Monday, February 11, 2013

My Amazing Experience at EXPLORE

Before being accepted into the Disney college program last week, I had been looking at all the other summer opportunities available to college and university students. One that frequently crossed my mind was the EXPLORE program. 

The French language EXPLORE program, a 5-week bursary program offered by The Council of Ministers of Education, allows students 16 years and older to travel to another part of Canada to learn or perfect either French or English. Often the students from Montreal travel to places like British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta to learn English, while the people who want to learn French travel to Montreal.

When I participated in the EXPLORE program last year, I decided to sign up to go to Toronto. I didn't know a lot of French, so I thought going to Toronto would be a fun and easy experience. Fun, yes. Easy, no.

After the orientation we weren't allowed to speak our first language, only our target language. Too bad I didn't know any French. For the first week I barely said a word. I guarded my French/English dictionary like it was my life-source, and found myself waving my arms and making motions whenever I spoke. 

Four weeks later and I was speaking French fluently. And the biggest surprise of all? I was loving it! Being surrounded by people speaking French, listening to French music, and watching French movies had really helped me to learn how to speak French and communicate with others.

I'd be signing up for the EXPLORE program again right now if I didn't already have plans in Walt Disney World this summer, but for those of you who don't have any commitments, I highly recommend visiting this website and applying for the EXPLORE bursary. The bursary covers room and board, full tuition (including textbooks), great social and cultural activities, and you can choose to pay to attend some fun weekend activities (see photos below).

While you have to buy your own flight to get to the city of your choice, you may get up to six credit hours when you return. I did and was able to finish my program at the University of Winnipeg early.

If you decide to apply for the program, you'll have a great time, see cool places, meet amazing people from other parts of Canada, and you'll learn how to speak French, which may come in handy for future jobs. 

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