Alex Finlayson, a third year Brock student in French Studies and Concurrent Education, was recently awarded the very prestigious 2016-17 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Endowment Fund for Study in a Second Official Language.
Given to only three students from across Canada each year, the award comprises a $7,000 bursary and letter of congratulations and is designed to support second or third year university students studying French or English as a second language.
Receiving the award is an enormous achievement. The rigorous application process includes an essay, documentation of community involvement, plan of study, nomination form, and reference letters. While the award is open to students from any discipline, each university can only put forward one candidate.
We asked Alex about her experience studying French.
What inspired you to study French?
I was offered the chance to join a mid-french immersion program in grade 4 and was very excited about the idea of being able to speak another language. Nobody else in my family spoke french at the time, so I thought it would be neat to be the only one!
Studying a second language can be intimidating. In your experience, what are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of studying French?
I find that it can definitely be scary to speak French with people for the first time because it’s a little more challenging to improvise in French than in English. However, it can also feel extremely rewarding to converse with someone in French, particularly when considering all the work that has been put into learning the language.
Has anything surprised you about studying French?
I took another language course in my first year at Brock (Italian) and was surprised at just how easily I was able to pick it up! Although Italian comes with an entirely new vocabulary, the majority of grammar rules and verb conjugations are very similar to French, which really helped me with the learning process.
This is a prestigious award, with only three students in the country receiving it each year. What motivated you to apply for it?
It was suggested that I apply for this award based on my field of study. As someone who loves both French and English, I was thrilled to discover such an applicable award.
Can you tell us how you plan to use the scholarship to further your studies?
At this point, the majority of the scholarship has gone towards my tuition at Brock; however, I have also set a portion aside to one day put towards a trip to France.
Finally, do you have any advice for students thinking of studying French at Brock?
I would just say that there are so many opportunities for French students at Brock so try to get involved with as many as possible!