Mastering French language skills can improve academic success and pave the way to a successful career in Quebec. Several programs – both on- and off-campus – are currently available to students, staff and faculty.
Concordia University’s innovative program, Oui Can Help!, is a centralized resource where undergraduate and graduate students can find out how to learn French on campus, join conversation groups and participate in French activities that allow them to discover Montreal.
Last fall, in collaboration with Quebec’s Secrétariat à la politique linguistique and Ministry of Education, Oui Can Help! launched a French-language bursary program for full-time international and out-of-province students wishing to take French courses.
“Last March, we awarded 50 bursaries, each worth $500 to international students, and 52 bursaries to out-of-province students,” says project coordinator Chanel Bourdon. “This year, we’re giving 150 bursaries to full-time international undergraduate and graduate students.”
Through its partnership with the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie, Oui Can Help! is also offering 18 bursaries to out-of-province students, to be awarded in March 2013. The application deadline for all bursaries is February 10, 2013.
Oui Can Help! also organizes hands-on activities. Bourdon recently led a French conversation group to a culinary event at l’Académie Culinaire. “Students prepared and cooked traditional Quebec meals while learning culinary lingo,” says Bourdon.
Faculty and staff who are immigrants can also benefit from Oui Can Help!. At the end of January, the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturel will offer free French courses on campus. Participants must be permanent residents of Quebec or Canada, Canadian citizens born outside of the country, or temporary workers currently possessing a certificat de sélection du Québec. Registration information is posted on the Oui Can Help! web page.
Language training opportunities offered through Concordia’s Graduate and Professional Skills Program (GradProSkills) are designed to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows become more marketable. Through its partnership with the School of Extended Learning, GradProSkills also offers professional training opportunities.
“It’s not just career-building; it’s skills training,” explains the director of GradProSkills, Laurie Lamoureux Scholes.
GradProSkills offers a range of language training programs that are accessible to all graduate students, even those who grew up in Quebec. Graduate student instructors who are TOEFL-certified (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or TESL-certified (Teaching English as a Second Language) lead eight French conversation groups, including four novice ones. The hour-long sessions take place twice a week for eight weeks, and are limited to 10 participants.
“Depending on the level they’re in, different themes are explored in each of the sessions,” says Lamoureux Scholes, adding that in the intermediate-to-advanced Explorons courses, students head out to experience various sites in the city.
GradProSkills also teams up with the Graduate Student Association to deliver intensive business French courses to students at the more advanced levels.
Registration for winter workshops will begin December 12 and is on a first-come-first-served basis. Courses are free to graduate students, as long as they attend 80 per cent of the classes; otherwise, they will be charged a non-attendance fee.