Summer in Québec City: A Q&A with Erin Gleason

Stories

Summer in Québec City: A Q&A with Erin Gleason

April 17, 2019

A picture of Erin Gleason on a boat in Bay-Saint-Catherine whale watching

Major: Architecture
Minors: French & City and Regional Planning
Class of 2019

By Ana Mitchell

This past summer you studied in Québec City, Canada for five weeks. Can you tell us about your time abroad?

My time abroad was invaluable–  I know it’s said a lot, but living somewhere the language you are studying is spoken is truly so crucial to develop and refine your skills. And the chance to do it in such a beautiful city was an amazing opportunity! In Québec, we stayed at the Université Laval, where we took courses alongside students from all over the world. Some of the closest friends I made at the program were from Toronto, Mexico City, and Munich. Each day, we would have class from about 8:00 am until noon, and then there were tons of planned activities, such as cooking, hiking, and playing volleyball available at the university, or we could travel around the city and explore as we liked! It was a great balance of school work and the chance to relax, hangout, and experience the beautiful city of Québec.

Why did you choose this program in comparison to other French-language study abroad programs?

I chose the Summer French at Laval program because one of my French professors here, Gloria Torrini-Roblin, highly recommended it! It was a good length, and not too expensive either. I was able to drive there and back instead of fly. Further, the layout of the program having classes in the mornings and then afternoons and evenings free really appealed to me, and all of the extra activities that the Université Laval offered were an awesome bonus. 

What were some of your most memorable experiences?

Definitely going to the Fête d'été, a 10-day long music festival in the city, with my roommate from here at Ohio State who did the program as well, and making dinners in the kitchens with new friends that we met in class! We also had the chance to go whale-watching just outside of the city at the end of the trip–  it was a beautiful day, we saw seven whales, and because it was towards the end of the program, I was actually able to understand what the captain of the boat was saying in French while we were out in the water. The times that I was able to understand and talk to native French speakers outside of a classroom environment were always memorable.

Were there any challenging moments while navigating your environment in French? 

Because this program is in Québec, their dialect is slightly different than the Parisian French we’re taught in school. So getting used to different phrases, and the Québecois accent on top on the French was a bit of a challenge throughout. But it was also a good thing, because I am now comfortable with understanding the language in two different dialects!

You’re graduating this semester, what are your plans and goals going forward?

Going forward, I hope to live and work abroad, hopefully somewhere where I can practice and use my French! I’m an architecture major, so there will hopefully be lots of opportunities for international work where I can put the language skills I’ve learned to use. But in the meantime, I’ll be attending graduate school for Urban Design in London.