Intercultural studies 

ANG 160 Fall 2005

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Foreign students at Univ. de Sherbrooke

by Marie-Claude Dubé

Foreign Students on the Campus of the Université de Sherbrooke

              More and more people are beginning to be open-minded towards other cultures. People can see various cultures in their country. This is also true if people take a look at students on the campus of the Université de Sherbrooke. Near the American border and situated in Estrie, that is where Sherbrooke can be found. International students can come to study in French language at Université de Sherbrooke. For nearly 25 years, this university has welcomed foreign students. 80% of students of the university come from another town or another country. For many reasons, all these students are in the same situation, but sometimes the adaptation of foreign students can be difficult. On the campus, people can often see that Black people tend to develop friendship with other Black people. It is the same thing for people who come from France or another specific country. They try to find people who come from the same country as them because they want to be understood and to feel more comfortable. Most of the students are far away from their family and from their friends with whom they used to spend time. There are people and organizations that are put in place to help foreign students for an easier integration.

 

            Like other students, foreign students can go to human resources service and ask someone to help them1 . People who work at the human resources service can help foreign students in the process of finding a job. Before finding a job, foreign students have to make sure they get their social insurance number. If they do not have one, someone at human resource service can help them with this process. Immigration Canada had made some rules to restrict foreign students on the job market. On the campus of the Université de Sherbrooke, foreign students are not penalized for this; they have job offers.

 

            For educational activities, foreign students are not discriminated against. They do not have to pay fees for this. For admission to Université de Sherbrooke, it is a little bit different2. For some foreign students the admission fees are more expensive than for Quebeckers. Usually, foreign students pay 4000$ per semester, but there are some exceptions. Some foreign students pay the same amount as Quebeckers, which is 1000$ per semester3. Why is it less expensive for some? The reason is because the Quebec government has made cooperative understandings with some countries. For example, Germany, Algeria, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Mexico, Niger, Peru, Vietnam, and many others. So, these students benefit from an exemption from school charges.

 

            What about insurance? Of course, when people study in another country, insurance is not necessary like in their country. At the Université de Sherbrooke, foreign students are registered to a special state health-insurance and hospitalization plan automatically3.

 

            If foreign students feel that they are a victim of any kind of injustice or if they just need some advice, they can go to the students rights protection office; someone will help them. If they need money, they can get information about financial bursaries and then they can fill in an application form. To help to create and to develop intercultural relationships, the Centre international has been founded. There, students exchange plans and training courses to other countries. Through many different activities, people can speak and establish contact with each other. Foreign students can be helped by someone to go do groceries, to visit the town, to take the bus, and many other things.

 

            There are so many nationalities living together on the campus of the Université de Sherbrooke. I am living in residence this semester and I really like this experience. According to me, living in residence on the campus is a good way to be well-adapted. Many different cultures live in residence. People in residence are closer to each other and living in residence facilitates meeting people and developing friendships rapidly. People can compare life in residence to the movie ²L’auberge espagnole²4. In this movie, the main character goes to Barcelona to study. He finds an apartment where he lives with people from different cultures. The fact that they are from different countries and have different backgrounds gives a special atmosphere. They learn to live together and they also learn to understand each other’s culture. They all have a different mother tongue, so they have to communicate in English. In residence, it is almost the same thing. The differences are that in the movie they live in an apartment, so it is smaller than residence, and there are more people of different nationalities. It is strongly recommended to foreign students to live in residence for their first semester. It is easier to make contact with people. That a variety of people who live in residence is a good way to be understood and to adapt because almost everybody is in the same situation. Meeting other cultures permits us to be more open-minded. People who live in residence learn to deal with living in community, but a multicultural community.

 

            Obviously, it is not easy for foreign students to study in another country because there are several things they have to learn to deal with.

 

Bibliography

 

1. ²Service à la vie étudiante.² Université de Sherbrooke. 2005. (18 Oct. 2005)

            http://www.usherbrooke.ca/srh/personnel/etuetran

2. ²Exemption des droits de scolarité supplémentaires (Programme québécois de soutien aux étudiantes et étudiants étrangers).² Université de Sherbrooke. 2005. (18 Oct. 2005)

            http://www.usherbrooke.ca/sve/internationaux/aide_fin/exemption_etr.html

3. ²Coût des études.² Université de Sherbrooke. 2005. (18 Oct. 2005)

            http://www.usherbrooke.ca/admission/frais/et_etr.html

4. L’auberge espagnole. Dir. Cédric Klapisch. Christal Films, 2001.