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Bjorkdale girl heads to Quebec for immersion experience

Bjorkdale News
Gabriella Vecchio in Jonquière, Que.

BJORKDALE — Local Bjorkdale girl, Gabriella Vecchio was able to have an exciting summer so far. She applied to attend a program in Jonquiere, Que., and was chosen to participate in the “Explore Immersion Program.”

Vecchio said she submitted an application and found out in March that she had been selected in the Canadian draw to receive a bursary, covering the tuition, meals and accommodation for the program.

There are Explore programs across the country. The one Vecchio attended was in Jonquiere, Que., which is in the Saguenay region, about two and a half hours north of Quebec City. She was there for 19 days.

While there, she was expected to speak French at all times, regardless of ability. You had to try to use French when speaking with your friends and in public. You were only allowed to speak English if you were in your room on your phone at night.

Vecchio said she had taken some French, so she had some basic understanding, but was not very fluent when speaking. The most challenging part at first, was trying to think of the correct wording and order of the words when asking questions, Vecchio said.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet kids from across the country and form new friendships.”

Each weekday, she spent her mornings in French class. In the afternoons, they participated in workshops and activities, during which they practiced their French skills. In the evenings, they had some free time, and additional activities. On the weekends, she had the opportunity to participate in some optional excursions.

Her excursions included a day trip to Quebec City and a visit to the Museum of Civilization and a whale-watching trip on the St. Lawrence.

“This program was an amazing experience and I feel that it helped me to improve my French language skills and form many new friendships. I appreciate the opportunity and would recommend it to anyone.”

The Bjorkdale skating rink board will be hosting a slo-pitch tournament on Sunday, Aug. 6. All proceeds raised will go towards the Bjorkdale skating rink for ongoing operations and utilities. The Valley Inn will be sponsoring each team a pizza for the day and the Beeland Co-op has donated the food towards the booth. The food booth will be open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with burgers, hotdogs, drinks and some confectionary items for sale. To register a team, contact Tyson Wearing at 306-873-8344

The Valley Inn is hosting their annual car show and shine on Aug. 6 starting at 1 p.m. First come, first served parking and prizes for best truck, car and bike.