Discover Toronto’s first French university
Like many of her student peers, Diandra Tchoupou chose to attend Université de l’Ontario français (UOF) because she wanted to learn in French in an English environment. Located in downtown Toronto, the campus offers a rich linguistic experience for students who want the best of both worlds—a world-class university education taught in French against the backdrop of a cosmopolitan city to sharpen their English.
“I decided to enrol at UOF primarily because of the geographical location,” says Tchoupou, who hails from Cameroon. “I was raised in a bilingual family and studied in English up to the post-secondary level, but I wanted to improve my French language skills through the francophone system. The university offers me a great experience to do that.”
Meeting the demand
The province of Ontario has the largest francophone population in Canada outside of Quebec. As Toronto’s first French-language university, UOF helps meet the demand for French language education beyond grade 12.
“It’s important for students to have the option to keep studying French at the university level,” says UOF President Pierre Ouellette. “We answer that call for those students with the programs they’re looking for.”
Preparing students for the 21st century is central to the university’s mandate and was a key factor in designing its programs. Four honours bachelor of social science (HBA) programs are offered for 2023: Digital Cultures, Urban Environments, Economy and Social Innovation, and Human Plurality. A part-time and full-time bachelor of education program is also available for students.
As a small university with a tight-knit community, students can get the support they need to excel academically. “I decided to study at UOF because of its transdisciplinary programs and teaching approach to put the student at the heart of the curriculum,” says first-year Digital Cultures student Nathalie Kuesso Keho Nimpa. “In addition to the beautiful campus, I appreciate the relationship between teacher and student at UOF. The professors follow along in your learning process and help you to conquer your shortcomings.”
Addressing today’s workforce
Tchoupou is enrolled in the Economy and Social Innovation program, works part-time on campus and still finds time for extracurricular involvement to enrich her student experience. “Working at the library has improved my communication skills,” says Tchoupou. “I also tutor children in French in my free time and entered a contest this year called Délie ta Langue (Loosen your tongue).” The competition requires students to make a presentation on a French expression and link it to a social issue.
UOF’s programs prepare students for the competitive global workforce. Students armed with the knowledge to help address today’s pressing issues, combined with expert fluency in French and English, gain access to remarkable job prospects and potentially higher earnings. Bilingual employees in Ontario earned, on average, $10,000 more than those who spoke only English, according to the 2021 Census.
Since UOF opened, more Francophone students can pursue a world-class French language post-secondary education in one of the world’s most exciting cities. But for Kuesso Keho Nimpa, it extends beyond career prospects. It’s also about her love of the language.
“There is an aspect of pride in the French language. Helping to sustain it, or at least adding my contribution to the language, makes me happy.”
Université de l’Ontario français welcomes francophone students from around the world. Tours are available year-round to experience Toronto’s first French-language university located in the heart of downtown Toronto.