On May 2 nd 2019, I had the pleasure of traveling to Fredericton, New Brunswick to attend Languages Without Borders 2019 – a national conference for second language educators. My travel day started off with a few flight delays but luckily, I was not alone. In fact, I was surrounded by several members of the University of Ottawa/second language education community – all of whom were on the same flight as me! This group consisted of deans, professors, and representatives from associations such as Canadian Parents for French and l’Association canadienne des professionnels de l’immersion. Not only was it fun interacting with these individuals on a social level, it simultaneously became an opportunity to network with key individuals in my field of interest.
Interestingly, this conference was my first time presenting with professors. Together, we presented on the Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française (DELF) Correcteur Training in French as a Second Language (FSL) teacher education: Perspectives and possibilities. The DELF is a diploma issued by the French Ministry for National Education and is meant to serve as a certification of language skills for those whose first language is not French. Given the increasing popularity of the DELF in Canada, being a certified corrector is a definite asset for candidates applying to FSL teaching positions. Hence, for the past two years, DELF corrector training has been offered to Year 2 FSL teacher candidates at the University of Ottawa. Initially, I felt a bit nervous at the thought of presenting with professors but I’m proud to say that I was able to hold my own and had no issues in conveying my points clearly and concisely: a grad student win! Following our presentation, we received some excellent comments and questions which will certainly help us in our publications.
In addition to presenting, my other goal in attending this conference was to learn from other researchers and to build relationships. One particular experience that stands out was attending a presentation and keynote by a renowned Canadian researcher in the field of multilingualism – Dr. Roma Chumak-Horbatsch. Following her presentation, I spoke with her and we took a photo together which I later emailed to her. She followed up with queries about my work and then proceeded to share a video about my research with a world-renowned researcher in the field of second language education – Dr. Jim Cummins! Oh, the power of networking!
Overall, I had a wonderful experience in Fredericton and am extremely grateful to the Education Graduate Students’ Association for the academic support grant. I would encourage all Faculty of Education graduate students to consider applying. Who knows what opportunities may come your way…