Meghan McGrattan is a passionate young woman. And, one of her passions is dance. How about teaching hip hop classes to Francophones kids? No problem. Thanks to French immersion, Meghan, then only 16, was ready for the challenge. Since then, being bilingual has always helped her to move ahead. “To date, I have yet to have a job where I haven’t had to use both languages at some point,” she says.
Meghan was born and raised in Fredericton. After high school, she enrolled in Renaissance College (the Leadership Faculty). As part of her degree, she spent three months in West Africa where she had to speak French. “Once you have a foundation, I think a lot of people will be surprised by how little immersion time it takes to get to the point where it feels natural to speak it. I was so comfortable in French when I came back from Africa. ” In fact, on her way home, she remembers going through security at the Montreal airport and arguing in French with a control agent about her water bottle exceeding the limit. “Finally, he looked at my passport and then asked me if I was indeed from Fredericton. I said Yes. Looking surprised, he said in English: Do you speak English? ” It was a proud moment for Meghan since the man had not been able to detect her English accent.
Right before graduating from Renaissance College, Meghan’s knowledge of both French and English helped her to land a job as the youth outreach coordinator for Elections New Brunswick. “It was an incredible experience, especially speaking both languages, she says. I had to travel all across the province. It really stretched my ability to speak French.”
Meghan thinks that a lot of young people do not necessarily see all the ways French can help them. “The opportunities to learn French are so much more prevalent than a lot of young people going through immersion think. And you truly do never know when this language is going to either help you to get a job as a first step or to progress in whatever your feelings are.”
Now 21, Meghan has a lot of projects; she is interested in international development and human rights. She might also go to Medical School. One thing is for sure: she will keep moving ahead.