Katherine Toner-Muzey

“Don’t cheat yourself!”

Knowing a second language is a great advantage when you want to communicate secretly. That’s how Katherine felt when she was learning French growing up. As children, she and her sisters would use French whenever they did not want their conversations to be understood by some people...  Today, of course, she knows that there are many more advantages in speaking both English and French.

Katherine and her four sisters grew up in Grand Falls. Her parents, both Anglophones, felt that it was important that they learn French. So the five girls went through French immersion from the very start all the way to Grade 12.  Today, they are all fully bilingual.

“In New Brunswick you run into people all the time. Whether they are French speaking or English speaking, I am able to communicate with them,” says Katherine. She explains her success by the fact that she practices a lot. “Whenever I can  speak French, I do, so I can improve. This is one thing I have always done.”

Speaking both languages helped Katherine pursue her career goal. Because law programs in universities accept only a limited number of  applicants, being bilingual  increased Katherine’s chances. She could apply to both Anglophone and Francophone universities. In fact, she was accepted at Université de Moncton. “I may not have been able to enter law school without being bilingual.”

Today, Katherine is a bilingual lawyer and uses both languages in court. She explains that being bilingual makes her work much easier and faster. “In court, I do not need an interpreter. I do not need to wait for legal documents to be translated in order to understand them. It is definitely an advantage.”

“Living in New Brunswick, if you don’t make an effort to learn both languages, you are only cheating yourself", says Katherine. "Because it is definitely going to be an advantage for you later in every way. When I was in university I always got the better summer jobs; higher pay because I was bilingual. I don’t think I would have the job I have now with this firm unless I was bilingual. You are just opening yourself up more opportunities. I rest my case.”