Musée des Beaux Arts, Mont St. Michel, Mosaic glass windows, and Macarons. 11 globe trotting UFV India students took off on a cultural immersion and language trip to Rouen, France this month.
In collaboration with Alliance Française de Rouen, students attained a new level of proficiency in French (one of the official languages of Canada). The experience was highly interactive and included both in-class learning and practice activities in the streets of France.
“Right after one of our lectures, we were asked to go to the local bakery and make a purchase”, reflects Abhinav Aggarwal, a second year UFV India BBA student. “I greeted the cashier, asked for an apple tart, requested the price, placed my order, and thanked them — all in French and without visual cues.”
Interactions with native French speakers were a staple of the trip. Students even navigated the city, speaking with locals in French along the way, to complete a quiz competition.
Students were introduced to the French way of living and stayed with host families during the trip.
Tushar Gajwani, who accompanied the students on behalf of UFV India Student Life, was quick to express how welcoming the host families were to their new guests. “It was a bi-directional exchange — they were as interested in our culture as we were about theirs”.
“Students took a couple of days to adapt”, reflects Neha Bansal, UFV India Sessional French Instructor. “They learned so much from their host families: daily habits, dining table etiquette, and even cleaning their own rooms.”
Some students even prepared an Indian meal for their hosts. “Now it is like they have a family in Rouen.”
Visiting iconic French landmarks was a highlight of the trip. Students visited the Rouen Cathedral, the Panorama XXL Museum, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. The crowd favourite was a visit to Étretat — a town known for towering rock pillars that appear to rise up from the sea.
“When students study abroad and away from their families, they become more independent and their perceptions change”, notes Bansal. “This experience will help them a great deal when they take a transfer to Canada.”