The University of Maine at Augusta is pleased to announce it will co-sponsor with the Maine Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French the annual French immersion weekend virtually on Jan. 14-15, 2022.  This year’s theme is “Intersections,” and participants will watch the newly released film Carrefour, “a new documentary sharing the unique story of New England’s French speakers, past and present.” The immersion weekend will celebrate the intersections of language, culture, and community in the Francophone community in Maine and in the broader Francophone world.

UMA Professor Chelsea Ray is the coordinator of this program, which is one of French at UMA’s signature events.  It is co-sponsored by the Maine chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. AATF Maine Chapter President Nathalie Gorey plays a key role on the planning committee. This is a continuation of a program begun by the Penobscot Bay Language School in Rockland in 1991, and an extension of the successful Le Français au Bord de la Mer and Le français dans les bois.

Last October, Le Français au Bord de la Mer was held virtually with over 50 participants of diverse backgrounds, a variety of locations, including Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and France, and varying levels of French. The entire immersion day took place on Zoom, with the same vitality and enthusiasm as previous in person immersion camping trips. The theme was “Le Français branché” (“French plugged in”) to emphasize that French is “plugged into” many cultures, many continents, and translates across virtual platforms.  

During the January 2022 immersion weekend, highly skilled and experienced volunteer instructors, many of whom are French teachers, as well as native-speaking exchange students attending UMA from l’Université de Bretagne in Brest, France, will lead online group activities. The highlight of Friday will be the viewing of Carrefour, followed by a group discussion. Saturday will be comprised of the daylong immersion, including the participation of renowned singer/performer Brice Kapel for a concert that crosses languages, cultures, and continents.

Additional details about the program are available on the French Immersion Day webpage.

This weekend event is open to intermediate and advanced speakers of French, whether they are high school students, college/university students, French teachers, or interested community members who are seeking the challenge of a 100 percent French-speaking environment. Participants must be able to speak French for the entire immersion experience.

To be eligible, high school students should have completed two years of French study or the equivalent and college students should have completed one year of French study or equivalent.

For additional information about the weekend and to register, please visit https://www.uma.edu/academics/programs/french/events/. This event usually fills quickly, so early registration is encouraged.