five weeks, and it hurts my heart to write about coming home. On August 5 at 1:00 in the morning, I was ripped from most of my new friends, the good food sold by Chez Amis, and the place I had come to call home.

After being home for almost two weeks I can now reflect clearly on the experience. It was so much more than learning French, it was learning how to live in a different country, learning to live a different culture, learning to live with others, and most importantly, learning about yourself. I learned to speak a different language, but I also learned how to speak to myself. Canada, je t’aime.

The Student News Site of St. Thomas More Catholic High School
Canada, je t’aime