À vos marques, prêts, lisez!
Exciting opportunities for students at La Cité
La Cité Universitaire Francophone is the main hub for academic work, research, and services offered in French at the University of Regina (U of R) and across the province. Centered on Fransaskois (French Saskatchewan) culture, their mission is to fulfill the post-secondary education needs of Saskatchewan’s Francophones, regardless of their first language. The Carillon discussed the impacts and benefits of French language education with Chidi Igwe, Manager of Marketing and Communications at La Cité.
What opportunities are available to prospective students at La Cité?
There are a lot of opportunities here at La Cité for both domestic and international students. That includes the number of courses and programs that we offer. We have bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs in Francophone and Intercultural Studies. We also have certificate programs in French as a second language.
When students come here, they don’t only study French, but they also study other courses in French. We partner with other faculties to offer more options. In the Saskatchewan Nursing Program we have a bilingual option that allows students to do fifty percent of their program in English and fifty percent in French, and they get a bilingual degree in nursing.
Right now we also have the Law degree program, which offers students opportunities to do their first three years at La Cité and the second three years at the University of Ottawa. We offer that program in collaboration with the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. At the end of the six years, the student goes home with two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Francophone Intercultural Studies, and a Jurist Doctor degree in law. So, it’s a good way to create opportunities for bilingual people.
Right now, we are also working closely with the Faculty of Social Work at the U of R to create a degree in the social work program with a bilingual option.
How does La Cité support students when they come here?
In these programs, we have a huge amount of scholarship opportunities available. All the information can be found on our official website lacite.uregina.ca. There is a section on the website where there is information about the financial support and scholarships that students can take advantage of. Right now, in the bilingual nursing program, for example, we have an entrance scholarship of $10,000 which almost covers the first-year tuition fee for the student.
These kinds of opportunities are attractive, and La Cité seeks to help students who experience different economic situations. We offer academic opportunities, but also provide some level of support to ensure that students are succeeding in our programs.
Students with a background in French may also apply for transfer credit for their language courses. The French language placement test is used by La Cité to evaluate the level of French the student qualifies for transfer credit in.
What resources are available in the library, La Rotonde? Can students from outside La Cité access these resources, or is it reserved for La Cité students?
La Rotonde is a multipurpose environment. It serves as a library, as a reading space, and is equipped with presentation facilities, including projectors with large screens that can be used for different purposes. We call it “milieu de vie” because it serves a multi-purpose function. Community partners also use it, and students use it for various events.
In the library section, we have different resources including journals, comic books, and other resources in French. We have revision and computer facilities that students can use. We also have CDs and DVDs in French with English subtitles. We have a coffee machine where students can make free coffee.
We try to create an atmosphere, a francophone ambiance where students can feel at home and come any time and use the resources that we have to offer. Students can take advantage of all these things. The resources at La Rotonde are available to all university students, community partners, and members of the Fransaskois community who come in for activities that they hold in that space.
This year, the University of Regina [La Cité Universitaire Francophone] and Collège Mathieu are concluding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable the two institutions to work collaboratively to enhance and expand the range of post-secondary French education available in Saskatchewan. Can you give more details about this, and are there any specific opportunities that will result from this collaboration for U of R students?
La Cité has a mandate to offer bilingual course options for French-speaking people in Saskatchewan. We realize that we cannot operate as an isolate academic institution, and need to build partnerships if we are going to serve the community better. Collège Mathieu has a similar mandate. They are offering courses to a specific panel of students, and we are offering different university-level academic degree and non-degree courses. We hope to synergize and work with them so students can transition directly after they complete some courses at Collège Mathieu to La Cité, and we will work together to expand the options that are available to students.
The MOU is in collaboration with the French school division, so opportunities are expanded for students who are leaving high school, possibly going to Collège Mathieu, and then coming through to the U of R to provide continuity in their academic trajectory. Through that, we partner to provide more options to international students as well. It is not just for domestic Canadian students. It’s a framework that allows both institutions to sit together to figure out how we synergize to expand access to Saskatchewan post-secondary education and offer more opportunities.
What is your advice to students who wish to take French as an elective course?
I encourage all U of R students who need an elective course to consider a French elective at La Cité. We have FRN 100, FRN 101, and FRN 110, which are designed to serve as beginner-level French courses. You start from the very basics and the instructors understand that learning a new language is a challenging task. They are patient and willing to work closely with students as they progress.
FRN 110 is a combination of FRN 100 and FRN 101. So, during the summer semester, you get the option to earn six credit hours with this course.
We also have a tutoring system. Any student who is taking classes at the U of R has access to free hours of tutorial every week. If they need more hours, they can work with their academic advisors to get more hours.
With the incentives, options, and supports available at La Cité, French language learning is an opportunity for beginners and pros alike, whether it be a bachelor’s degree, a certificate program, or an elective course.