Jerome, a student at Ottawa in Canada (part two)
Life in the university in Ottawa:
How is your student life in college?
There are two worlds, that of students who live “on-campus” and the students who live “off-campus”. Life on campus (after hours of study) often comes down to a big “party” a lot of alcohol, friends and good humor. Note the French students (or international) spend most of their time together. Since I live in Ontario and I am studying in Quebec, my student life is far less glamorous. I usually go to my classes and I go back to my other occupations, like the majority of Canadians and Quebecers.
How does your program and your course? What do you think?
Courses and programs of study in Canada offer great freedom of choice in terms of courses and in terms of schedule. I can make my own schedule (depending on the courses offered each quarter) and I can also customize my curriculum through “electives” which are compulsory, but can be choose according to our tastes and interests (including a bank of courses given).
At the conduct of the course, we soon saw that Canadians take their courses seriously and are very attentive during class. Discussion and exchange among students and teachers are an integral part of the course. Canadian students participate actively in progress. There is a also a close link between students and teachers, so they flirt with and are often called by their first names. The teachers are also very available and very easy to go meet them in person during office hours or contact them by phone or email.
How has your level of English? Difficult to understand in the beginning?
I arrived in Canada with some basic theoretical knowledge. I was not able to give time to someone in the street without having to think for 30 to 45 seconds. I spent the first 3 to 4 months listening more than talking, especially during my lecture courses. Fortunately, I could use in my ESL classes, with some international students and at home with my roommates English. I made every effort to immerse myself in the culture and practice English language up and my English has changed significantly thanks to this permanent immersion. Although I am currently studying in Quebec (the other side of the bridge), I attended few French outside of my classes and my school work group. I live in a relationship with a person speaking and my friends are mostly English or bilingual, so it is now my French a little starting to deteriorate.
Jerome’s life outside the university in Canada
And in housing? How you found? This is a room?
I moved a lot in Canada (approximately once a year). I shared two houses and two apartments with roommates and friends of Canadian English. I also just moved into my fifth home last month. Find a home in Canada is nothing difficult since many Canadians move which create a permanent working of the offer. I think I found my first home through an advertisement in a local newspaper, but there are plenty of other tools such as posters and placards in the street.
Canadian life outside the classroom?
Canada and Quebec have their own pace. Everything is great and everything is going relatively quickly, especially in large cities. The winters are long and cold while summers are short and hot. Must relearn everything, including basic things like getting dressed (for cold), shopping and communicating with others. It is extremely easy to break the ice and make friends in Canada, but it is a little harder to recreate a real social circle.
How did you find Ottawa?
Ottawa is a great North American city where nature is present. Although the City of Ottawa is the capital of Canada, it is not as dynamic as cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. However, Ottawa is an excellent compromise between the advantages of the city and those of the country. In addition, Ottawa has a huge advantage: the “bilingualism”. The city lies on the border between Ontario and Quebec so that you can hear French, although English is the majority language.
Your personal opinion about your experience?
My experience has allowed me to think about many issues and see things from a new angle. It is sometimes difficult to be away from his family and friends, but I do not regret my departure. My experience is a great opportunity that was given to me and I encourage young French from their own live adventure in Canada or elsewhere with the different mobility programs implemented by youth many embassies.