Planning a high school French immersion

Planning a high school French immersion


Planning a high school French immersion

Are you a teen considering French immersion for high school? Looking for the best summer French immersion programs for high school students?

French immersion in high school can be extremely rewarding. For one, you learn or improve your French language skills in an exciting new environment. You also have the opportunity to meet French-speaking people, discover a new culture and enjoy many activities you may have not tried before. French immersion in high school also allows you to gain independence—something as a teen we all crave. Finally, you’ll gain invaluable experience that will help you through school and life.

Now that you have got your mind set on studying French, you may be wondering where to start when planning for your immersion—whether it be for the entire school year, a semester or during the summer.

Here are our expert tips on how to prep for a French immersion program abroad.

What are your French immersion goals?

Before you sign up for just any French immersion program for high school students, it’s important to determine your goals. Why do you want to learn French? Do you have some basic knowledge of French or are you starting from scratch? Knowing what you hope to gain from learning French will help you narrow down the location and type of immersion program.

Where would you like to go for your high school French immersion?

There are many different French immersion programs for high school students across North America and around the world. However, if you choose a program in a country or city where the locals don’t speak French, you will not be thoroughly immersed in French language and culture. You will be more likely to speak English—or even another language! Rather, scout out locations for a truly authentic French experience.

Opt for smaller cities, rather than major international urban centres, to ensure that citizens talk to you in French, rather than reverting to English. Québec City, for example, has a lot going for it in terms of a dream destination for French immersion. It guarantees students 100% French immersion. It is also considered the cradle of French civilization in North America. To maximize the time and occasions when you can speak in French, Québec City could be a very viable option. Discover why you should learn French in Quebec City versus Montreal.

When do you want to learn French?

This is a particularly important question to ask as you conduct your research. What time is best for you to go? Do you want to spend the entire year in a French immersion program at a local high school? Prefer only going for one semester? Going to high school in French allows you to grow, make new friends and truly live in French culture. It also helps to pave the way for even more studying abroad in other grades or college.

Alternately, you could choose to take part in a summer French immersion program so that you can return to your school in the fall. Some French immersion programs even offer short-term options of a week or two during break or different holidays. Summer-away and short-term programs are also fantastic ways to convince your parents to temporarily leave the nest to learn French without breaking the bank.

What do you want to do while studying French abroad?

If you are still on the fence about whether or not you want to study high school in French or take French immersion classes during a shorter stay or the summer, think about the level of French you have. How ready are you to learn other subject matter in French? For example, can you take on math in French? If you are uncertain that your French skills are not up to the level that is required for high school classes in French, ask for an assessment at an accredited school located at your dream destination. You don’t want to compromise your grades “just” for the sake of learning French.

Also, think about the type of extra-curricular activities you are interested in. Do you want to learn about your destination’s history and culture? Prefer discovering a new sport or practicing one you already enjoy? These questions are vital for choosing the location of your high school French immersion program as well as the period during which you will study abroad. Consider this: if you have never skied before and are eyeing Québec City because of its famous Winter Carnival, focus your research on French immersion programs in Québec City at that time of year.

What type of French immersion program interests you?

Once you’ve mapped out your goals, needs and dreams, it is time to start conducting specific research on French immersion programs for high school students that are aligned with your vision. Use a spreadsheet to compare and contrast which program is right for you. Don’t hesitate to contact each school to get a feel of what it offers, why it is different, pricing, accommodations, application process, required travel documentation, teachers’ profiles and experience, and what services and support you can expect.

Talk to your guidance counsellor about potential high school French immersion exchange programs with your school. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that your high school has partnered with a high school in Canada, let’s say, to provide a dedicated exchange program. These types of programs can vary, especially with regards to your family hosting another student while you are gone. Look into the details of your school’s exchange program before you make a commitment.

Look at online reviews to glean insight into the experiences of past students. Ask to speak to the school’s alumni for even more first-hand accounts. You mustn’t feel as though you are “bothering” French immersion schools with all your questions. You are making a major decision in studying abroad, regardless of the length of your stay. You are also going to be spending your parent’s or your hard-earned money for this trip. Choose wisely!

Say Bonjour! to your high school French immersion!

Preparing to take part in French immersion for high school students may seem daunting. While your friends are busy planning their weekends, you’re trying to figure out Québec City’s public transit system.

Above all: don’t get overwhelmed! Although getting ready for a French immersion program takes careful planning and some work, it is definitely worth all the research! Studying French abroad is a one-of-a-kind way to change how you see the world and embark on an incredible adventure!

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