Explore is a five-week long French immersion bursary program administered by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC), with funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. It has been in existence in various forms since 1971, and continues to be an excellent way for students of all ages to develop their French-language skills.
Explore has participating institutions across the country, with the bulk of them being situated in Quebec. The fundamental design of the program is quite similar at each location, with the focus being on providing an opportunity for French-learning in an immersive and supportive environment. After arrival, the students write a French placement test and participate in an informal French-language interview in order for them to be placed in an appropriate class level. From that point onward, the five weeks will involve attending class for a portion of each weekday (potentially for a transferrable credit to the student’s post-secondary instutitution) with other activities filling the rest of the time.
The program is offered during a spring session (mid May to late June) and a summer session (July to mid August) with slightly variable start and end times.Eligible candidates can apply for the $2000 bursary in late February, and will hear back about selection around mid to late March. Selection is random process with spots first filled by first time applicants, and the remaining places offered to other applicants.The bursary pays for the bulk of the tuition and accommodations (in residence, or with host family).
Eligibility: (from the Explore website)
·Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status
·Completion of grade 11 (secondary 5 in Quebec), or are at the postsecondary level by time of application.
·Enrolled in school full-time for at least one semester in the current academic year.
·Meets minimum age requirements (slightly variable between locations)
If you are not eligible to apply for the bursary (or didn’t receive a bursary) but are still interested in an immersive French–learning experience, I would still encourage you to visit the Explore website. Many of the institutions that participate with the Explore program also accept students who are willing to pay for the tuition fees via other means (notably themselves).
Explore Program Website: http://jexplore.ca
Applying to Explore? Read Stan’s Rivière-du-Loup review.
Are you an Explore alum? Consider submitting a review of your own experience!