Bonjour chers amis / chères amies!


A coffee mug next to a laptop. On the screen a Zoom conference is displayed. Return to this page often for updates and information about the upcoming immersion day.

We plan to take our beloved tradition of the immersion weekend online this year! Due to concerns about COVID-19, French at UMA and AATF-Maine have decided to offer an online immersion day.

You can attend from home.

It will take place on Saturday, October 24th from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. with an optional concert or other activity in the evening.

We would love your participation! The entire event will take place on the video conference software Zoom, which is free to download. There will be breaks and interactive activities to help break up the day! Click here for descriptions of the workshops.

We aim to keep all the elements we loved from the past immersion experiences, but in a virtual format. You will rank your choices for workshops a week in advance (intermediate, advanced, or activities for “tout le monde”) and have your schedule sent to you with all relevant handouts and links. There will be a Zoom training session a week before the event so that you can test out your technology and be all ready to go!

French Immersion Group Photo 2019
Group photo from “Le Français au Bord de la Mer,” French Immersion Weekend 2019 at Blueberry Cove Camp.

Immersion Weekend Logo

This program was featured in the national AATF newsletter.

Thème de l’année pour la journée d’immersion: Le Français Branché!

Our theme this year is “Le français branché” (literally: French plugged in!) as we branch out to learn new technologies, meet people from other cultures and backgrounds, and continue to build our knowledge of the Francophone world!

Activities

We are designing a fun, interactive, and enjoyable day to help you take your French speaking skills to the next level. Immersion is great because it gives us time to absorb more language and encourages us to find new ways to communicate with the tools and vocabulary that we have used in the past. It also helps you to expand beyond your current knowledge.

We plan to offer a variety of workshops, such as talks focused on the French-speaking world, puppets, traditional Quebecois songs, theater, knitting, dance, and more! We hope to have some special visitors from France, Quebec, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You will know which workshops you are signed up for in advance and will be told which materials (if any) you will need to use from home.

At the beginning of each workshop, you may be paired with another student in a “break out room” where the two of you will have questions to ask each other. This allows for informal speaking time to encourage you without the pressure of speaking in front of a large group.

To see the kinds of activities we did last year as well as photos, see this recap of last year’s weekend at Blueberry Cove.


Registration Information

There are two registration windows.

  • The first registration window is for Maine residents only. This window is from the start of registration until September 15th.
  • After September 15th, residents from other locations can sign up if there are any remaining spots. We appreciate your understanding!

Note: There is a two-step process for registration. First, please fill out the google form to register. Next, go to the online store to make your payment. YOU ARE NOT GUARANTEED A SPOT UNTIL YOU COMPLETE BOTH STEPS.

Registration for this event is closed. Hope to see you next year!

Eligibility

For our in-person immersion weekends, our target audience is primarily teachers, students, and community members in our local cities of Maine. This is in line with UMA’s mission as a public institution serving Maine communities. We want to continue to serve that audience online this year as a bridge to our event next year on-site.

Cost

Registration cost is $75 for part- and full-time students and $105 for community members. If you cancel your registration before September 15th, you get a 50% refund. Cancellations after September 15th will not receive a refund.

See the FAQ section below for information on available scholarship opportunities.

We expect to fill this year as we have in years past. Once we do, there will be a waitlist posted here rather than the registration form. You will be able to register for the waitlist and will be asked to pay once a spot opens up.


Frequenty Asked Questions

During the immersion weekend, highly skilled and experienced volunteer instructors (many of whom are French teachers) will lead group activities and workshops. You will have the choice of either intermediate or advanced activities.

We’ve thought of everything! You will have 15-minute breaks between workshops to refresh, stretch, get up, get a glass of water, etc. In addition, the lunch with break out rooms is optional, in case you wish to take a longer break. Our expert instructors will keep the workshop interactive and include some movement, etc. whenever possible. This will help keep you going!

If you wish, we encourage you to have a French-speaking friend at your home location who is also participating in the immersion day. That way, you can still interact in French during the breaks and downtime.

The day ends around 5:00 p.m. with dinner on your own, and an optional concert or other activity in the evening. You can see how you are feeling.

We are designing the day to be an enjoyable opportunity to become more comfortable with your speaking skills and to get to know other French speakers. It is a chance to get to know the varied Francophone cultures around the world. We think you will find that the day will go fast!

You will need a computer or a Smartphone with a camera to participate. You will be broken into small groups throughout the day, and it is important for your partner or small group to see who they are talking with.

We recommend attending via computer, as the screen is much larger, and the instructor may be sharing materials on the screen during the workshop. Using a phone may make it too small to see the French words and you won’t get as much out of the experience. You also only see one person at a time on the smaller screen and it can be harder to get a full sense of the group.

UMA will have a dedicated tech support line from 7:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on the day of the immersion to help you if you encounter any difficulties. You can reach this person via chat, email, phone or Zoom. In addition, we plan to do a “tech test” a week before to troubleshoot any problems. That way, you can start the day with confidence.

This 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% French-speaking environment.

We only speak French throughout the day, so you will need enough French to participate. This does not mean that your French must be perfect, however! There will be handouts, supports, and visual aids to help you along. The workshop leaders are experienced teachers and can guide you through and facilitate understanding and communication.

High school students should have completed two years of French study or equivalent and college students should have completed one year of French study or equivalent.

We welcome French from around the world and we encourage people who have grown up speaking French or have learned it outside the classroom to attend as well! There are many variations, and we celebrate each one, as they make the language richer. If you grew up speaking French but did not formally study it, we hope you will join us to reawaken your French! We extend an especially warm welcome to local Franco-American participants, as well as to new Mainers from around the world who speak French and wish to continue!

If you are not sure if your level of French is appropriate for the weekend, please contact Chelsea Ray at chelsea.d.ray@maine.edu.

Yes, French teachers are welcome to attend, either alone or with their students. There will be CEUs available. Please check the box to indicate that you wish to receive CEUs when you fill out the Immersion Day registration form. Please include payment for CEUs when you pay for your spot in the online store. It is $15 and you will see a separate CEU item to add to your cart.

Yes, there are a number of scholarships available.

French at UMA offers:

  • 2 scholarships for UMA students to attend. Email chelsea.d.ray@maine.edu a paragraph asking for a scholarship. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
  • 2 scholarships to French-speaking residents at Hope House in Portland to support this important work in the community. For more information on this organization, see https://hopeacts.org/.
  • 1 community scholarship to an individual in the community who cannot afford to attend. Email chelsea.d.ray@maine.edu a paragraph asking for a scholarship. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

AATF-Maine offers 3 scholarships: 1 for a French teacher and 2 for high school students.

Yes, you can either do the day as a stand-alone experience or take FRE 202 at UMA for college credit. This course counts towards the French minor at UMA as well as towards UMA’s French certificate (for dual enrollment students and non-matriculated students).

You will need to pay for this course as well as pay the registration fee for the weekend. You can sign up by calling the Enrollment Services Center at 207-621-3185 or the Registrar’s Office at 207-621-3079 for assistance.

If you have questions, contact chelsea.d.ray@maine.edu.

More information on FRE 202 »

Event Staff and Sponsors

Julia and Chelsea
Julia Schulz and Chelsea Ray.

For the past two years, Julia Schulz and Professor Chelsea Ray have acted as co-coordinators for the immersion weekend. In 2018, a one-day immersion was held on the UMA campus. In 2019, the event was moved back to the full weekend format at Blueberry Cove. This year, Professor Ray is sole coordinator as Julia Schulz has stepped back to work on other projects in her role as Co-Director of the non-profit organization Speaking Place.

As Co-Founder and President of the Penobscot Language School, Schulz was the heart and soul of this event for many years, and we pay tribute to her contribution, along with that of the Penobscot Language School, by featuring her biography. We also have provided a brief history of how the immersion weekend came to be.

Scholarship sponsors for the weekend include the French at UMA, University of Maine, and the Maine Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. A Small Grant from the National AATF is helping to support the weekend as well.

 Follow “Le Français au Bord de la Mer” on Facebook.

Donate to French at UMA!

By donating to French at UMA, you are supporting this kind of French language programming and help ensure that future students receive scholarships to the immersion weekend and other events. MERCI BEAUCOUP!

Please donate to our French Cultural Gifts here.