In mid-November, a group of local Francophone and bilingual cultural and governmental organizations met with French as a Second Language learners at Glendon to showcase the internship options that will soon be available for students.
The presentation marked the beginning of a for-credit internship course in Glendon’s new French Language Centre, which will give advanced French learners an opportunity to put their language skills into practice during a semester-long work placement in French. Many of the internships will launch this winter.
For those students who attended the presentation, the opportunity to improve their French language skills both inside and outside the classroom offered an exciting new adventure. “I didn’t know what was out there, but it’s good to know my options now,” said Holly Lanesmith, a third-year international studies student.
The presentation revealed the breadth and depth of French language experiences in Toronto, including managing social media for the French Language Services Commissioner, planning events with the Oasis Centre des femmes, giving historical tours with La Société d’histoire de Toronto, and many more.
Other partner organizations include La Passerelle, Les Centres d’Accueil Héritage, and Reflet Salvéo.
Robert McCreight, Glendon alumnus and representative from Reflet Salvéo, a francophone health advocacy group, attests to the importance of practical experience in becoming bilingual. After attending French immersion, McCreight persisted with his French at Glendon and completed a summer internship with Reflet Salvéo for his master’s degree. “At first, I had exclusively academic knowledge, but my internship gave me practical, hands-on experience.”
Françoise Mougeon, the founding director of the French Learning Centre and the internship course, said she was excited to be sending students into immersion placements, citing Glendon’s strong links to the local French-speaking community as an integral component of the program.
She adds that the benefits to the student extend beyond language acquisition. “The community and government agencies serving the local French-speaking population give a unique opportunity to students learning French as a second language to set realistic goals in real-life situations.”
A survey of 3,369 Ontario employers conducted by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) shows that those who offer work-integration learning (WIL) programs “overwhelmingly prefer to hire graduates who had gained WIL experience at their own workplace”. Research shows that these employers also consistently offer higher average starting salaries to graduates with workplace-integrated learning experience. Add to this the higher average salaries paid to bilingual university graduates, and Glendon’s future FSL interns have promising career prospects ahead.
Submitted by Esther Phua, a third-year student and eAmbassador in Glendon’s Individualized Studies Program, focusing on communications