KENTVILLE, NS – A teacher who recently brought several students studying French to Quebec City says the trip has taught them things they'd never learn in a classroom.
Grade 8 students at Kings County Academy recently returned from a cultural exchange trip to Quebec, where they each stayed with a local family.
Soaking up both language and culture was inevitable as students visited museums, ate maple taffy, spoke French and went tobogganing, making new friends as they did so.
“My favourite part was making friends with the people we stayed with, even though we don’t necessarily speak the same language,” said student Thomas Gaskins.
The best year yet
Danielle LeBlanc teaches French at KCA and has organized the trip each year with students’ help.
A trip she calls ‘for the kids, and by the kids,’ she gets them to help her plan where they will visit, how much it will cost, and why they should go there.
With equal emphasis placed on education and fun, the students chose things like the Quebec Winter Carnival and the National Assembly of Quebec. LeBlanc feels this, the trip’s tenth year, was its best-ever.
“The students really made this happen themselves. They are engaged, and really bought into what the trip is about. They blended well with the families they stayed with and learned things they would not have in a classroom,” she said.
Getting ready to host Quebec
The students each had their own favourite aspects of the trip. Zach Johnson said his favourite aspect was travelling within the same country but feeling like he’d arrived in a totally different place.
“Going to a different part of Canada that’s so culturally different – it’s like speaking a completely different language, but living in the same country,” he said.
Bridgette Hire felt the families, “liked to share with us what they like to eat and the back stories behind that, and their family history.”
The students are now gearing up to host a group of French students in May and have organized the Easter Family Fun Night on March 28 at KCA to fundraise for hosting costs.
The students all expressed their excitement to show the Québécois students around the province and share Nova Scotia’s culture with them.
“The students are learning so much. I think the biggest thing they’ve taken from this is that we’re different cultures and speak different languages, but we’re the same at the end of the day,” said LeBlanc.