As a francophone, I was fortunate last summer to be a counselor (J-1 Exchange Visitor) at both French Language Villages: Hackensack and Bemidji. French is my second language, which I have been speaking all my life as well Haitian Creole; but for the first time in my whole existence, I was inspired by how we could also live the language and enjoy it…
Concordia Language Villages uses full immersion to help villagers have an experience in language and culture and to create courageous global citizens. I attended CLV for five years. Each of the five summers I was with CLV sparked a different period of personal growth within me.
On an island where more than 80% of the population lives within 30 minutes of the coast, I had an incredible opportunity to visit the less-developed interior of the island: Mafate. Here there are small towns, but no cars, no roads, and very limited services. Everyone has to get around by foot or by horseback, and foods and goods are helicoptered in on a daily basis. Here is the story of my adventure into the center of La Réunion.
Adults come to French Camp for slightly different reasons than kids. Often, we like to travel and have found it is much more enjoyable if we can speak a bit of the language. But many of us also come just for the experience. We want to keep learning, have fun experiences, and meet interesting people. Plus, we get to spend a beautiful week in a cabin in the woods eating French food and giggling with new friends like we are sixteen again.
Learning another language is a great way to make connections with other people around the world, and it can be a lot of fun. I have been lucky enough to learn French in multiple immersion environments - at school and at camp - and see some ways they are similar and different.