ORA Student Exchange Program

The ORA Student Exchange program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in one of the participating Ontario Universities. To participate in this program, students must:

  • be enrolled as a full time degree student in one of the participating Ontario universities;
  • have completed a minimum of 2 years of the recognized degree, have a high academic standing;
  • have sufficient language skills in French (unless they identify and chose a program fully taught in English);
  • and be willing to study abroad for a minimum of one term or a maximum of two terms as a non-degree student. It is important to note that the receiving institutions will determine admission and the length of stay; the sending institutions will determine the recognition of credits in fulfillment of degree requirements at home.

Students are nominated by their home university based on that institution’s selection processes and criteria. The prospective host university is responsible for deciding whether to admit students and at what level (graduate or undergraduate).

 It is understood that participating students:

  • will pay tuition at their home university and will be exempt from paying tuition at the host university. However, host universities may charge certain incidental administrative fees;
  • will be responsible for their expenses abroad, including travel, room and board, health and accident insurance, and other living expenses;
  • are responsible for all aspects — academic, legal, medical, etc. — of their participation in the program;
  • and are responsible for arranging any transfer of credits to their home university.

Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the universities listed on this page, in every field of studies, except dentistry and medicine, are eligible to apply.

To apply to the program, undergraduate students must be in at least second year of an undergraduate program, in good standing, with an average of B to B+. Graduate students should discuss their eligibility with their home university’s international office.

French Language Knowledge

Because the majority of the courses are in French, you need to be able to function in French. English speakers who attended an immersion program or have the equivalent of two years of university French will have no problem. You can, if you wish, take a summer course prior to the beginning of classes, which might even be credited in Ontario (ask your home university). All RA Universities offer a French course before school starts, that can vary from one to four weeks. In addition, you can enroll in courses in French as a foreign language (FLE) during your exchange year. ORA also offers a Summer Language Program in three locations: Saint-Étienne (CILEC), Lyon (CIEF) and Chambéry (ACCENTS).


Tuition fees are paid to your home university in Ontario. Travel costs to your host university in France and back (probably around $1,200). Living expenses in France: a minimum of $1,200 –  $1,500 per month. In France you have the possibility of working full-time during holidays and part-time while studying. Be aware of the exchange rate as it fluctuates.

In France post-secondary education is highly subsidized by the French government, even for international students: a full meal on campus is about $5.00, course kits are free of charge, basic health care is free, a portion (about 30%) of your rent will be refunded if you make the request in writing by completing the necessary forms. These are only a few examples of the many discounts to which you are entitled.

Program Length

Although we accept students for one semester we strongly recommend that undergraduates apply for a full academic year, if possible.

The school year is split into two semesters: in most universities, September to end of January for Fall semester, and February to end of May for second semester. Exams may be held in June.

Some schools start early September, others towards the end of September. It depends on your field of studies. Science and engineering universities tend to be the first to start. However, there are orientation sessions for international students and information sessions on courses prior to the beginning of classes that you must not miss. Also, if you decide to rent an apartment, keep in mind that the earlier you arrive, the better. Exams can end late May or some time in June, so to be on the safe side, you should plan on staying until the end of June.


You can choose to live in a student residence or a self-contained apartment or to share an apartment with other students.

More Information

Explore this web site, especially the information about the various programs at each partner institution, which can be found here.