The International House concept was first developed in April 1990. The service was designed to respond to the cultural, social, academic, and economic needs of foreign and international students and the general student population at the University of Ottawa.
The International House has been functioning as a Student Federation service since April 1997. It is one of the official services offered by the SFUO. In 1997, 417 international students were registered full-time in undergraduate programs at the university, accounting 2.9 per cent of total undergraduate enrolment and 227 international students were registered full-time in graduate programs, accounting for 12.7 per cent of total graduate enrolment. In fall 1999, 585 foreign students were registered full-time in undergraduate programs and 339 international students were registered full-time in graduate programs.
In 2001-2002, there were well over 1000 international students registered in the undergraduate and graduate level. This is from over 2500 applications for admission to the undergraduate program alone.
Since 2002, the International House has continued to grow on campus. Every year, it has added to its repertoire of events and continues to be a fun service run by students and for all students. While the number of international students has increased, the International House has also attracted an increasing amount of local students all wanting to learn more about the diverse cultures represented on campus.
The service is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with the objectives of:
The mandate of this service serves to account for not only foreign students, but also any others who are interested in experiencing a kaleidoscope of cultures from across the globe.