Long-standing partnership supports Rhône-Alpes exchanges
Queen’s students wanting to attend a French university have benefitted from the Ontario-Rhône-Alpes (ORA) Student Exchange Program for the past 20 years.
“The ORA program provides a unique level of support to students and administrators. The program directors are familiar with all aspects of the program and guide students through the process of studying abroad,” says Laura Esford, student exchange coordinator in the Faculty of Arts and Science’s International Program Office (IPO).
Five to seven Queen’s students typically go on an ORA exchange every year with approximately the same number of French students attending Queen’s. ORA exchanges are open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Fifteen Ontario universities and 12 institutions from the Rhône-Alpes region of France participate in the program.
“The exchange allowed me to immerse myself in French culture and speak French on a daily basis with native speakers, thereby improving my own grasp of the language. The year abroad was a major chapter in my life in terms of self-discovery and becoming an adult,” says Victoria Sengluang, Artsci’12, who studied in Lyon, France, from September 2010 to June 2011.
ORA exchange students benefit from an orientation session where they can learn more about the exchange and speak with students who have previously studied in France. Students who require financial assistance can apply for Ontario International Education Opportunity Scholarships.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the program, a delegation of 20 officials from the Rhône-Alpes institutions recently visited several Ontario universities including Queen’s.
“The ORA is a very important component of Queen’s international exchange program,” says John Dixon, Vice-Provost (International). “The students we have hosted from the participating universities of the Rhône-Alpes region have enhanced the quality of the undergraduate experience for their Queen’s classmates and professors, and our French colleagues tell us that Queen’s students make many positive contributions to the student experience on their campuses.”
ORA is one of four exchange programs in the Ontario Universities International (OUI) organization. Through OUI, Queen’s and other Ontario universities maintain region-to-region partnerships with networks of universities in Jiangsu province in China, the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, the states of Maharashtra and Goa in India, as well as the Rhône-Alpes region.
Visit the IPO website for more information about the ORA program.