Testimonials from Past Exchange Participants
The exchange was so much fun! You have the chance to make a whole lot more friends, you get to experience a different culture AND you can look good in French class back home. Sure, it involved a whole lot of work, but in the end, it was worth it.
…my exchange partner and I [got along well, and although we] had very different outlooks on life we had many interesting conversations. I learned a lot from her.
I’m a naturally shy person, and I found that the exchange helped me by encouraging me to talk a lot more. Even after I came back, I realized that I had things to talk about and people were actually interested in what I had to say!
I had a great time while I was [on exchange], and made lots of memories with the family that I stayed with. Speaking and hearing only French improved it a lot, because I got so much practice. I also made lots of new friends and met new people.
Living away from my parents and friends made me more independent. [I loved going] to the Carnaval de Quebec for the first time. In elementary school, every year we had our own “Carnaval” and I had always wanted to go.
It's made me a much more active student and it made me love language. I love to learn and speak in an array of different languages. And because of this, one day I hope to fluently speak, read and write in every language.
I learned that I absorb language much easier and faster than I thought. In just those 3 months there was a noticeable difference in not only my vocabulary but accent as well.
On my last day there all the friends I'd made threw me a going away party. I had fondue for the first time and we watched movies all night long.
I was very concerned about not liking my host family, or not being able to understand their slang language and accents. I was [also] very afraid about leaving my family and friends for that long. I was wrong! I made so many new friends there including ones that I still keep in contact with to this day.
My parents encouraged me because they wanted me to experience new culture and practise in a French environment. Also it's a great way to let your kids feel free and more independent by traveling on a plane to a totally different province all alone. It's a kind of learning experience that I would never have had in a classroom in B.C.
I think that what surprised me the most was how different their culture was from mine in B.C.. Their food was different, their ideas of marriage and how many children to have was different, schools were different. This program made me understand how to adapt to a different lifestyle in a short period of time, and learn an enormous amount of French that I will always be grateful for. I am very proud to say that I am bilingual and it is all thanks to this once in a lifetime experience.
If I was to recommend the program to a friend at school, I'd say definitely go for it! Your language skills will improve considerably - I now feel comfortably fluent in French…and would feel comfortable using it in a work setting as well as when travelling. You will also gain self-confidence, meet lots of new people, and get to experience living in a different culture.
One particularly memorable part of my exchange were trips that my host family took with me around Quebec, and one to New York City!
The exchange has impacted my life greatly through the lifelong friend that I have made in my exchange partner. We still exchange letters and have each taken one trip to visit one another in the 5 years since the exchange.
[My exchange partner and I] shared similar interests of music and being outside so each participated in band, sports teams and were able to explore both BC and Quebec by hiking, snowshoeing and skiing.
My three months in Quebec were a complete cultural immersion: it wasn't only the language that changed, but daily routines, family traditions and everyday habits. I ate tourtière, snowshoed, went to "Cabane au sucre" and learned importance of wearing a HUGE jacket every time I went outside. Being able to handle all these changes, live in a new language, and thrive so far away from my family was incredibly empowering.
Returning to BC fluent in French completely kick started my career in French. The opportunity to do an exchange within my own country but have such a culturally rich experience and the comfort of a family is truly one-of-a-kind. The exchange inspired my love of travel, my passion for French and, most of all, my career. What could it inspire for you?