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Learn French In Quebec

Author and Friend in Quebec
The author (right) and a friend in Quebec.

It’s easy to forget that we have neighbors to the north who speak French. Traveling to Quebec can offer inexpensive opportunities for immersion in the French language and Quebecois culture.

It has always been my dream to spend time “abroad” learning another language. After being downsized from a large company, I seized the chance to spend two weeks at the Bouchereau Lingua International Language School (BLI). Language courses start every Monday for adults, aged 18 and older. Students from around the world take courses that are taught completely in French. Levels range from beginners to those who are fluent but would like additional grammatical instruction.

There is an initial placement test that determines a student’s language skill level. Courses last from one week to several months. They are generally 10 to 20 hours per week with four to nine students per class. This allows plenty of opportunity for participation and instruction. Additionally, students can opt for private and semi-private instruction. BLI adapts courses to meet students’ needs. Instructors teach with energy and passion, employing various methods so students learn as easily as possible. They extend themselves to ensure that students have classroom instruction as well as social speaking opportunities. The events they create after class sessions provide students with more casual language practice with Quebecois locals.

Comfortable and affordable accommodations include: staying with a host family, a local hotel, or an apartment located within walking distance or a short bus ride from BLI. I chose to stay with a host family in a large home. Two other BLI students also stayed at the house. We all shared meals, went to the cinema, and toured the neighborhood shops. Staying with a host family provides built in support and structure. It also offers a great opportunity to practice with native speakers and other students after school hours.

Quebec’s charm comes from its old world architecture and residents who are fiercely proud of their French heritage. Tours of the city and the surrounding area provide a glimpse into the French-Canadian culture. Students often take tours together and practice French with locals. Many French Canadians do not speak English, so it is imperative that we visitors make every effort to understand their language and customs.

In all, I came away with an appreciation for Quebec and its culture as well as a renewed confidence in my French language skills. For more info visit International Language School (BLI).

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