I am finished with the French language camp program in Quebec City! It has been a great and truly memorable two weeks for me living with a host family and going around Quebec City with the school. For future students who want to attend the program, I would highly recommend to make sure that they go in with an open mindset, because there is a large cultural difference even between cities. I came into the program thinking that it was just like the United States and that homesickness would be something that I would never experience.
However, that was not the case at all. Before your trip, I would highly advise you to look into the resources that are provided by Greenheart Travel, because it was very insightful and prepared me even through my doubts.
For packing, I would recommend bringing:
Coming from Texas, I am used to very hot summers–wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. However, Quebec City was a lot cooler for me, and I am glad that I decided to check the weather before packing. The weather here is very off and on with the sun and the rain, so I brought a light rain jacket with me everywhere in my backpack.
It’s important to leave extra clothes at home as well and only bring what you need. It’s for a short time, and Canada has many great and cheap stores to buy clothes. I definitely had fun shopping in Canada because the exchange rate is great for Americans!
Bringing a little bit of everything is very important so that you will always have something to wear for each day and activity. Packing comfortable sneakers and shoes that can get wet (my Chacos) was very important. This came in handy so that I had sneakers when we went rock climbing, and I had chacos when I went to the beach so that I didn’t get sand in my sneakers.
Aside from clothes, bringing a gift for your host family is also very important in showing true appreciation. I am glad that I was able to bring my family some gifts, because they really took good care of me.
Some French phrases that I learned included Quebecois phrases and differences between French in France and French in Quebec.
In Quebec, they say:
In France, they say:
This was super confusing to me until I finally figured out the difference.
Quebecois slang for a kiss on the cheek is “un bec”, girlfriend is “ma blonde”, and boyfriend is “mon chomp”. These slang terms are so much fun to learn and try to use in a sentence when communicating with others.
Before you go on the trip, make sure to know French basics–even if you’re a beginner. “Bonne jouree” means have a good day and “bonne soiree” means to have a good night. “Salut” means hello and goodbye. “Merci” means thank you. Knowing these key basic terms help show appreciation and effort in learning the language around you.
At first, it was hard for me to get used to the Quebecois accent, because it sounds a lot more “er” than the French that I learned at school. However, with practice and conversation, I was able to understand it a lot better and have greater appreciation for it over time. I really did learn a lot from this camp, and I hope that you do too!