A group of UFV India students are about to embark on a cultural immersion trip to France with their Canadian counterparts.
As part of a language training course through Alliance Française Normandy-Rouen, Canadian students from UFV Canada and Indian students from UFV India will get an inside look into the daily life of native French speakers.
According to Neha Bansal, UFV India Sessional French Instructor, the trip is an opportunity to see France from a unique vantage point. “The trip is not about tourism. Students are going to be culturally and academically enriched.”
Throughout the two-week trip (April 22-May 6), students will study at Alliance Française’s Normandy-Rouen location to bring their French skills to the next level. Depending on their previous experience with French, students will leave the trip with an A1.1 or A1.2 French Certificate.
Iconic French destinations are on the itinerary: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Cathedral Sacre Coeur, Etretat beach, and Mount St Michele. The group will even take a brief river cruise on the Seine to appreciate the evening lights of Paris.
While organizers had the option to book hotel rooms for the experience, students will stay with French host families instead.
“It is a complete immersion experience,” notes Bansal. “Students stay with host families and get a unique perspective of French family life”.
Host families introduce students to French cultural nuances, cuisine, and the day-to-day experience of life in France.
“Students take time to adapt, but by the end of the trip, almost all students say ‘I have a French family now’. After two-weeks, it’s tough to bring them back!”
Cultural adaptability is a key component of the program. In addition to building skills in one of Canada’s official languages, students move out of their comfort zone and gain a unique perspective of the French way of life.
“When you open up culturally, your perception of life changes. And when your CV says you can speak two foreign languages, of course, there are more employment opportunities.”