Lucia Andrade

Imagine hearing French literally everywhere you go, having many trips and activities to engage in outside of your French class, interacting with students and teachers who care about the EIF (French) immersion program, having downtown pubs and entertainment to participate in, living and breathing French while you are taking a French language course in Canada. It can seem intimidating, but it is very exciting indeed. This has been such a remarkable and memorable experience for me and I am almost certain it will be for anyone who enrolls in the program.

I never personally understood the significance of the expression “you will learn more of a language if you become immersed in that language” until I travelled to Trois-Rivières. Not speaking French was nearly impossible. If I went to the local supermarket, restaurant, pub, park---everything and everyone used French! In addition, the program was not like a language class at a university that lasts for about 50 or 70 minutes—it took place throughout the whole day. There was a French course to take, fun activities such as art and theater to engage in, a city to explore, planned scholastic trips to cultural cities such as Québec City and Montreal, prizes to win, weekly dances to attend, karaoke in the university’s pub to attend, and much more! Using French never stopped at the end of my course, and the many activities to do really enhanced my stay at the university. One of the best experiences was the French Pledge: Only French will be spoken throughout the WHOLE stay. Everyone received an EIF bracelet, which reminded us of our pledge and helped people in the community assist us with our French and even reward us for our attempt to speak with them in French. After our class and planned activities in the day, there was time for unlimited personal activities in the late afternoon. The staff and students were very kind and helpful as well. I also established friendships with students from different cultural backgrounds, some with whom I still maintain contact.

It was nearly impossible for me not to use my French in Trois-Rivières (and Canada, in general). The city is beautiful, with its lakes, beach, downtown, nature trails, antique buildings, and friendly people. Major cities like Montreal are a bus ride away from the university. In addition, local stores and the city’s mall are walking distance from the dormitories. I ask myself, would I do this trip all over again? And my answer is definitely yes. I was treated like family by the faculty and students, my French significantly improved, and I had a magnificent and unforgettable experience. If you have the opportunity to enroll in the program, I highly suggest that you do it. You won’t regret it—and you will most certainly enjoy your complete stay at Trois-Rivières.