Free French: Fin

Leaving Campus Bound
for Casa Grecque
QUÉBEC, Canada
February 6, 2013

Today was the last day of class. I can't believe my academic year of French is over. Didn't I just begin?

After the final of our final exams (reading comprehension) everybody gathered for a farewell meal at a restaurant in nearby Ste-Foy. Casa Grecque is an otherwise unremarkable Mediterranean chain. But, they can easily host tables of 20 and have a reasonably-priced menu offering large portions. Better still, they allow A.V.V. (B.Y.O.B) which made for a festive farewell luncheon, indeed.

Classmates: U.S and Colombia
Though it wasn't an official gathering all students came. Sadly, neither regular teacher Madame S. (reportedly yet hobbling about on crutches) nor afternoon activity coordinator Monsieur M. (inexplicably AWOL) were on-hand. Happily, substitute teacher Annie (who finished out the last weeks of our class) was able to join us for one last gathering.

At the end of this francisation program I have to confess how impressed I am. Before I began, I hadn't expected it to be as good of a program as it turned out to be. Before arriving, I hadn't assumed the instructors would be as experienced and as knowledgeable as they were. I hadn't expected them to have the rich command of grammar and the linguistic background they did. I hadn't presumed that they would author the texts themselves nor had I presumed that all textbooks and materials would be provided, gratis. (My expectations were likely skewed by the many thinly-qualified westerners I've seen instructing at by fly-by-night English schools across Asia.)

Sub (Annie) - Student
(Andres) - Self (David)
Aside from the impressive teachers and the well-coordinated program structure, I was surprised by the education level of my classmates. I had expected my fellow immigrant classmates would come from a wide range of backgrounds of ability and experience. Rather, the Ministry coordinated classrooms well, in-part by selecting which environment, university vs. community college, would allow each student to flourish. Evidently, there are parallel courses held at the community college across town including some for refugees who have to begin learning French by learning the alphabet. Everybody in my class came from a background of professional work experience and a university degree.

Class Photo - Casa Grecque
All the field trips, the birthday parties, even those Québec-centric projects we were assigned to present with PowerPoint slides--it all built up a wonderful camaraderie and developed our French ability beyond what six daily hours of rote classroom instruction alone could possibly have.

What a great program this has been.

Though today marks the end of francisation as I've known it (30 hours per week with stipend) it's not truly the end of my foray into Free French. Another course focusing solely on writing will kick off in a month--though at half the hours and minus the free dough. I suppose I shouldn't be too prematurely nostalgic about this end of time together with classmates, either. I think everybody else has also registered for that writing course along with me.

Expect entries on this website written in French, soon.