A typical week in the Québec City program at University Laval consists of class time balanced with exciting excursions!
One of my favorite parts about my time here at the Abbey Roads Québec City Program has been the class I picked as my major. The business and marketing course has been something I look forward to each weekday. At first, I was intimidated by the fact that each class session was three hours long, but now it seems as though we never have enough time for the lesson because there is so much to learn about the field. The class is an intro to business and marketing and we learn about so many aspects of the two. From graphic design to big data to how to conduct market research, I am really getting the feel of what it would be like to take a business course in college. Our teacher, Stephanie, shows us videos, Ted Talks, college-level reading material, and lots of images and examples of marketing campaigns and advertisements. At the start of each class, we read the “news of the day”, which is basically a current article relating to business and marketing. After discussing that, she shows us an ad campaign or commercial and we write our response to it. We then have a lesson that usually relates to the news article or ad. One exciting project we worked on was a public survey about breakfast preferences, specifical cereal. The goal was to create an ideal cereal based on our survey findings. We went out into the streets of Québec and surveyed almost 100 people both locals and tourists on their demographic, breakfast preferences and favorite cereal as well as other logistical information. We are now in the stages of processing and organizing the data. Overall, the business class has been something I really enjoy and I now definitely consider it as something I’d like to continue through college.
My French Conversation Elective meets three times per week, and usually in the evenings. The class uses immersion, requiring us to speak only in French, to improve our comprehensibility! Since it’s a conversation class, we usually do everything verbally rather than doing lots of writing and reading to allow us to get more practice with the French language. We discuss and learn about everything from politics to the history of Québec to common slang used among teens in France. We also watched the film The Little Prince, or, Le Petit Prince in French. I love the classic French story by Antoine St. Exupery and the movie was just as beautiful as the book. I hope that between the French Conversation Class three times a week, practicing with my friends, and using my French when ordering in cafés, my comprehension and ability to speak the language will improve by the time my program is over!
One afternoon, we got to explore a really beautiful part of Old Québec. There were street performers and musicians everywhere, and the streets were lined with artists. There were several alleyways that were just completely filled with vendors and artisans, as well as paintings, sculptures, and sketches done by local artists. There was a small artisans market, as well as painters set up with easels who did portraits. Street performance is a huge art form in Québec City. Street performers pay the city for street space which is essentially their public stage. Spectators can witness anything from acrobatics, magic, dancing, hip-hop, or stunts when they watch a street performer’s act. Audience participation is often a part of their show as well, and the more enthusiastic the crowd is, the better performance the performer will give! It was such a gorgeous day and to walk through the European-like streets of Old Québec viewing beautiful art and listening to harp music was so relaxing and gratifying.
Another one of our weekday excursions was going to a botanical garden! The botanical garden was actually on University Laval’s campus. We had time to meander through the flower gardens with our friends. My favorite section was the rose garden where there were over twenty different types of roses planted around the area. There were also ponds with frogs and other amphibians and many other plants and flowers to enjoy. After wandering through the gardens, my French Comprehension class gathered at a picnic table to play card games, in only French of course! We got to practice our French while playing games in the beautiful botanical garden.
A very exciting excursion was visiting a chocolate shop or “chocolate museum”! We took a short bus trip into the inner city. There, we visited a chocolate shop called Choco-Musée. Half of the shop is an educational museum with information on the origins and history of chocolate, as well as many samples of the different types. I got to sample everything from a raw cacao bean to white chocolate to 70% dark chocolate which is always my favorite. Choco-Musée is the only place in Québec where you can buy fair trade chocolate! Fairtrade is a social movement and certification to ensure equality and fairness amount of farmers and workers who are making the products we consume. There were also several impressive sculptures made entirely of chocolate. They were stored in a glass case and certainly off-limits for eating, as tempting as it was. In addition to the museum, Choco-Musée had a full store filled with everything a chocolate lover could desire. From gelato to hot chocolate to mousse to cake to truffles, there were endless choices! After much inner confliction, I decided to get a cone of gelato, something I’ve been enjoying a lot during my time here in Québec City. I ended up getting a sugar cone with a scoop of Trois Chocolats and Hibiscus Gummy Bear, two very unique flavors that tasted absolutely amazing when paired together. I really hope our group can return to Choco-Musée because there were so many other choices on their menu that I would love to try the next time.