Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Explore Day 1: Commençez!

Day 1
Official first day of the summer session of Explore 2012 at Laval University. At 8:30am we all reported to Pavillon Charles-De Koninck (DKN) to get our schedules, food voucher, and student card. There are 560 students in total with about 325 from Canada and the rest from parts of the world. 

We all lined up according to our last names.

After getting our schedule, we headed to our individual classrooms by 9:30am. There were less than 30 students in my class ranging from ages 18 to 30. The duration of our five weeks will be spent in this classroom alternating between two different teachers who will be teaching writing, oral, expression comprehension and pronunciation. My classes are 8:30am-12:30pm on Monday and 8:30am-12:00pm Tuesday to Friday. There are also two mandatory workshops per week, one is communication and the other one we can choose.

Class was dismissed at 12:00pm. Sabrina, whom I met in class, and I went to the computer lab to create a ULaval email address then to lunch at Desjardins.

Desjardins cafeteria
There was a checklist of things to do by today in the envelope given to us in the morning so we proceeded to complete each one.

The food voucher was actually $700 in cash so we went to the bank to redeem our check with hundreds of other students lining up to do the same.

After that, Sabrina and I went to a mall called Laurier Quebec to buy a monthly bus card. There was a little detour because when we got to the pharmacy where the passes are sold, she found out she had lost the envelope with her student card! We backtracked through three malls to the first store where she bought chocolate and found it! 

Anyways, so at the pharmacy we were able to buy the OPUS July bus pass at the student rate ($51.50) with an additional one time fee of $15.00 to buy the card itself. Our pictures were taken and immediately printed on the card. 

From the mall back to DKN (about 20 minute walk) we went to have our pictures taken for our student ID. There was another long line up for that as well. Most of today consisted of walking and lining up.

When that was done off the checklist, we decided to try the underground tunnels to go back to Pavillon Alphonse-Marie-Parent. It was cooler temperature and the walls had creative paintings but the route took longer than walking above ground.

By 5:30pm we headed back to DKN for a mandatory assembly. The coordinator of the Explore program explained to us the language contract where we agree to speak only French during our stay here or accept the consequence of being home. The activity coordinators explained some of the excursions we could join.

When the assembly ended, myself and four other girls took the bus to see the free Cirque du Soleil show. The buses here are much newer than the ones back home in Vancouver. Without a bus pass it costs $3 per ticket.

We stopped at Chez Ashton for dinner and I had my first poutine of this Quebec trip. Ashton is famous for their poutine and the cheese actually squeaks!

It was a little difficult finding the location because it was under a bridge. To get there we had to walk down steep stairs and down a small hill road.

There were already people lining up at 8:15pm when we arrived and the show started at 9:30pm. The poster said 45 minutes duration but it was actually a little over an hour long. Everyone stood to watch the show but it was still pretty spectacular.

Overall, it was a tiring but eventful day of running errands and enjoying the activities the city has to offer :)

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