It was Charlemagne who once said, “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” I don’t know if that is entirely true, but I know that to have a second language does improve life. I began speaking French when I was in preschool. I followed through with the French Immersion program in Prince Albert up until my final year in high school. Through all those years I’ve had many French teachers, and every one of them was an inspiration for higher education. In the ninth grade, I was faced with the decision to remain in the French Immersion program going into high school. I chose to stay because I knew that bilingualism would in some way help me in my future education, as well as help me communicate with my family, half of which is solely French.
What I found going through the French Immersion program was that I had developed a strong work ethic in school, and I noticed this trend throughout my classes. I was very strong in math as well as sciences and languages, and I truly believe that it is thanks to my French education. Many studies have also shown that learning French can improve understanding in other subjects, most notably math, and I believe that. Many subjects incorporate various languages here and there within the material, be it terms, quotes or definitions, and because of French I’ve been able to more fully understand these subjects, even if by just a bit.
What I also enjoyed about the French Immersion program was that many of the French Immersion students had been in my class since first grade. What I loved about the program was that, as a class, we were very close as friends, and still remain so today.
Now, because of my bilingualism, I know I have a greater chance at better jobs and careers in my future, not to mention that it looks great on my resume. French is a major language in Canada, and soon, many jobs will require the ability to speak a second language. Even in volunteer activities, I’ve been able to use my French, most recently with CPF as a board member.
Here in University, I’m surrounded by many different ethnicities and languages, a lot of them being French. My ability to speak French has allowed me to fluently communicate with these students. Also, I’ve now got many more choices at learning new languages, just by the courses the University is offering, and soon my vocabulary will be incorporating a new language. Learning French will, I believe, make it easier for me to learn new languages, either by resemblance, or simply by the work ethic I’ve gained by learning a second language.
My mother’s family lives in Quebec, and for that reason, my family has been to Quebec several times. Each time, it was a great experience and most of that is because I was able to clearly understand all that was happening around me. I’ve even had to translate for my father, who doesn’t speak much French. Because of my travels to Montreal and Quebec, I’ve grown fond of the culture, and soon I hope to study there or perhaps even in France.
Overall, learning French through the French Immersion program was the greatest decision my parents and I have made regarding my education. Many more opportunities are wide open for me, and the experience has given me a deeper appreciation for my education. Everyday, when someone realizes that I can speak French, they’re impressed, and I love the feeling when I can proudly say, “I’m bilingual.”