First impressions of language and culture in New Caledonia

I didn’t think I would be travelling for study (and blogging about it) again so soon! When the opportunity to travel to New Caledonia and complete an intensive French language and culture topic, I was determined to fit it into my study plan, despite having completed all of my French minor topics. I was able to combine this non-semester topic with one of my core research project topics, now here I am!

A friend and I organised to come a few days early to explore the island and do some tourist activities. I was a bit sceptical of this at first, because it added a few extra costs, but we did some great things by doing package tours which would include transport, food and activities on day trips to islands or to the country. These few extra days also allowed us to get oriented and settled in to the new environment.

My main motivation for going on this trip was to improve my fluency in French and treating the trip as a capstone for my French studies. After not doing any French topics this past semester, I was very nervous that I would be out of practice or would have fallen behind my classmates.

It was difficult at first, as often you are speaking French when you need help or information, and are therefore under some pressure. When we were able to find someone to stop and have a conversation with, it became easier and was more beneficial. I was initially overwhelmed by the language classes at CREIPAC, as I predicted I might be. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s meant to be intensive and challenging, as we often discuss topics which are hard enough to talk about in English! Hopefully I will continue to build confidence over the next week.

One week in to the program, I am absolutely exhausted with 3 hours of French each weekday morning and excursions or guest speakers each afternoon. I think we are all looking forward to a weekend of exploring at a more relaxed pace. After all, we are on “island time” here, which means stress is not allowed!

Eloise Quinn-Valentine, Bachelor of Arts-Enhanced Program for High Achievers student participated in the program “Understanding New Caledonia: New perspectives and traditions” in November- December 2019. The program was funded by the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant (short term) 

  • Read Eloise’s blog posts from her semester exchange in the UK – blog 1, blog 2 an blog 3


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