France is truly an amazing place. My experience in France is one of my most cherished. I cherish my memories from France not only because of the amazing range of fascinating sites and dazzling sceneries I saw, but also because of who I experienced those things with and the way we did it. The Camp Tournesol trip to France in 2011 was French-speaking, which was great. It gave me the chance to practice my second-language in the awe-inspiring country where it was created.
Even though the trip consists mostly of kids who speak French as a second language, I found myself wanting to converse with them in French. There’s an effect France has; it’s a cool, new and elegant country to Canadian kids, and that makes us proud to be able to speak French and appreciate France’s amazing culture more than people who couldn’t speak the language. It makes French a lot cooler than it seems in Southern Ontario.
The trip not only fascinated me and made me feel more comfortable with my second language; it brought me new and lasting friendships. Three years later I’m still in contact with two guys from that trip, we don’t even live in the same city but we find a way to stay in touch because our experience together in France made us so close. The trip also helped me with my personal confidence, not only was I going to a country where I would have to rely heavily on my second language, but I was going without my family. It gave me a whole new sense of independence and confidence while having the time of life in a completely foreign place.
The range of sites we saw and activities we did made the trip even better. We went from canyoning (if you don’t know what canyoning is, look it up, it’s awesome) in lush and complex waterways, to exploring the exotic gardens of Monaco, where we saw awesome cacti above ground, and eerily beautiful caves underground. We saw yacht-clad beaches and a world-famous red carpet in Cannes, we went to the top of Mont Blanc and witnessed its truly breathtaking view. We visited exquisite and elegant Paris, complete with visits to the alluring Notre-Dame Cathedral and a hike up the incredible Eiffel Tower.
We experienced all these amazing things in a completely French environment, which only served to strengthen my resolve to hold on to the language and continue to practice it even more. We learned countless stories of intriguing French history while standing in the places where those stories took place; places like Juno Beach, where we walked the same paths as the men who passed away on D-Day. These amazing experiences will be remembered in a French context for me. I learned so many amazing things and interesting tales in French; it has pushed me to seek more entertainment in French, to practice my French more often and seek out opportunities to return to an all-French environment like the one I enjoyed so much while in France. This trip brought me cherished and lasting memories as well as a newfound drive to continue my French journey.