CMEC's Language Learning and Exchange Programs were created to encourage individuals to learn both of Canada's official languages and to discover the rich cultures associated with these languages through extensive contact with their linguistic and cultural environments.
The Department of Canadian Heritage provides funding for these programs, the provinces and territories are responsible for their administration in the respective jurisdictions, and CMEC coordinates the programs at the pan-Canadian level.
Language Learning Programs
CMEC offers two bursary programs to provide students with an opportunity to study outside of their home region and to meet others who are engaged in improving their first or second language capacity. Bursaries to cover the costs of programs are paid directly to the institution in which the student is enrolled.
- Explore offers five weeks of classes, activities, encounters, and experience in the students' second language and in a new region of the country, so that both fluency in and appreciation of the use of the language within its relevant culture can expand. Explore is open for both French and English second language learners.
- Destination Clic provides three weeks for grade 8 and 9 students of new opportunities to learn, to meet new people, to explore another region of Canada, and to become more fluent in French as a first language. Destination Clic is for French first-language students who live outside Quebec.
Language Exchange Programs
CMEC offers a program in which language assistants, having French or English as their first language, are assigned to elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions in another region of the country. They work with second-language teachers to provide students with the opportunity to interact with a native speaker and be introduced to the use of the language in daily life and its relation to its culture. In addition, some francophone language assistants are placed in French-language educational institutions in regions where francophones are in the minority. Students in these institutions benefit by having the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of and experience with their own first language.
- Odyssey offers language assistants full-time work in a different region of country, as they use their first language to make that language more alive and culturally vibrant for second-language students. English first-language speakers find themselves in French-language communities and French first-language speakers may be in English communities or working with francophones in minority settings. Leading classroom language activities, whether in an elementary, secondary, or postsecondary institution, language assistants work for 25 hours a week from the beginning of September to the end of May, earning a salary and exploring the regional diversity of Canada.