On Saturday, I got up early once again to go to university since I had to take the second part of my French as a second language exam: the oral exam.

The written part last week went well, also it was extremely boring and quite long. It started with an 400 words essay. It took me about 20 minutes to write it, but I had to sit around for the whole hour since I wasn’t allowed to leave. Then, we had the listening part and the reading part (both multiple choices questions). I hate multiple choice questions, I find them very ambiguous. Even as a native speaker, I had no idea which answer fitted best a couple of times. Anyway, I’ll get the result… in three months! That’s right. Apparently, correcting French exams is a very long process… maybe they send them to Paris?!

Once thing that annoyed me a lot was that the person supervising the exam (I’m not sure whether she was a TA or a teacher) explained the words in the test in English. I mean, this is a French language exam… if students don’t understand the questions in French, I don’t see the point. Plus, she couldn’t explain certain words in English, but she didn’t know what the French word actually meant! No kidding.

Anyway, my oral exam lasted exactly three minutes. It may have something to do with the fact I wrote in big bold letter “I am French !” in answer to the question “where did you learn French?” in the preliminary questionnaire. The examiner was a nice guy and admitted there was no point in testing me any further. Phew, thanks.

After the exam, I wandered around in the university, taking pictures.


Message Board
Message Board

Student Lounge
Student Lounge

Reading The Paper
Reading The Paper





No BBQ, We Told You!
No BBQ, We Told You!

Lonely Student
Lonely Student

Get the latest story, cultural shock and travel pictures right in your inbox

I don't spam, promise.

I literally don't have the time to write ten stories a day.

Visited 3 times, 1 visit(s) today


  1. Bluefish November 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

    How many students does U of Ottawa have?

    I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that you have to take a French test when you’re a native speaker. Concordia used to have English exit exam, which is also stupid because it is an ENGLISH University. I didn’t see the point of the test, but luckily they suspended this practice before I even bothered to sign up for the test.

  2. the writer November 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Brilliant pictures, like usual.

    I chuckled when I read one of your posts where you wrote about how you had to take French language exam just to prove that you speak French :))
    .-= the writer´s last blog ..Being back =-.

  3. Nigel Babu November 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I guess writing “I’m French” in big bold letters might have helped. Beautiful pictures. 🙂 One might actually feel like studying in this place 😛
    .-= Nigel Babu´s last blog ..Pushing 150 kg =-.

  4. Beth November 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Re: your oral exam – you finally encountered someone with some common sense!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Please and Thank You =-.

  5. shionge November 30, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Exams give me jitters all the time and yes, coming from France I don’t understand the need to take French exam papers 😉

  6. Tulsa Gentleman December 1, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I understand all the pictures except for the No BBQ sign. Just where is it prohibited to grill meat?
    .-= Tulsa Gentleman´s last blog ..The Road to Santa Fe =-.

  7. Linguist-in-Waiting December 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I guess Canadians just love barbecue that they have to be prohibited from doing it in campus? Anyway, I am glad that your oral exam tester was reasonable and didn’t hold you for longer. Sometimes, bureaucracy can be a pain, but unavoidable.
    .-= Linguist-in-Waiting´s last blog ..Book Review: Bernardo and the Virgin by Silvio Sirias =-.

  8. Sidney December 1, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I guess the examiner was afraid you would correct his French… 🙂

  9. Seraphine December 2, 2009 at 1:48 am

    je pense, therefore, i am french.
    it isn’t true. as you have learned,
    thinking is not required.

    you’d think, in a big university, that nobody would be lonely. that, too, isn’t true.

    j’adore tu.
    or is it: j’tadore?
    .-= Seraphine´s last blog ..Hungry for Love =-.

  10. Soleil December 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I love the story about your French exam. Sounds like something that would happen to an anglophone in France! I’m glad you got out of your oral, at least someone was being logical!

    What on earth is up with the no barbecue sign??!!
    .-= Soleil´s last blog ..Back to the Big House =-.

  11. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny December 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    haha! I’ve just landed on your page from blog carnival. How funny that you took an exam for French as a second language when you are French! I’m not even going to ask WHY! I love life and how confusing we make it for ourselves. Glad I found you. Hope you like my post submission for your next carnival. There really is a difference between British English and American English. And no, Canadian English is not a hybrid, but probably you can, at least, understand me. Translations are provided for the uninitiated. lol!
    .-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..Faith, a Two-Legged Dog, Walks Upright Like a Human =-.

  12. Zhu December 3, 2009 at 12:19 am

    @Bluefish – I believe it’s about 35,000 students in total. The test is also an easy way for the university to make money, since it costs the same as one class (around 600$).

    @the writer – I know, it’s so weird! 😆

    @Nigel Babu – Some buildings are falling apart, but some are very cool. Much nicer than my former university in France, for sure.

    @Beth – Took a while! 😆

    @shionge – It’s a stupid regulation… I just didn’t feel like arguing any longer. Now this is done at least.

    @Agnes – I hope I’ll pass! 😆

    @Tulsa Gentleman – This is the weird part: the sign is right in front of the library’s main entrance! Definitely not a place where I would BBQ…!

    @London Caller – 对,是必要的。有些人虽然在外国出生的但不会说那个国家的语言。



    @Linguist-in-Waiting – The whole process was a pain but I’m glad that finally, the uni. will understand that I can speak French.

    @Sidney – 😆 Maybe!

    @Seraphine – He was lonely because it was early on a Saturday morning. Students sleep on Saturday!

    @Soleil – The sign puzzled me for a long time… still does, actually. There are three or four signs like that close the the library’s main entrance – not a place where I’d think to have a BBQ anyway. But some idiot must have!

    @Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny – Don’t ask why! 😆 Long story, involving bureaucracy and some stubborn people 😆

    I haven’t received your submission… mmm… let me go check my email again, otherwise I’m sending you an email. I want to read it!

  13. Seb December 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I have a feeling that they outsourced the test grading to India 🙂
    .-= Seb´s last blog ..My Googles Arre Awesime. =-.

  14. Zhu December 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    @Seb – You know what… they may just do that! 😆

  15. Seraphine December 4, 2009 at 1:33 am

    lol. i like to sleep on saturdays too.
    well, i like the *option* to sleep.
    sometimes i get up early and do something but
    since its saturday, i should have first choice
    in what i want to do. 🙂
    .-= Seraphine´s last blog ..Shopping Days (Open to Negotiation) =-.

  16. aline December 9, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    wow. I’ve missed a lot when I was on hiatus. Read some of your previous blog entries to understand what is going on because I found it weird to read that you took the French as a second language exam. It is not easy to balance work and studies but I think that it’s great that you are studying again. Someone who is 26 years old is considered as a mature student? 26 and above? or even lower than that?
    I love that photo of the library. I’ve always been fascinated by libraries. 🙂
    All the best for your studies. 🙂

  17. Priyank December 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Oh the things we need to do due to bureaucracy! But the tour of your campus was very good! I enjoyed it. 🙂
    .-= Priyank´s last blog ..Three years in Toronto =-.

  18. Pingback: My University of Ottawa Experience – Winter Semester

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *