Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.
This quote by the French thinker Ernest Dimnet makes a great argument for French immersion camps.
It’s important to give kids structure and focused lessons, especially when it comes to a foreign language.
But it’s also important to let them discover the language in their own way, through friendships and activities they choose.
French immersion camps are designed to strike exactly this balance.
Typically, campers get French language classes for a portion of the day, then cultural activities, social events and excursions where they can use their French in the real world.
We’ll show you six incredible, international French immersion camps for young kids and teens to make the most of their summer.
Why a French Immersion Camp?
Immersion is one of the most effective ways to learn a language, and a French immersion camp is an incredible opportunity for an immersion experience.
Young French learners will get the opportunity to speak the language day in, day out—not only with teachers and peers, but also in real-life settings outside the classroom.
And it’s not just about extra practice. Immersion in a French-speaking region means that the vocabulary and grammar they learn in the classroom will be directly reflected in the real-world experiences they have in their region of choice: in the stores, in the restaurants and even during the excursions to historical and cultural sites. It’ll make French more relevant and more memorable.
Further, and more importantly, kids will build relationships with other campers and native French speakers. This means the connection they make with the language is long-lasting, and they can continue their French friendships long after they’ve left camp.
The great thing is that French immersion doesn’t have to start and stop with an immersion camp. FluentU can help campers prepare for their time at camp or keep French up afterward.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
6 French Immersion Camps for Adventurous Young Language Learners
Check out the top six French immersion camps for your teen to take part in this summer!
Edu-Inter’s Summer French Camp for Teens
Edu-Inter’s French camp for teens is an overnight camp that has welcomed youth from over 25 countries. It’s for campers ages 10 to 17, and the experience takes place in the heart of Quebec City, Canada.
Surrounded by a vibrant and historical French-speaking community, this camp is the perfect combination of formal and informal learning experiences.
For campers, the day starts with morning French lessons split across seven levels depending on previous French knowledge. That means that whether your teen has a beginner, intermediate or advanced level of French, their experience will be tailored to their learning needs.
In the afternoons, students can select activities they want to do. The options include an arts program or a sports program. These activities include drama and music for the arts trajectory, and time in the gym or the field for sports-oriented learners.
Further, in the evenings and on weekends, cultural and recreational activities are organized for the students. These include excursions to Montreal and surrounding historical and cultural sites. Students can even go whale-watching at Tadoussac!
This program costs about 1,875 CAD for a one-week, all-inclusive stay in residence.
Ecole de langues at Campus Notre Dame-de-Foy
This overnight camp for 14- and 15-year-olds can be found at the private college Campus Notre Dame-de-Foy. The campus itself is very close to downtown Quebec City, so real-world language and cultural experiences are right around the corner.
One of the best things about this camp is that it has a maximum of 18 students per class. That means that your camper will have a personalized language-learning experience with a teacher who’ll be able to address their needs and help them excel.
A day at École de langues (School of Languages) includes three hours of French instruction in the morning (Monday through Friday) as well as cultural activities and sports.
Over the weekend, students are taken on excursions to the surrounding areas.
The French classes are differentiated for three levels of French: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Two sessions are offered through the summer and each session costs about 2,410 CAD per three-week session.
Centre International d’Antibes
The Centre International d’Antibes (International Centre of Antibes) runs a camp for kids six to 17 years old located in the heart of Paris. Standard packages have students complete 20 French lessons over the course of their week-and-a-half stay.
Since this camp is in such a prime location, there are many excursions where students can see the sights of Paris. Can you imagine learning about vocabulary associated with ordering at a French bistro or buying a ticket to climb the Eiffel Tower, and then actually being able to use that vocabulary that afternoon?
With this camp, that experience will happen on the daily!
In addition to excursions, other activities include evenings out with supervision, a dance organized by the camp and games at the accommodations.
Tuition for the program starts at 850 euros.
Les Elfes Summer Camp
This camp is located in a different hub of French-speaking Europe. Les Elfes Summer Camp is both a linguistic and breathtakingly outdoor experience in the Alps in Verbier, Switzerland.
The camp is for kids seven to 17 and is divided into three age groups. Regardless of their age group, campers do about eight hours per week of language lessons. While many languages of Switzerland are possible for lessons such as Italian and German, French is also a leading option.
In addition to the language-learning experience, there are over 40 offered outdoor activities for students to do, including hiking, swimming and biking through the gorgeous landscape where this camp takes place!
Further, students can go on excursions to neighboring Swiss cities such as Bern, Lausanne and Geneva.
Prices for this camp start at 4,420 CHF.
Our next camp returns us to Canada! Camp Ouareau is an all-girls French immersion camp in Saint-Donat, Quebec.
The camp is divided into three age groups. The “Discover” Camp is for 6- to 7-year-olds for a five-day experience and starts at 725 CAD. The “Explore” camp is for 8- to 16-year-olds for a 14-day experience and starts at 2,195 CAD. The “Adventure” camp is for 8- to 16-year-olds for a 27-day experience and starts at 4,050 CAD. (Prices go up slightly if you book at the end of the year).
This is a particularly unique camp because the girls are a mix of native French and English speakers. It’s like one big, friendly, adventurous language exchange. The aim isn’t just to learn language but also to create a positive community among young girls.
The relationships and the skills learned at Camp Ouareau are ones that young girls can carry with them for their entire lives!
Lingua Service Worldwide
Our last camp is called Lingua Service Worldwide, which has locations all over the world. This camp in particular is a French-immersion experience offered in Nice, France.
This camp is for kids 13 to 17 years old. It includes social activities locally each day as well as excursions to cultural and historical sites throughout the region. Campers can also participate in a sports program, which includes either weekly tennis or sailing lessons, or a mix of outdoor activities changing weekly.
The language element has a compulsory 15 hours of French lessons per week to help your teen develop their French.
Prices start at 1,552 USD for a one-week camp.
Start getting your teen’s bags packed! It looks like they’re spending an amazing summer at a French immersion camp!
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