Discours d'adieu - Julia Baker (2021)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Image de JuliaOne of the things I appreciated about my undergraduate experience at Waterloo was the contrast between my French major and business minor. As an Honours French, Arts and Business Co-op student, I attended the large business lectures where I learned about economics, accounting, entrepreneurship and international business. In these lectures I got to think more mathematically and strategically, especially in the capstone course where I helped manage a fictitious company in a simulation. On the contrary, in my French courses I got to indulge the word-nerd side of me as I studied phonetics, linguistics and grammar. However, my French courses went far beyond merely studying the makeup of a language. Instead, I learned the history of France and of French. I read francophone novels from around the globe, including works from Africa, the Caribbean and Quebec. In fact, studying Quebec was one of the most interesting parts of my undergrad. Despite having been a Canadian all my life, I knew very little of Quebec history and culture, not to mention I’d rarely, if ever, been exposed to the accent. That all changed in university as I read novels and learned about the history of French-English relations in Canada. Above all, my familiarity with Quebec and its story changed when I took a term off to attend Parole de Vie, a small francophone Bible school in Sherbrooke. This experience brought aspects of my classroom learning to life as I got to know some of the Quebecois at the Bible school. I will always be incredibly thankful for the opportunity to study there, as it greatly improved my French, made me more comfortable with the accent, but most importantly, it allowed me to grow personally through creating friendships and studying the Bible.

In summary, my undergrad at Waterloo allowed me to think mathematically, strategically, creatively, and critically. I am grateful for the smaller class sizes of my French courses where I was more comfortable engaging in classroom discussion and therefore got to know my professors and peers better. But I am also thankful that my time at Waterloo was not just marked by classroom experiences. Going to Quebec for a term, as well as being in the Arts and Business co-op program, contributed greatly to making my experience at Waterloo well-rounded.

En résumé, mon baccalauréat à Waterloo m’a permis de penser mathématiquement, stratégiquement, avec créativité et de manière critique. J’ai vraiment apprécié mes cours de français qui étaient plus petits, puisque j’étais plus à l’aise avec l’idée de m’engager dans les discussions. Par conséquent, j’ai pu mieux connaître mes professeurs et mes camarades de classe. De plus, je suis contente que mon parcours universitaire ne n’ait pas été marqué simplement par les études dans une salle de classe. Aller au Québec et être dans le programme Honours French, Arts and Business Co-op avec les stages en milieu professionnel m’ont beaucoup aidé à avoir une expérience complète.