COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT ESL IN CANADA
What ESL options are available to international students studying in Canada?
ESL options available in Canada include business English, conversational English, English for academic purposes (EAP), English for the workplace, second-language teacher training programs, integrated programs and programs tailored for individual students. Online, on-campus, summer programs, spring break language camps and full-semester programs are further options.
What is the difference between taking an ESL course and an ESL program?
Courses are usually taken as part of a wider academic program in an educational institution, such as a secondary school, college, or university semester and have a single focus. Programs are usually made up of several courses and involve immersion or near-immersion study of English. However, the terms are often used interchangeably by certain schools.
How long will I have to study to become proficient in English?
How long it takes to gain proficiency in English will vary depending on your current skill level, dedication, personal knack or aptitude and the intensity of your course or program. Becoming proficient in English can take up to a year or longer.
How do I choose between a language school or the language program at a high school, college or university? What is the difference between these two options?
Language schools offer only language instruction, and their curricula will be more focused and intense. Language schools offer programs that assume you are only studying English. High schools, colleges and universities offer ESL courses and programs which are often designed to run parallel to-or prepare you for--your general academic studies.
How many students will there be in an ESL class in Canada?
Class sizes can vary, but classes are usually less than twenty people.
Will my ESL program in Canada help me meet university language standards?
A properly accredited ESL program that is aimed towards the test your university requires will help you meet those standards. You should double-check any ESL program with your college's or university's requirements to make sure that it meets those standards.
Am I guaranteed to pass the standardized language tests after my ESL course in Canada?
No course or program can guarantee a pass on any test, but an accredited course with qualified teachers combined with dedicated study will help you pass the language tests you need.
What is the difference between the different language tests? (CAEL, TOEFL, TOIEC and IELTS?)
All language tests are aimed at determining your level of English language proficiency. The different tests are administered by different authorities and may test slightly different skills. For instance, the CAEL
test is specifically aimed at testing English for academic purposes, where the TOEFL test is more focused on proficiency needed in daily life. Different tests may be required by different organizations.
Are there prerequisites for international students studying ESL in Canada?
Prerequisites will depend on what program you apply to. However, there are programs in Canada at every level, from the newest beginner to much more advanced students.
How are ESL programs in Canada accredited?
There are several independent organizations which oversee the accreditation of ESL schools, programs and courses in Canada. They include Languages Canada, the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), Canadian Language Council/Le Conseil des Langues du Canada (CLC) and the Canadian Association of Private Language Schools (CAPLS). For more details, see our section on Accreditation of ESL Programs in Canada.
What recognition do Canadian ESL programs have world-wide?
Accredited ESL programs in Canada are recognized for their excellence world-wide.
What advantages do Canadian ESL programs offer international students?
English is one of Canada's two official languages. Canada offers the chance to study and live in English, in a safe, welcoming environment and with the best programs available.
Will there be someone to take care of me if I health problems?
Canada has a publicly funded health-care system, which is administered on the provincial level. Some provinces include international students in their Medical Services Plan (MSP), some do not. You should check with the province your school is in. You may also wish to purchase extended health-care insurance from a secondary provider.
How are homestay families chosen?
Homestay programs screen families that apply to make sure that they have are the right place for a student to stay. Homestay programs may be independent, or they may be run in affiliation with your school.
If I live at the school, what are the rooms or dormitories like?
Dormitories will vary from school to school. You are likely to have a roommate or possibly several suitemates, and you may share a bathroom with either your suitemates or with your floor. There is usually a common-room with television and other facilities. Dormitories will always be kept clean and safe for students. High school dorms have adult supervision.