In the present Global Village where borders are almost insignificant, mastering a new language becomes a precious and great advantage. There are several challenges international students face while adapting to a new culture. This is due to the change of environment, and as we know, change comes with the unknown. For example, loss of contact with family and friends; differences in moral values; class participation; conventional thought by the host country (discrimination); weather condition, problems of adaptation to mention just few.

University of Ilorin seeks to find tangible solutions to the language deficiencies experienced by the international body through a Linguistic Immersion Programme.

Situated right in the heart of the University, The Linguistic Immersion Centre of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria has been offering a range of English Immersion Programmes since 2008. The centre operates under the Faculty of Arts and offers educational training programmes to equip Francophones with the needed receptive and productive skills in the English Language.

Students from countries like the Republic of Benin, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Niger, Tchad and Togo have been enjoying the English Language programme.

The Linguistic Immersion Centre will start immersion programme in French, Arabic and Yoruba from Summer 2013. This particular programme will start from August to September.

Historical Background

At its 119th meeting held on Wednesday, 27th February, 2002, the Faculty Board of Arts deliberated on the need for an immersion programme in English for French speaking students. The head of Department of Modern European Languages was mandated to oversee the preparation of such a programme. It was mandated to oversee the preparation of such programme coordinator should be an expert in French Language.

On February 17, 2005, the Acting Head of English Department wrote a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor, through the Director of Academic Planning, which was attached to the document entitled “Senate Approved Immersion Programme in English for Francophone Students.” The following is an extract from the memorandum: 

The University Senate approved the above programme during its last meeting and directed that corrections pointed out by Prof. Bayo Lawal be effected. Sir, I am sending the corrected copy checked by Prof. Bayo Lawal. 

On August 11, 2008, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Is-aq Olanrewaju Oloyede, held a meeting with some principal officers of the University of Ilorin and announced the appointment of Dr. Baa Mensa of the Department of French as the Director of the programme. Dr. Baa Mensa worked with five academic staff in the persons of: Dr. Patrick O. Balogun (Dept.of English); Dr. Yunus O. Tijani (Dept. of French); Mr. Segun Oyelabi (Dept. of French) and Mrs. Afsat Sanni-Suleiman (Dept. of French).

For four years, the centre produced 100 students who are affiliated to their Departments of choice in the University of Ilorin. The first set of students graduated in October, 2012.

During the international students’day celebrations on the 8th June, 2012, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Is-aq Olanrewaju Oloyede announced the appointment of the new Director of the centre, Dr. (Mrs.) Ablavi Massavi Elisabeth Amegah-De Campos who assumed duty on the 15th of June, 2012.

New dispositions have been taken during a meeting held on the 29th August with the Dean of the Faculty of Arts to affiliate lecturers from English and Linguistics Departments based on the original plans and objectives of the immersion programme as approved by the Senate and signed by Dr. Charles Bodunde. The number of the academic staff will then be at least fifteen due to the huge number of students the Linguistic Immersion Centre admitted for this academic session 2012/2013.