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Getting to Know French Canada: A Northwestern American’s Perspective

Elizabeth St. Clair
Elizabeth St. Clair enjoys a Québec winter while studying at Université Laval on a Canada-America Society Scholarship.

August 31, 2008

Originally posted: 2008

Each year the Canada-America Society offers academic scholarships to undergraduates from Oregon, Idaho and Washington. Elizabeth St. Clair, a UW honors student, was chosen as a recipient to study in Québec.

I had the opportunity to study at Université Laval in Québec, thanks to a generous scholarship from the Canada-America Society. As a Political Science and French double major, I was able to combine my two passions and approach my studies from a new perspective.

Living and studying on-campus at Laval, I enjoyed beautiful and historic Québec City, an area celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding. My class schedule included four political science courses conducted in French. Though challenging, my time spent furthering my language skills and gaining political perspectives beyond the realm of the US was priceless. Unlike many, I had taken courses on US politics and institutions and had familiarity with the subject matter. But my classes introduced me to events and the role of government in Canada, including differences between Canadian and American federalism.

I spent a wonderful winter waist-deep in snow, making friends with Canadians and international students and becoming intimately acquainted with Laval’s Bonenfant Library. Studying in Canada – anywhere in Canada – is my recommendation to anyone. Meet Canadians; learn about Canadian culture, heritage, and institutions so that you can recognize Canada’s unique nature. The more you learn the more you can appreciate life.