According to a study by BBC Radio, Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. For such a diverse and multilingual city, it’s expected that there would be a few spots to practice French somewhere along the subway line. “Bilingual in French and English” is a badass and profitable line to slap on your resume. Chances are the benefits of a bilingual campus is one of the main reasons you applied to Glendon in the first place. But learning French is not as simple as showing up on campus and attending your classes. While you may conjugate verbs with ease and have a knack for distinguishing between feminine and masculine nouns, the ability to engage in real-life conversation is the true test of fluency.
Deciphering a class reading in your second (or third or fourth) language is impressive. Being able to buy groceries, go to the bank, and ask for directions in that language is very practical and will come in handy when you are working or travelling (because we all know you want to travel). Though, if you have yet to find a supportive conversation partner or you are little too shy to start initiating conversation with French speakers, there are alternatives.
Jetting off to France for a year or moving to Quebec for a month may not be a viable option at the moment. Moreover, making the commitment to read one French novel every week in addition to your course load, part time job, and social life sounds like an unrealistic goal. Instead, try to make a night out of second language learning by heading down to Movie Thursdays; a screening of free French films held every Thursday at Alliance Française Toronto. Combine the practicing of your French listening skills with the simplicity of going out to the movies. Located just a few steps away from Spadina station, Alliance Française Toronto screens interesting French language films and documentaries in addition to its language classes and other French language programming.
The best part? Admission is free. You do not have to be enrolled in the classes to attend and there are subtitles provided to help even those just beginning their French language learning journey. The cherry on top is that the audience is filled with fellow francophiles from the Toronto area. It is totally acceptable to trek down there on your own and quietly make your exit once the movie is finished, but if you decide you want to make new friends or practice your French, you have a ready-made discussion group of people who are eager to discuss the film with you. The Movie Thursday schedule can be found on the Alliance Française Toronto website along with information on other paid programming and events. The films screen at 7:30pm each Thursday.
Jumping into French conversation head-first and with a good sense of humour is the fastest way to master the language, and Immersing yourself in the language outside the academic constraints of the classroom may do more for you than a textbook ever will. Whether you are new to Toronto or you have lived here your whole life, exploring le Six by discovering French language destinations is a marvelous way to supplement your bilingual education at Glendon.
TorontoDiscursive.com is a student culture and lifestyle website.