Gregory Charles behind online tool designed to help new Quebecers integrate
Published Monday, June 10, 2019 5:29PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 10, 2019 7:09PM EDT
An online program is aiming to help new arrivals to Quebec better integrate into the culture and society.
‘Je suis quebecois’ is the brainchild of popular Quebec personality Gregory Charles.
With a Trinidadian father who came to Montreal in the '60s, Charles’s father also helped immigrants integrate to Quebec culture. He served as the star’s role model for the project.
“When he passed away last year, I thought, 'What could I do to further his interests and his preoccupations?'” said Charles.
Charles unveiled ideas for a program to help new Quebecers last December. Now in the beta testing phase, in about ten minutes per day, ‘Je suis quebecois’ can teach users about Quebec institutions and language through short documentaries.
Some of the lessons are done through music, naturally.
“It worked for my mom – who learned in the dead of Quebec, in Drummondville – who learned English by listening to Nat King Cole, and to Brook Benton, and to Frank Sinatra. So it worked for her, and it worked for my dad who came here in the 60s and learned Gilbert Becaud, and Charles Aznavour, and Robert Charlevoix, and Jean-Pierre Ferland,” said Charles.
Feedback has been positive, according to Tania Longpre, a French teacher for immigrants in Terrebonne whose students have used the program.
“Coming to Quebec, it's not just about learning a language. They have to learn and culture and other stuff. We have books, we have grammar things, we have dictionaries, but we don't have this kind of stuff,” she said.
Charles hopes to have ‘Je suis quebecois’ up and running by the end of the year.