Nine students and two professors will travel to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 15 through 20, over fall break. The students are in French 3010, a French composition class at Tennessee Tech.Debbie Barnard, a French professor at Tech, has organized the trip. The group will work with a few food banks in the Montreal area and will help to distribute and sort the donations the food banks have received.
“I was hoping to work one-on-one with an organization in Montreal doing something like after-school tutoring but background checks would have been necessary, and there just wasn’t enough time,” Barnard said. “Since we have a larger group, the volunteer office in Montreal decided to use us for manual labor working with the food banks.”
Barnard was able to receive a Quality Enhancement Project grant for the students, so they will get a stipend for the work they do while in Montreal which will pay for the majority of the trip.
Rebecca Hillebrand, one of the students traveling with the group, had the idea to do a service project like this last year when she suggested going to New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans trip didn’t work out, so the trip to Montreal was planned instead.
The students have been in charge of planning the trip including all of the group’s transportation, lodging and at which restaurants they will eat. Hillebrand was in charge of which sites the group will visit.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a more European city in North America and trying the food there,” Hillebrand said. “It will also be a good opportunity to help people out and be exposed to a different dialect of French.”
French is the language most spoken at home in the Montreal metropolitan area, but there is a large English language influence as well. Barnard isn’t sure how much French the group will hear but she knows it will be different.
“The French spoken in this area is heavily accented, so we will all have to adjust to it,” she said.
Barnard hopes to plan more trips like this in the future, perhaps pairing an advanced French class with a sociology class to get more students involved.