Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants?
Go somewhere you can be immersed. I did live in Gatineau with three Quebecois girls, and a Korean who couldn't speak French, the older woman couldn't speak English, but the common language among the girls was English, so we used it most often. They encouraged me to speak French, and we would go out in Hull sometimes, but because Ottawa is such a bilingual city, French people that heard me struggling with French automatically switched to English. Right now Im at University Laval, and I don't have that problem, I speak minimal English, mostly to people at home, and everything around me is French, it is was is expected in QC. Definitely more of an immersion aspect here.