Robert McNutt, from Saint John, New Brunswick to Lévis, Québec
New Brunswick to Quebec
Lévis is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, facing Québec City. You can sense four hundred years of history everywhere there. In the morning, the sun washes over the Château Frontenac and the Citadel. Just across the bridge, you can go for a walk on the Plains of Abraham, or stroll through the meandering streets of Old Québec, which is one of the most European towns, as well as one of the prettiest, in North America.
When I arrived, I was struck by people’s pride. I made some new friends. I was surprised by how patiently people listened to me, even if my French was not perfect. They all helped me better understand the language. For the first time ever, I had the feeling of being deep in the heart of the Québec culture and identity. I understood from the inside.
At the Cégep de Lévis, I helped young people learn a second language, to prepare themselves for a richer future. It was extremely satisfying. The Odyssey program does leave you with some free time, though, so, I kept up my swimming—I used to be a lifeguard—and curling.
Following my work as a language assistant, I was invited to promote the Odyssey program across the province. That allowed me to travel throughout Québec and discover the whole region. I met thousands of young people. I visited CEGEPs, universities, big cities, and small towns that were far from the major centres. I now know Québec like the back of my hand.
My experience is nearly over. I’m in the middle of packing my things. In four days, I’m leaving Québec, bound for the Maritimes. I’m going back to my neck of the woods with a job in my pocket. Someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. If I hadn’t taken part in this program, my career path would have been very different. My time as a language assistant and as an ambassador for the program are what shaped my odyssey.