between bilingualism and multiculturalism – La Rotonde


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Article written by Marina Touré – Head of the information desk

Bilingualism is a Canadian satisfaction, which is an integral a part of Canadian multiculturalism. The College of Ottawa (U of O) being the most important college bilingual world wide, the French immersion program is a part of this need to take care of bilingualism and encourage English-speaking college students to pursue their research in French.


The French Immersion program has existed for almost 16 years at U of O. It was born out of a need to face out from competing universities within the area and to permit English-speaking college students from secondary faculties that supplied an analogous program to proceed a part of their programs in French, explains Marc Gobeil, director of the French immersion program at U of O. In keeping with Gobeil, this system brings collectively almost 2,500 college students, or 7% of the English-speaking scholar inhabitants at U of O. Gobeil notices that there’s a new pattern within the immersion regime: increasingly worldwide college students are selecting this system.

Peter Noel, third-year biomedical science scholar at U of O and mentor of the immersion program, says it allowed him to mix his need to take care of his bilingualism whereas learning science within the language he he mastered finest. The benefit of the immersion regime is this chance to do at the very least a 3rd of your programs in French whereas taking the remainder in English, he continues.

Battle for bilingualism

The 2 audio system affirm that the French immersion system generally is a problem for college kids. Certainly, though they need to move a language take a look at in an effort to guarantee “that they and they’re going to come out in French”, the actual fact stays that they take programs designated for French-speaking college students, states Gobeil. It’s subsequently a selection that may be pricey for college kids by way of educational success. Nevertheless, this system director desires to be reassuring: there are a number of helps accessible for college kids, resembling scholarships, mentors and immersion programs that permit them to consolidate their understanding through the obligatory first-year programs.

These immersion programs aren’t necessary for college kids, however stay important as a foundation for persevering with research in French, provides Noel. Immersion college students will, for essentially the most half, take two of their programs in French every semester in an effort to meet the requirement of a minimal of 14 programs. It’s subsequently one of the best ways to assimilate the particular phrases of the completely different disciplines in French, he feedback.

In 16 years of existence, this system has welcomed almost 9,000 college students, who’ve registered for almost 8,000 programs supplied in French, informs Gobeil. In keeping with him, this program ensures that the number of programs in French be maintained on the U of O. “Fourth-year courses are sometimes small, it’s the enrollment of 4 or 5 immersion college students that ensures the provide,” he explains. In keeping with him, this can be a actuality in a number of fields of research on the U of O.

Noel, in his remarks, highlights that sure particular fields in Canada don’t permit or make it troublesome to review in French. Gobeil, who’s Franco-Manitoban, denounces the difficulties of learning in French within the scientific fields, whereas based on him it’s simpler within the social sciences. He doesn’t consider that the immersion regime generally is a answer to the decline of French within the province, it will moderately be a “complement to different options”.

From bilingualism to multiculturalism

Noel’s participation in this system uOGlobal is, based on him, some of the vital in his French immersion expertise. This system brings college students collectively on worldwide themes by workshops. He explains that one of many benefits of being bilingual “is having the ability to make higher cross-cultural connections”. With out his information of French, he would not suppose he would have been capable of meet so many different college students and pals.

This can be a pattern that’s more and more obvious within the numbers: Gobeil states that there are almost 400 college students enrolled in fall 2022, a inhabitants that has solely been growing for the previous 4 years. For him, it’s attention-grabbing to look at how college students, for whom French is their third or fourth language, select the U of O to take part within the immersion program. In keeping with Gobeil, that is proof that this system appears to change into a door to integration, for these college students, within the custom of Canadian multiculturalism.

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