Vol. 51 No. 4 (2021)

Sense of Belonging and Social Climate in an Official Language Minority Post-Secondary Setting

Danielle de Moissac
Université de Saint-Boniface

Published 2021-12-21


  • post-secondary,
  • sense of belonging,
  • social climate,
  • official language linguistic minority,
  • language insecurity

How to Cite

Penner, K., de Moissac, D., Rocque, R. ., Giasson, F., Prada, K., & Brochu, P. (2021). Sense of Belonging and Social Climate in an Official Language Minority Post-Secondary Setting. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 51(4), 26–39. https://doi.org/10.47678/cjhe.v51i4.189087


Perceived sense of belonging and positive social climate on campus are crucial elements for post-secondary students, as they contribute to academic achievement, positive mental health, and help-seeking. Few studies have explored post-secondary students’ sense of belonging and perceptions of social climate in an official language minority campus, which attract Canadian-born francophones, anglophones who pursue higher education in their second language, and francophone international students. With declining student mental health and greater ethnolinguistic diversity of post-secondary students on Canadian campuses, this important study aims to explore francophone students’ perceived sense of belonging and social climate on campus. In total, 35 students from different ethnolinguistic backgrounds took part in focus groups or individual interviews. Domestic students with French as their first language more often reported positive social climate on campus and a sense of belonging, in contrast to international students and students with French as a second language. A common obstacle to connecting with others was language insecurity in one of the official languages, as both are currently used on campus. Universities hosting students of multiple linguistic diversities should provide courses and campus events to stimulate intercultural knowledge and dialogue.


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