It’s tough to get a leg up in this city without knowing both official languages.
Most English-only speakers know how frustrating it is to see “bilingual” among the top requirements on a job posting.
Fortunately, there are dozens of places offering group and private courses to people wanting to improve their French competency at any level.
At Alliance Francaise, they separate group classes in three different blocks — beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each of those blocks has four or five different levels.
Someone taking classes in the upper level of the intermediate block can expect to comfortably converse in French.
Students could sign up for two-week intensive courses, six-week semi-intensive courses, or regular term classes.
The six-hour per day intensive courses cover one level per week, so a highly motivated student could potentially go from zero to reasonably bilingual in around 10 weeks.
The Conseil Des Ecoles Catholiques du Centre-Est offers a variety of blended French language training courses that are conducted half in-class and half online.
“We have all the levels from a real beginner up to those who want to take a more advanced business course,” said Carole Lapointe, co-ordinator of the French as a second language program. “It will prepare people to be functional, that is, to carry on a conversation, while at the same time, it will prepare them to undergo a test for a job that requires bilingualism.”
La Cite Collegiale has French language programs geared specifically for people already in or trying to get in to the federal government.
These courses are also offered at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. A language proficiency test is used to determine what level a student would be at.
The 11- to 13-week courses each comprise around 65 hours of in-class time at each level.
The University of Ottawa’s Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute also offers a three-week intensive course in French over the summer for people at the intermediate level.
The course focuses on listening, speaking, reading and writing with emphasis on vocabulary development and improved grammar skills.
The 21 hours of in-class time each week includes work in language laboratories for oral practice. Optional socio-cultural activities are also offered.
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