We took the opportunity to catch up with Greenheart Travel alumna, Kyra Hymons, to learn more about her experience learning French in Quebec City as part of our Teen Summer Language Camp program in Canada. Kyra spent four weeks living with a host family, immersing in the stunning culture of Quebec, and learning more about herself in the process! Read on for a glimpse of what life what like for Kyra in Quebec!
It’s fantastic that you took the time to travel to Canada to study French in Quebec City. What inspired you to travel to this country, study French, and live with a host family?
I started taking French in eighth grade and fell in love with the language! Then when I got into ninth grade I took it again, but wasn’t very good at learning it. In my classes we had learned about French speaking countries like Quebec, and in eighth grade I got the opportunity to go to Canada for five days. This was such a great experience. I feel in love with Quebec, so I went online and looked at summer programs there and found Greenheart Travel!
What’s it like to live with a Francophone host family? Can you share a bit about your experience and any advice for future Teen Summer Language Campers?
The first week with my family was hard. I had to get into a routine for school, but also spend time with my new family. My host mother was very nice; she knew I didn’t speak French very well and helped me a lot! I was very lucky to get a family that also spoke English, so if I ever got confused they would help. My family really appreciated when I tried to speak in French to them even if what I was saying was wrong. It is always better to try!
What part of Quebec City did you live, and did you do much traveling outside of your host community? If yes, where did you travel?
I lived in a more rural part of Quebec City. It was about 30 minutes by car to get to the inner parts. I traveled to Montreal with my school for a weekend with was very fun. We watched a soccer game and shopped, and went to La Ronde (an amusement park).
What are a few of your favorite experiences from your time in Canada?
My host family loved pasta and pesto so much! I remember grocery shopping with my host mother one time, and she asked me if there was any meal I wanted in particular. I told her that I really wanted “pigs in a blanket”. She had no idea what that was, so I made it for my host family one day and they loved it. It was so strange to me that they had never even heard of something I grew up eating!
Another one of my favorite experiences in Canada was being in such a diverse environment. I met people from around the world at my school, and I still keep in very close touch with a lot of them. Lastly, just the atmosphere of Quebec. EVERYONE there was so friendly and helpful!
Has this experience changed any of your personal and professional priorities or goals since your program? If so, how?
Canada opened my eyes a lot to how people from other countries view people from America. Even though we are so close they have very different values which has helped me a lot with finding who I am.
What were the biggest cultural differences you noticed, and do you have any advice for proper cultural etiquette new travelers should be aware of before they arrive in Quebec?
One of the biggest cultural differences I saw was the friendship and family differences. My host family did everything together all the time from bike ride to just reading. They are very close there, so it was strange at first for me to be spending so much time with everyone.
If you were talking with someone that wasn’t sure about studying French in Canada because they were worried about living with a host family, or living abroad in general, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to calm down. These people obviously want to be host families if they are taking you in. Just get to know them and be open to new experiences.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that inspires you to get out of your comfort zone that helped you during your travels?
A new mantra for me would be get up and get going. We have such a big world and you’ll never understand someone until you actually take a walk in their shoes.
Any other additional thoughts or tips you have for someone wanting to travel and attend a language camp in Canada?
This was one of the best experiences of my life. I will hold onto these memories forever!