May term trip to Quebec City an opportunity for language immersion and more

Participants in a class trip to Quebec City pose for a group photo.


There are many benefits that come with taking a May Term class. These classes often present opportunities that simply don’t fit within the context of a standard semester-long offering.

Take the recent trip to Quebec City taken by a bakers’ dozen (or douzaine de boulangers, if you like) of French students. For one week, from May 22 through the 29th, these students participated in a full-on linguistic immersion and explored the nuances of a different culture along the way.

The trip was led by Frédéric Rondeau, Director of the Canadian-American Center and Associate Professor of French, and Ali Friend, Canadian-American Center Outreach Coordinator. Students actively used French as a natural part of daily life and developed heightened appreciation for Quebec culture, society and history.

The students visited important cultural sites throughout the region, including – but not limited to – the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée de la civilisation, the Assemblée nationale du Québec, the Wendake indigenous site of the Huron-Wendat Nation and l’Île d’Orléans.

It was a unique and unforgettable experience for the students involved, with the trip marking the first time that some of them had ever traveled outside the United States.

“It was my first time travelling outside the country so it was a unique experience for me, and I felt like the trip covered so many unique aspects of Quebec City that I wouldn’t [otherwise] have been able to experience,” said Delia Hill. “We learned so much about the history and culture of the city, about art and poetry, and about indigenous cultures.”

“In my opinion, the biggest highlight of the trip was how in-depth and meaningful everything was,” said Emily Stockman. “All of the tours were in French, and they related to the course’s lectures and readings, as well as topics I had learned about in previous courses with Professor Rondeau. Because of this, I left the trip feeling like I had significantly improved my French and feeling much more confident in speaking it!”

“This trip was my first time outside of the U.S., so I didn’t know what to expect from this experience,” said Amy Blanchard. “However, it exceeded all of my expectations and more. I felt that this experience ignited an aspiration to become a better French speaker and learn more about Québecois culture. Even though I have studied French for a long time, I have never been confident in my speaking abilities, but this trip taught me that all you have to do is try in order to learn.”

Classes such as this provide opportunities that many students might otherwise never have had. By immersing themselves into another culture, they gain not only understanding of that culture, but a welcome perspective on their own.

(Offered through the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, the Quebec May term was sponsored by the Canadian-American Center.)