My six weeks in Montréal was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not only did I gain much needed experience with the French language, but I had many cultural opportunities and grew as an individual. The Vira I. Heinz Study Abroad Scholarship really gave me a better understanding of the world and allowed me to step out of the culture and media of the United States to garner a new perspective on the global community.
The focus of my visit was centered on education. I came to Montréal to learn French: to speak, read, write, and comprehend the language better than I ever could have in a classroom. By living with a host family, I was able to learn about the structure and importance of family as well as the language spoken inside the home. Through my classes at the Université de Québec à Montréal, I had opportunities to learn from native speakers not just of Canadian French but also other French-speaking countries. The discussion-based setting as well as afternoon conversation workshops really honed in on my needs to better myself in the French language. The make-up of the students, which included several non-English speaking students, really helped to push my level of communicating in French. In having only French with which to communicate, I was able to increase my vocabulary and my ability to use grammar structures.