By Roxanne Fay, first year student
Where are you from?
In what occasion people from Romania, China, Russia, Cuba and Cambodia, only to name a few countries, meet in the same place? In a francization class, of course! When an immigrant who doesn’t speak French arrives to Quebec, one of the first things he needs to do is to take French classes. The government has a very complete program to help new immigrants to learn French. Here is a link that explains how and where they can learn this new language:
I had the chance, with my languages class, to talk with francization students. Every country has a different culture, and it was very interesting to learn about new ones, especially that I talked with students coming from countries I didn’t know much about. The students had also many questions about Quebec. As example, «Why some Quebecers want to separate from Canada?», « Do we consider ourselves more as Canadians or Quebecers?», etc. I really enjoyed answering these questions, because it made me realize how much I love my province and my Quebecer culture.
Integration into another country and culture
Speaking with francization students also helped me to understand how I will feel during my immersion in Mexico. Most of them said they miss their friends, their family and their country’s food. Knowing what I will probably miss will not make me miss it less, however, it will help me to feel better because I’ll know it’s normal and part of the adaptation process.
During my conversation with the new immigrants, something unexpected happened: I learned from them facts about my own province! They made me realize how open-minded Quebecers were. When they asked questions like: « Do Quebecers are friends with the immigrants?», «Do they mix with immigrants in class?», I was very surprised. To me, these questions didn’t even need to be asked. Why wouldn’t we be friends with immigrants? Why would we ruin our chance to learn about another culture, another country? Not mixing with immigrants and not to be interested by their culture simply does not make sense to me, and to most Quebecers I believe. However, I know that if they asked me these questions it’s because not every nation is as open minded as Quebec.
I believe the meeting has been very enriching for both the francization students and the languages students. It gave us, languages students, not only the chance to learn about the immigrants’ culture, but also about our own culture, and I think we all really enjoyed it. I also think it proved we can all learn from each other, no matter what our origin or first language is.