By: Jessie Archambault
A nation-wide French language learning program hosted an information session in the Student Commons on Sept. 30, but no Algonquin students showed up.
The Odyssey and Explore program booked a recruitment session through the Employment Centre of the college to explain ways students could learn French and travel through Canada.
The program is only open to students that are older than 16 years of age and Canadian citizens or have a permanent resident card.
Even if Algonquin students did not seem interested, many other students in Ottawa have taken the opportunity to travel and perfect their language skills in French.
Nicholas Giardini, a University of Ottawa graduate, is one of them.
“I didn’t think I knew enough French to survive in a bilingual city like Ottawa,” he said.
The recruitment session at Algonquin was aimed at attracting students from specific programs that need to deal with the public such as hospitality and tourism, nursing and early childhood education, among others.
Anyone can apply regardless of their French level.
“We have no idea the linguistic levels of applicants,” said Graham Engel, the promotional agent who organized the information session at the college.
Another Ottawa student that participated in Explore is Jaclyn Iannetta, 21.
She went on Explore during the spring semester in 2010 and still speaks French today on a regular basis. Iannetta graduated from the University of Ottawa last spring in international studies and modern languages and now lives in Montreal, Que.
“It’s a good opportunity to learn more French outside of a classroom,” said Iannetta.
Also, the program helps build confidence when learning a second-language.
“Confidence is a big part of speaking a language,” she said. Iannetta added that everyone is learning at the same time and there’s no awkwardness.
Giardini agrees with Iannetta.
“I was less shy speaking French and that was a big thing for me,” he said. Giardini recently graduated from the University of Ottawa in psychology.
Both went to Trois-Pistoles, Que. for the program where the courses were affiliated with Western University. Giardini and Iannetta each received six university credits for their time on Explore, which counted towards their degrees.
The mixture of classes, workshops, social activities and outings made learning a language easier.
“It’s a fantastic program,” said Giardini, 21.
The program runs through the federal department of Heritage Canada and is implemented through the ministries of education, or equivalent counterpart, in the various provinces and territories.
According to their website, Explore’s goal is to “discover another region of Canada while learning French.”