Lesleigh Von Dyne
Lesleigh Von Dyne

My B.A. program at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, includes an immersion requirement. I’d already done French immersion, but while searching the Internet for other opportunities, I discovered Explore.

Explore participants work in small groups and get a lot of opportunities to speak French, which students in normal courses don’t have. Although the program includes written work, the real benefit of the program for me was the chance to practise my verbal skills, all the more so since everyone on campus makes a real effort to speak French throughout the day.

Activities included workshops (I chose a twice-weekly session on scrapbooking), as well as seminars (also twice weekly) on French-speaking countries and their culture, history, and music. We also prepared and performed in a talent show with singing and skits. It was a chance to discover fascinating cultures.

Weekend activities included visits to the CN Tower, Canada’s Wonderland, Wasaga Beach, and Niagara Falls — and the Toronto Zoo, which I really loved since we don’t have a zoo in Newfoundland.

I love meeting people and I’ve made friends whom I wouldn’t have known otherwise, including one who lives in British Columbia.

And yes, Explore did help me improve my French significantly. By the second week, I was thinking in French and now, I’m even prone to speaking in French when talking to English speakers!

Also, my Explore experience can really help me in my career since I want to become a teacher, and the program reinforced my plan to teach French immersion, a specialty much in demand in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To keep practising my French while enjoying my singing, I plan to join the French choir back home. I’m also going to check out the Odyssey program on the Internet.

To other young people, I recommend Explore because the program is shorter and much cheaper than a year abroad. I’d researched other options but a stay in France, for example, lasts a full year and costs $20,000. A number of my friends are now considering Explore.

In fact, if I could, I’d Explore again!


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