By Sarah Androsoff, Marketing Services
If optimism was a person, it would be Philippe Provencher. He goes with the flow of life and believes everything works out as it’s supposed to. While growing up in Sherbrooke, Quebec, he was curious about what else Canada had to offer. "In my high school geography class, I dreamt about seeing the Rocky Mountains and exploring British Columbia," says Philippe. "I wanted to experience other cultures and improve my English." At the age of 17, he realized his dream and hitchhiked across Canada solo to see British Columbia with his own eyes.
As Philippe made his way across Canada, he gained many new experiences throughout his various jobs. He picked cherries in the Okanagan Valley orchards and worked as a bellman at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta. His passion and curiosity for exploring other places and cultures also found him living in Australia for a year and working in Europe. Philippe fondly describes his time picking grapes in France for the wine industry and how he herded cows up a mountain in Switzerland. "Whenever there was a thunderstorm, the cows would scatter around and become very aggressive. It was impossible to get them back," Philippe laughs.
"Learning new things is good for your brain. It keeps you healthy and happy."
After an abundance of worldwide explorations, he returned to Quebec in 2002 for school. He received his Bachelor in Education from the University of Sherbrooke and then got a job teaching at a secondary school. However, after having two daughters with his wife, his desire for a change in environment returned. Philippe wanted his kids to experience new languages and cultural immersion. To do this, he bought a 28-foot-long RV, drove across Canada and moved to Victoria, BC. The RV has remained in the family ever since for camping and adventures through Canada and the United States.
Philippe continued his passion for teaching at École Victor-Brodeur in Victoria, a French K-12 school in 2018. Then in 2019, Philippe started working as a language program coordinator with Continuing Studies at UVic. With his teaching experience and love for growing the interest in language immersion, this position was the perfect fit. One of his favourite projects was creating the French Immersion Teacher Mentorship (FITM) program, which connects experienced immersion teachers with newer teachers to help strengthen their instruction strategies and professional development. "I really enjoy working with new teachers who are studying in the profession and guiding them through the different programs," explains Philippe. "There's a great flexibility in Continuing Studies to develop programs based on student feedback."
In addition to working, he is also keeping his brain sharp by partaking in extra studies. He is currently finishing up his Master of Education in Leadership Studies at UVic and hopes to graduate in April of 2024. "Learning new things is good for your brain. It keeps you healthy and happy," says Philippe. A fond fascination in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts also has him wanting to learn Chinese one day. Who knows what Philippe’s next big adventure will be, but there’s a good chance he is currently daydreaming about becoming fluent and booking a flight to China.