Jenna Steeves

“It’s much more than a language; it’s a culture!”

When her parents wanted to enrol her in the French immersion program in Grade 6, Jenna protested, saying that she did not want to change schools or lose friends. In the end, she agreed. At that time, she had no idea she would one day do a master’s degree in French.

Towards the end of her studies at Moncton High School, Jenna considered many options and finally decided to enrol in the Bachelor of Education program at the Université de Moncton. She felt she had mastered French well enough to pursue her post-secondary studies in that language. However, one of her Francophone friends was not so enthusiastic about the idea. “He told me that even as a Francophone, he had a great deal of difficulty obtaining a bachelor’s degree in French, saying ‘University is not easy, you know.’” But this did not discourage Jenna. She prepared herself for the worst. And in her first semester, she was at the head of her grammar class!

Attending a Francophone university led Jenna to an important discovery: “I did not know there was all of this culture attached to the French language—there is a sense of humour and a different perspective,” she said. This young woman found French culture very enriching. “It’s much more than a language; it's a culture.” 

Jenna is currently working on her master’s in guidance counselling. “Many young people are afraid to pursue their post-secondary studies in French or do not see the importance of it. They think it is impossible. I tell them that it is possible to succeed in French if you are motivated. Where there's a will, there's a way.” 

When she thinks back on her parents’ decision to enrol her in the late immersion program, Jenna knows they made the right choice. “I don’t know anyone who regrets having learned a second language, but I know many who regret not doing so.”