CMEC's Language Learning and Exchange Programs were created to encourage individuals to learn both of Canada's official languages and to discover the rich cultures associated with them. The Department of Canadian Heritage provides funding for these programs and the provinces and territories are responsible for their administration. CMEC coordinates the programs at the pan-Canadian level.

Language Learning Programs

CMEC offers two bursary programs that provide students with an opportunity to study outside of their home region and meet others who are engaged in improving their first- or second-language capacity. Bursaries to cover the costs of programs are paid directly to the institution in which the student is enrolled.

  • Explore offers five weeks of classes, activities, and cultural experiences in the student’s second language and in a different region of the country from their own. It encourages fluency in the language and an appreciation of the culture in which it is used. The program is open to both French and English second-language learners.

  • Destination Clic is available to French first-language students who live outside Quebec. It provides students in Grades 8 and 9 a three-week opportunity to learn, meet new people, explore another region of Canada, and become more fluent in French as a first language.

Language Exchange Programs

CMEC offers a program in which language assistants are assigned to elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions in another region of the country. They work with second-language teachers to provide students with the opportunity to interact with a native speaker, employ the language in daily life, and understand its culture. In addition, some francophone language assistants are placed in French-language educational institutions in regions where Francophones are in the minority. Students in these institutions benefit from this opportunity by deepening their knowledge of, and experience with, their own first language. 

Odyssey offers language assistants full-time work in a different region of country, allowing them to bring their first language to life and make it culturally vibrant for second-language students. English first-language speakers find themselves in French-language communities, while French first-language speakers may be placed in English communities or work with francophones in minority settings. Leading classroom language activities—whether in an elementary, secondary, or postsecondary institution—language assistants work for 25 hours a week from the beginning of September to the end of May, earning a salary and exploring the regional diversity of Canada.

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