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Where can you discover the art of fencing, learn the secrets to making a perfect quiche, participate in soccer competitions, sing and dance, watch foreign films and have stimulating conversation over éclairs all in one place? Only at BYU’s French Camp! June 2010 marked the first year of the camp’s existence but it won’t be its last. Ados ranging from 14 to 18 years old signed up for three weeks of all-day total French immersion.

On the first Monday of the program, all students took a placement test. They were then put into the intermediate or advanced level morning classes taught by Dave Nielsen and Charlotte Van Wagenen. These classes were completely conversation based. They then enjoyed an hour of lunch together and practiced all that they had learned that morning. The afternoons were spent with various francophone instructors in cooking classes, theater practice, putting together a yearbook of French Camp memories as well as participating in physical activities such as Boules and fencing. The students received daily Euros for speaking in French that they later used to purchase all sorts of posters, necklaces, African masks, etc. The last day of class, the students took a placement test again. Most tested at least one level or higher for a college course after the three-week experience. It was incredible to see the progress in so little time!

The 16 students performed several French songs, dances and a fashion show for their friends and families as a cumulating project on the last evening of the French Camp. They ended their presentation with an abridged version of Les Trois Mousquetaires, wearing traditional costumes.

The French Department at BYU sponsored this event and the hope is to increase enrollment for future years. French teachers, please speak of this program early to your students. Tell them to look forward to meeting new friends and gaining confidence in speaking.