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Discover Zone: The starting point for post-secondary education in French

Jean-François Faucher
Canadian Youth for French

2013-05-27

Until recently, finding the ideal option for using French in a post-secondary setting required a high degree of determination. The recently developed Discover Zone, however, promises to refine the process considerably for people who may be interested in learning or perfecting their French after high school. Developed by Canadian Youth for French (CYF), the Discover Zone is a one-stop-shop for finding post-secondary French language opportunities.

Modelled after dating sites which introduce the user to the woman or the man of their dreams, the Discover Zone introduces the user to the post- secondary opportunity in French of their dreams. "One of the main benefits is to have all of your dream opportunities laid out in front of you in less than five minutes," explained Justin Morrow, founder and Executive Director of CYF.

Over time, the team behind the Discover Zone found that young people looking to improve their French faced many roadblocks that tended to discourage them. The resulting desire to make information on French language opportunities more accessible and understandable led to the creation of the Discover Zone. Part of its mandate is to prevent young people from abandoning their search because information is available only in French or is unavailable on some search engines. "The idea is really to remove obstacles and make searching simple and effective."

While CYF is intended mainly for youth between the ages of 18 and 35, the Discover Zone has a broader scope. "It is open to everyone; it reaches a larger audience." The Discover Zone is designed to help Anglophones discover various post-secondary French language opportunities, and is also useful for Francophones wishing to pursue their studies in French. "The common denominator of the Discover Zone is a willingness to learn in French," added Mr. Morrow.

Using the Discover Zone to search for information not only saves time but also provides the added benefit of facilitating factors. For example, the Zone gives users the ability to compare the options so that they can identify which ones best meet their specific needs.

The various options suggested are based on user profile information and are tailored to searchers' needs. To get suggestions, users simply complete their profile, which includes the type of experience they want with regard to both the post-secondary institution and the environment outside of it. "At the individual level, the options suggested by the Discover Zone are actually based on people's preferences and interests."

It should be noted that grouping all the opportunities in the same place not only provides users with an overview of them, but also prevents opportunities they might not otherwise have been able to explore from slipping through their fingers. Services provided by CYF through the Discover Zone are free and intended to help as many people as possible.

Universities and colleges in Canada have made numerous efforts to diversify programs offered in French, but some of these services remain well-kept secrets. "The Discover Zone is also a useful tool for post-secondary institutions trying to reach the targeted clientele. The Discover Zone platform becomes a showcase for these institutions' various initiatives, thus facilitating the first contact between potential students and programs offered," added Mr. Morrow.

While young people committed to pursuing their post-secondary studies in French have always searched for suitable programs on an individual basis, their findings were not recorded. Thus, each person searching for the same type of information had to start all over again from scratch and follow the same process. "The Discover Zone allows users to save findings and makes searching easier for people interested in these types of opportunities," he explained.

The Discover Zone is currently available and contains over 140 opportunities, but will be in constant expansion over the coming months in order to contain all available options. By the fall, it will be possible to consult an expanded version of the Discover Zone, which continues to increase in size. In fact, the various opportunities will be divided into six different categories for easier searching. In this way, users will be able to find what they're looking for in sections devoted to universities, colleges, exchanges/forums, the community and employment, as well as in a section for individual activities, according to the type of experience they are looking for.

To explore the various options available, visit the Youth for French (www) English Hyperlink Noticewebsite.