Interview with Educational Tour Guide Marisol le Monnier

I recently had the opportunity to meet Quebec tour guide Marisol le Monnier during an education tour with Palmetto Scholars Academy, a North Charleston school part of the South Carolina Public Charter School District. Before embarking on a five-day trip with the students and teachers, Marisol was gracious enough to set aside some time to talk to me about her time spent working on school trips.


Rick: How about you start by simply introducing yourself?

Marisol: My name is Marisol le Monnier. I live in Montreal. I was born in the Gaspé Peninsula. I speak three languages. I’ve been with Prometour since 2010 and I’ve been a tour director since 2009 when I moved back to Canada.

You said you speak three languages. What languages do you speak?

I speak French, English, and Spanish fluently.

When the students travel to Quebec, do you speak French and/or Spanish to the students and teachers or do you primarily stick to English?

It depends on what the teachers want. Many teachers want us to speak French to the students so we try as often as we can. However, I find it best to give directions in English in order to make sure everyone clearly understands where we are going and what we will be doing. But yes, if I do have French or Spanish students, I speak those languages as well as English.


In all your years working as a tour director, what would you say is your most memorable experience?

My most memorable experience was my first time dogsledding. I was so sure I could handle the dogs but I didn’t anticipate how powerful these dogs are. They are masters. It was phenomenal to see how strong the dogs truly are and how fast they go. And of course, the kids love it!

What would you say is the most challenging part of the job?

Pleasing the teachers. The students always seem to be having fun but the teachers expect a balance between fun and learning so I would say the hardest thing about the job is finding that right balance and living up to the expectations of the teachers.

How detailed do you go into the history of Quebec?

Extremely detailed! I make sure they understand that we have two main cultures (French and English) and I go deep into the history of Quebec and how it came to be what it is today. I also speak heavily about our alliance with the United States and the history of the relationship between our two countries.

What would you say is the most popular activity for students when traveling to Québec?

Shopping (Laughs). No, in all honesty, the kids love the Québec Circus School in Québec City. It’s always a hit.

What would you say is the largest group you’ve ever had travel with you?

I would say two buses, each with about 42 students plus teachers.

I’m assuming you’ve traveled a lot. What is the best place you’ve visited and what is on your bucket list?

Disney World is the perfect vacation. Of all the places I’ve traveled to, Disney World is the best. Nothing goes wrong in Disney Word (laughs). It’s true. Regardless of what age you are, it is always a blast. As for my bucket list: Visiting Machu Picchu in Peru is at the top of my bucket list.

What else can you share about yourself that isn’t related to your job?

Everyone I meet knows I’m obsessed with my cat and everyone knows about my cat after each tour. Talking about my cat somehow makes its way into a conversation on each trip.

Do you ever keep in touch with the teachers you meet?

Always! Meeting new people from around the world is one of the perks of the jobs. I would say 98% of my connections on social media are all teachers I’ve met traveling.

Do you find that when teachers return to the same destination, they tend to stick to the same itinerary or do they like to experiment and try new things?

Usually, teachers will build an itinerary they are happy with and more often than not, they tend to stick to the same itinerary.

How is traveling and your job changed your perspective on life and the world around us?

Travelling opens your mind to different cultures and different philosophies on life. You have the opportunity to discover new food, new places, new people, new languages and so on. Basically, the interpersonal interaction with people makes it all worth it. We have a saying in French that can summarize my answer: Les voyages forment la Jeunesses.

What attracted you to work with Prometour?

In all honestly, Prometour really focuses on the educational aspect of the tours which I feel benefits the students as opposed to it being simply a vacation. I think that is what I appreciate the most about the company.

Thank you for your time.

You’re welcome.


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