English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in Ontario are specifically designed to help international students improve their language skills. English is the primary language in every province except Quebec, and academic studies at all levels are carried out in English across the provinces (with the exception of specific courses in other languages). ESL programs can make your studies and life in Canada much easier and more enjoyable.
ESL programs in Ontario are offered by many different institutions, including universities, community colleges, high schools and private language schools. Most of these will offer some kind of initial language proficiency exam, such as CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language Assessment), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System). These tests help place international students according to their needs and skill level.
ESL programs take different forms, such as conversation clubs, summer camps, private tutorials or group work in a classroom setting. They are all highly participatory classes, so you may have to overcome some shyness! ESL programs may be intensive immersion programs, or the classes may be more flexible, designed to fit around a student's schedule. Not only will you participate in the classroom, but schools often offer weekend or evening activities. ESL students may find themselves sailing, mountain biking and windsurfing, or playing baseball, tennis or beach volleyball. Social activities are a big part of ESL programs in the province.
There are a lot of ESL options in Ontario and across Canada, so follow the links in the menu to the right to learn about ESL programs and courses, ESL scholarships and ESL program accreditation. You can also read about how to prepare for, apply to and choose an ESL program, as well as whether you can go from ESL to university or college in Canada and other common questions.
As a country with two working official languages and a diverse culture from coast to coast, Canada is the perfect place for international students to pursue English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.