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REF NO.: 149

SUBJECT: Memorial University’s Frecker program extends into winter

DATE: Jan. 11

New funding will go a long way towards helping Memorial University’s Department of French extend the Frecker program, which is held in St-Pierre off Newfoundland’s south coast, into the winter months. Traditionally there has always been a winter Frecker program, but because of declining enrollment it was stopped in 1999. Since then, however, interest in the program has been steadily increasing and 19 undergraduate students have set off to the French island.

“We could not be happier with the additional funding coupled with increasing enrollment,” said program director Chantal Jordaan. “The Frecker program is an incredible learning experience for students who get to live fully immersed in a French culture. And the students really seem to enjoy it.”

The Frecker program started back in the 1970s and over 1,500 students have attended to date. The program had been offered at the Frecker Institute, a building leased from the Catholic Diocese of St-Pierre, but it is now offered at the Francoforum, the French Language Institute run by local government. The purpose of the program is to allow students to complete their required second-year courses in an immersion environment. While in St-Pierre students take five required French courses: two intermediate French writing courses, phonetics, francophone culture and grammar and reading. Students commit to speak only in French with each other and their host family.

“The students get the opportunity to live fully in French for 13 weeks: going to the gym, cultural events, visiting classrooms in local schools, excursions, playing sports with local French teams, singing French songs and the list goes on,” added Ms. Jordaan.

When asked about the sudden increased interest in the program, Ms. Jordaan suggested heightened visibility. “I do promotional visits to classrooms to let students know about the program and answer any questions. Also, the vast majority of participants are delighted with their semester and so, word of mouth certainly comes into play.”

Funding for the program comes from the provincial government and originates from Canadian Heritage. The funding takes the form of bursaries, each worth $1,850, which are awarded to the program on behalf of each accepted student. Interested students can consult the Web site or contact Ms. Jordaan directly by e-mail at or the department of French at 737-7636.

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For further information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, 737-8665, cell 687-9433 or


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