A review: The Explore Program in Chicoutimi

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A few of you have been asking about the Explore Program (a five-week language-immersion program).

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I did the Explore Program in Spring 2012 in Chicoutimi. Never heard of it? Chicoutimi is an awesome, very-francophone city (60,000 people, 98% francophone) located by the Saguenay and Chicoutimi rivers, just about a 3 hour drive north-east of Québec City.

With that said, onto your questions!

Should I do Explore? At what level of French?

Yes! Do Explore. But…

To get the most out of the program, I think having the basics down is important (although not necessary). Brush up on basics (ex. conjugation rules) so that you can move beyond them during the program. (This is my opinion though, you can do the program at any level of language proficiency.)

Some more advice: Really commit to speaking French during the program. You sign a contract to speak French 100% of the time and if you cheat, you’ll probably end up regretting missing out on progressing in your language learning.

I’m convinced about going to Explore, but should I go to Chicoutimi?

Chicoutimi. I mean, how do you even say that?!

My answer: It depends.

Chicoutimi is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. But there are some things to consider:

Do you love doing awesome things? Example: meeting francophones, playing sports, meeting people from all over Canada, volunteering at a farm, learning lots of French, swimming by mini-waterfalls, experiencing Quebecois culture, talent shows, improv, meeting Glendonites (I ended up in the same apartment as Sarah Campeau!), carnivals, and whale-watching?

Then yes, go.

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I personally loved Chicoutimi and I was so glad I went there. There are a few things to consider in deciding if Chicoutimi is right for you:

Do you want university credits and/or to stay with a host family?

Chicoutimi offers both. The advantage of getting uni credits is that you can save time and money on doing those courses during the academic year. A host family is helpful because conversing francophones is the. best. way. to learn French.

Do you want a vibrant city with an awesome night-life or a more laid-back town?

Chicoutimi has a few bars and karaoke places, but compared to a place like Toronto, it is pretty small. Its downtown core is essentially one street.

That being said, I really enjoyed its laid-back restaurants, Kambio Café (a fair-trade type place with a weekly coffee house show), and the river that I could walk to from my residence.

How far are you willing to travel? 

Chicoutimi is far (from Toronto). Driving with no breaks or stops is 10 hours. So be ready to pay for a plane ticket or make the trip by bus for… a while.

chicoutimi map

Do you enjoy the Québecois accent?

I adore it. Not all people do. (Keep in mind French is spoken with different kinds of accents, just like English!)

My teacher is the grinning one in the black dress. She was PHENOMENAL and totally Quebecois.

My teacher is the grinning one in the black dress. She was PHENOMENAL and totally Quebecois.

Well I can only say so much. This video basically sums everything up and lets you see what everything looked like. If you have other questions, leave them in the comments or on Formspring!

Things to do on campus and in Toronto

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I have a feeling I’m kind of abnormal. I go to university, which according to pop culture, means I should be in a sorority, streaking across the quad, or competing in an a capella competition. I have yet to do any of the above, but I still feel like my life is an adventure.

For the past few weeks, my life has been a dumping ground for all kinds of awesome. I saw Argo, trekked through a hail-storm, went on a forest walk, had a banana pancake party at 2 am, and watched a lot of goat videos (let’s not talk about that). In other words, my life is pretty great.

I have no explanation.

I have no explanation.

I was thinking about it, and I realized that you (future students) might not really know much about what there is to do in Toronto. Here are some of the adventury-type things I like to do to get you inspired.

See the city lights. 

If you have a friend with a car, drive down to the Sound Academy to see the skyline lit up at night. This is the perfect night expedition.

The Bayview tunnel in front of Glendon... where many adventures begin!

The Bayview tunnel in front of Glendon… where many adventures begin!

Go for a walk in the Sunnybrook Forest.

This place is perfect for aimless contemplation, bird-watching, and creeping other peoples’ dogs (there’s a dog park 20 minutes down the trail).

The Sunnybrook Forest on a melty-warm winter day. Perfectly serene for a solitary moment.

The Sunnybrook Forest on a melty-warm winter day. Perfectly serene for a solitary moment.

birds birds birds

birds birds birds

dogs dogs dogs

dogs dogs dogs

Go to Keele on the shuttle bus for a meal. 

The food at Keele is pretty legit (i.e. Hero Burger, Mac sushi, the Underground Restaurant, Yogen Fruz, Booster Juice). You can pay for all of the above with your meal plan dollars.

A breakfast of coffee, fruit, and a chocolate chip cream cheese bagel at Keele Campus.

A breakfast of coffee, fruit, and a chocolate chip cream cheese bagel at Keele Campus.

Check out a creative event on campus.

Two weeks ago, my friends Max and Brynn, Four Minutes Til Midnight, and Trouble and Daughter played a concert at the Lunik Coop. Glendon Théatre also puts on amazing drama productions like the Fridge Festival (which I’ll be performing in; you’re welcome to come see!).

Four Minutes Til Midnight performing on the Lunik Café stage.

Four Minutes Til Midnight performing on the Lunik Café stage.

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Go adventuring downtown. 

Dundas Square, adorable cafés, and the Eaton Centre. With a $10 TTC Day Pass, there are heaps of things to do and see in a day off.

Tea with my friend Andy at David's Tea, located at Yonge and Eglinton. This place has lots of shops and little stores. The stretch just south of Bayview and Eglinton is also fulllllll of little shops.

A cuppa with my friend Andy at David’s Tea, located at Yonge and Eglinton. If you’re looking for more cute shops, check out the stretch on Bayview south of Eglinton.

Adventuring is a daily pursuit. Fellow Glendonites, what fun things do you do in your spare time?

How is Glendon atmosphere?

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Occasionally one of you awesome people asks me a question on Formspring. This of course makes me have a little dance-party because getting a real question from a real person (instead of writing blog posts to the voiceless internet) is really exciting!

So recently, someone asked me about what the Glendon atmosphere is like.

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This is kind of a hard question to answer because every student has a different experience at the school they go to. However, here are my thoughts based on my own experience.

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Mixing. I’d say that Glendon’s atmosphere is a mix of all kinds of contrasts. The first mix is between English and French. Franglais (or code-switching) is really common on campus (ex: “I need to mange right now or I’ll die,” “I have devoirs to do,” “qu’est-ce que sup?”).

The second mix is between old and new. I just learned from Sarah Yu (vlogger) that the Lunik Coop logo is inspired by this really cool iron grate in the manor. Old-era inspiration like this is neat and plentiful on campus.

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Conscientiousness. Although there are exceptions to every rule, I’d say that a lot of Glendon students are thoughtful about social/political/economic issues. Another plus is that there is a ton of creative talent here (often in the people who are conscientious), so that social awareness gets expressed in some pretty unique ways.

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Example? Right now at Lunik Coop, they have a clothing swap going on, where people can come and trade in their own clothes for what others don’t want anymore. I got a shirt out of it. My friend Ann got a whole wardrobe.

Also, Wendi (a fashion blogger and Glendon student) films some of her stuff here sometime.

really rad music scene

My name is Esther, nice to meet you.

While we’re talking art, I should mention that people here love music. This is obvious because we have almost weekly pub socials (with lots of music and dancing), occasional concerts at Lunik Coop (Trouble and Daughter came to perform last semester), and music-related student clubs. The Glendon Musical Ensemble puts on a show every semester, and a group of students are putting on a musical (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) this month. You can come see it if you’d like!

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Faces. One of my favourite things about Glendon is that I get to bump into faces like this without having to plan to Since we have a student population of 2600 students, chances are that you’ll get to bump into your friends.

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That leads to another characteristic of campus life: Community. Whether it’s through a club, or a weekly hangout, or just making friends in residence, Glendon has tons of opportunities to find great community. At the end of the day, though, I really think that university is what you make it. I’ve definitely put work into shaping community for myself and others on campus, and it hasn’t always been easy. I guess what you put in, you get out!

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That’s all I have to say for now. If you want to know more about the gym and the caf, check out this post about some of my favourite places at Glendon. Plus, if you have more questions, ask me on Formspring (yayyyy) or leave a comment.

P.S. You can always come for a campus tour or open house or shadow a lecture.

See ya’ around!

What did you think of FCD 2012?

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Ambassador Nick, Rachel, and Jack (a.k.a. my super attractive models).

What did you think of Fall Campus Day?

Did you enjoy the info sessions about planning your academic path, admissions, and money matters?

Did you find a new love for Glendon’s beautiful campus during a walking tour?

Did you meet members of our awesome ambassador team?

If you missed it…

it’s not too late to do any of those things.

you can scan a summary of the day’s events,

flip through the Facebook album,

or visit the Glendon website to access the information session powerpoint presentations.

You can also visit us in person for a campus tour or shadow a real university lecture.

Finally…

Never hesitate to ask a question on my Formspring or in the comments section of any post. I hope I’ll be talking to you soon!

3 essential study habits for university

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eAmbassador Francette getting some readings done!

The transition from high school to university is a baby step for a few, a jump for some, but a leap for most. How ready are you? Find out by asking yourself if you have these essential study techniques.

1. Scanning

A big part of university learning is doing readings. For many courses, you will be assigned 20 pages or more to read every week (that is, per course!).

If you want to keep up, you have to learn how to scan some of your readings. That means knowing what parts to skip and where to slow down, how to identify big ideas in a text , and when it’s okay to not do a reading altogether (which rarely happens, fyi!).

2. Asking

At the university level, course instructors and their assistants do not baby you, but that does not mean that they’re not willing to help. Here’s the catch: you have to ask.

Every professor has office hours during which you can go and see them and most  respond to emails fairly quickly.

Smart students know the shortest path to success is the one with the least guesswork required. Figure out what a professor wants for an assignment or test before you put in the work!

3. Prioritizing

The work load in university is usually heavier than in high school. There are more things to read, more assignments, and the added pressure of part-time jobs and a social life.

You have to figure out what your priorities are and allot your time accordingly. Put first things first and you will not get overwhelmed.

Most students are not able to do everything they’d like to, so the ability to choose what’s a priority and what is not a priority is a vital skill.

The essential quality…

What this all comes down to is efficiency.

Studying is not always about how much effort you put in, but where you’re putting it in.

If you feel like you need to grow in these skills, that’s a good sign. No one is born with these habits, so they have to be learned.

If you’re in high school, what intimidates you most about university learning? If you’re already in university, what study habit do you think is absolutely essential?

“I don’t know what major/career/life I want.” Some advice.

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Don’t worry about your future if you’re undecided about your major/school/life in general. Can I say this enough?  Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.

No matter how certain some people seem, we’re all in the process of figuring it out. Study broadly (as the video below says), seize interesting opportunities, work hard, and things will fall into place. You don’t need to know everything right now.

This video is awesome. This guy has a realistic perspective on life. Watch it.

What are you undecided about? Is your indecision stressing you out?

FAQ at the Ontario University Fair (2012)

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I got the chance to spend this past Sunday at the Ontario University Fair (OUF) as an ambassador for Glendon Campus. It was soooo refreshing to meet high school students. Their energy is inspirational.

Throughout the day, I realized that certain questions came up more than once. Then I thought to myself, “I’ll bet lots of other people are wondering about these questions.”

So here are the 9 frequently asked questions from my time at the OUF – with my answers, of course! If you have more questions, you can ask them by leaving a comment on this post or going to my Formspring page.

Table of Contents:
fyi: this click-menu is a little confusing for WordPress users! WP users, scroll a bit up after clicking!
Concurrent Ed – what is it?
How do scholarships work?
Tell me about the psychology program.
Psychology is offered the Keele Campus and at the Glendon Campus…? I don’t get it.
What are the main differences between the Keele Campus and the Glendon Campus?
Do Glendon students study everything in French?
How does the French requirement work?
Do you offer sciences (e.g. biology)?
How can I see the campus?

Concurrent Ed – what is it?
There are two ways you can get a teacher’s college education.
1. You can obtain your undergraduate degree (BA) and then go to Teacher’s College. This is the consecutive route.
2. You can also do both at the same time. That’s the concurrent route. Applying for this takes more work than applying for a regular BA program.

Yes, Glendon has a concurrent education program. Yes, we teach people how to become French immersion teachers. If you apply for the direct-entry concurrent education program through OUAC, you will receive a supplementary application through email afterwards.

More info about Glendon’s BEd program.

How do scholarships work?
There are two kinds of scholarships at Glendon: the kind you apply for and the kind you don’t apply for (based on your top 6 average). Keep an eye out for those deadlines for the application-based scholarships. Many are already due in February and March.

More info about scholarships.

Tell me about the psychology program.
It’s awesome. The people who I know in this program love it. The classes are dynamic and small, the profs are interesting, and there’s a lot of interesting research going on.

More info about the psychology department at Glendon.

Psychology is offered the Keele Campus and at the Glendon Campus…? I don’t get it.
I know. It’s confusing. I’m not an expert, but here’s what I do know:

  • These are two separate departments run by different people. Think of them as a McDonalds and a Harveys, not two Wendy’s franchises.
  • Classes at Glendon are generally smaller (Glendon’s average class size is in the 20s).
  • Glendon has some pretty cool profs, including Guy Proulx and Timothy Moore.

More info about the psychology department at Glendon.

What are the main differences between the Keele Campus and the Glendon Campus?

In my opinion, the basic differences are:

  1. size – the Glendon Campus population is around 3,000 and the Keele Campus population is about 55,000
  2. location – we’re location at Bayview and Lawrence in midtown Toronto, the Keele Campus is located around Keele and Steeles
  3. atmosphere – the Glendon Campus has a very green, natural, cosy feel. The Keele Campus is a lot larger, so naturally, it feels totally different.

These are just the basics and you’ll get a different answer based on who you ask. The best way to find out more is just to visit. Our open house is November 18th. Register here.

Do Glendon students study everything in French?
Depends. If you want to, yes. If you don’t want to, no. See the next question for more.

How does the French requirement work?
Every student studies French in order to become bilingual. At a bare minimum, that means taking a French as a Second Language course at the second-year level or taking a second-year level discipline course in French (e.g. history, but in French). At maximum, you can take courses in your program in French (e.g. history, but in French), and even pick up other languages! You choose what works for you.

Scroll to page 13 of the student handbook for more info about French options at Glendon.

Do you offer sciences (e.g. biology)?
Sort of. We focus on the liberal arts. But aside from that, we have a BA program in Environmental Science and Health Studies (eAmbassador Michelle is in this program) with courses about science from an arts perspective (e.g. Introduction to Biology, Conservation Biology).

We also have Economics and Business Economics programs.

You can find a list of all of our academic programs in a drop-down menu here.

How can I see the campus?
If you missed meeting us at the Ontario University Fair, you can also
Check out our fall open house (Fall Campus Day)
Come for a tour.
Sit in on a lecture as part of our Shadow Program (stay posted!)
Come for a day during March break (March Break U (stay posted!)

Have more questions? Post them below in the comments section or go to my Formspring!