International Languages and Student Exchange Programs

International Languages Program

International Language courses (Arabic, Cantonese, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Somali) are offered in some regular OCDSB secondary schools. The Continuing Education Department runs the majority of credit courses in third languages on Saturday mornings at Glebe Collegiate Institute.

For the new school year, programs are offered in: Arabic, Cantonese, Croatian, Dari, Finnish, German, Hindi, Japanese, Modern Greek, Pashto, Persian, Serbian, Simplified Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tamazight, Tamil, Thai, Traditional Mandarin, Urdu and Vietnamese. For information on these and other languages, please contact the International Languages Program at 613-239-2703, or school guidance departments, and see the OCDSB's Learning for Life magazine, or the Continuing Education website -

Programs for elementary students and adults are also available. Current graduation requirements recognize at least one credit in a third language. Students learning a new language benefit from improved communication skills, intercultural understanding and a global perspective that will enhance career opportunities. Students of International Languages may also wish to find out information about student exchange programs provided in the Additional Credit Opportunities section of this website.

Student Exchange Programs

The OCDSB supports international education opportunities for our students. Some schools have programs in place that provide students with global learning opportunities; however all students are welcome to participate in individual student exchange programs offered by a recognized provider in their Grade 10 or 11 academic year. Students wishing to be part of an exchange program, usually for a two or three-month period, need to apply by February for the following year's exchange. Look for information from November through January in school Guidance or language departments or on the OCENET (Ottawa-Carleton Education Network) website for international projects and exchanges - Participating students must be achieving academic success and be willing to enhance their linguistic skills and experience another culture. The principal's recommendation is necessary.

How does the exchange program usually work? Students attend the host school and participate in all related activities. Canadian parents must agree to host the matched foreign student in their home for the first part of the exchange which is usually in the fall term. In return, the parents of the foreign student will host the Canadian student in their home during the second part of the exchange which usually takes place in early spring. Students are encouraged to speak with Guidance departments well in advance regarding their course selections if they are interested in pursuing an exchange program.

It is also beneficial and advisable for students to consider taking courses in the language of the exchange destination, although in some cases this is not mandatory. Credit courses in International Languages are available in most high schools with a wider variety offered through Continuing Education's International Languages Program (613-239-2703).

For information on exchange organizations recognized by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, please contact Sean Oussoren at the Ottawa-Carleton Education Network at 613-239-0314, Ext. 2108  or by e-mail

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