Living fully in French

Campus Saint-Jean grad Lisa Mallory’s academic interest became a passion that sparked a humanitarian commitment.


(Edmonton) Where do you go when you are coming out of an immersion program in high school and you have decided to live fully in French? For Lisa Mallory, the choice was clear.

In the fall of 2009, Mallory decided to move from Calgary to Edmonton to continue her studies at the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean.

“I’m convinced that this university experience would not have been possible without the Résidence Saint-Jean, located on the grounds of Campus Saint-Jean, in the heart of the Francophone Quarter,” says Mallory, who receives her bachelor of education degree June 10. “I have had some of the most wonderful and unforgettable experiences in the three years I spent at the Résidence and I am grateful for this.”

For Mallory, living in French has quickly become more than just an academic interest; it is now a passion she can pursue not only at the residence or at CSJ, but also around the vicinity as French is the language of the neighbourhood. “You cannot walk on rue Marie-Anne-Gaboury without hearing people speak French,” she points out.

On the same street is La Cité francophone, a community centre occupied by many francophone organizations providing services to Alberta’s French-speaking population—which numbers 238,000 according to the latest national census. “I am proud to be one of them,” says Mallory.

Mallory says several professors had a significant impact on her academic experience, but one person stands out from the rest: Alyre Morin. “Prior to beginning my post-secondary studies at CSJ, I had the good fortune to meet him. His passion for education and his profession convinced me to register in a bachelor of education program,” she notes.

Exploring culture: From Quebec to Kenya

She credits Morin with leaving a lasting impact on her experience because he encouraged her to participate in two projects: Explore La Pocatière and Projet Kenya.

“In the summer of 2012, I travelled to La Pocatière, Quebec, along with Alyre and five other students from CSJ. During this unforgettable five-week program, I took an education course and improved my French. This experience was one of the highlights of my training,” she says.

Morin also remembers this time. “Lisa is a committed student and she knows how to bring people together. She found ways to make a very theoretical subject more interesting for students. Her commitment and desire to learn were contagious.”

According to Morin, Mallory “was like a little chameleon. Whatever the flavour of the day was, Lisa was able to adapt.”

In the spring of 2013, Morin, Mallory and some of her classmates had the opportunity to travel to Eor Ewuaso, Kenya, to participate in a three-week practicum in a rural school and in a humanitarian project aimed at building a school. “Lisa was 110 per cent committed to this project in order to get the most out of this experience,” Morin explains, adding that the experience “inspired Lisa to volunteer abroad.”

This year, Mallory continued her humanitarian commitment. “Through the Play Around the World program of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, I spent some time as a volunteer in Cambodia,” she says.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Alyre Morin for this passion I have to dedicate my time to various opportunities. It is thanks to him that I developed a love for education, French language and intercultural exchange, all through programs offered by Campus Saint-Jean.”