French class trip to Canada
I traveled to Canada one summer with students from my French class. It was my first, and still only, trip outside of the United States. It was exciting to think that I would finally get to apply my somewhat rudimentary French and hear native speakers.
Canada, incidentally, is an excellent place to practice the French language for several reasons.
First, most people in the French-speaking part of Canada are bilingual in French and English, so in the event that you have something extremely important to communicate, it is easy to be understood without having to fumble with foreign words.
Secondly, the people there (at least the ones with whom I interacted) appreciate even a feeble attempt at speaking in French, which they hold in higher esteem than the English language.
Interestingly enough, despite my eagerness to communicate in my newly-acquired language, I soon found myself tongue-tied when the time came to actually try and use it. The French-Canadian accent is different from the accent used by people from France (which we had studied), and many words (such as “hot dog”) are completely different.
Though I did find several opportunities to practice speaking French, I was grateful to have my mother tongue to fall back on when I needed to do so!