information for global expats

Language Schools for Expats in Canada

Submitted: November 2013

Canada is a bilingual country with English and French officially used as their native tongues.  If your desire is learning English or French as a second language a school in Canada is a good place to start. These schools promote learning by immersing the students in the language developing a conversational and fluent individual.

When choosing a Language School the first thing to bear in mind is that there are private schools or institutions that offer language programs however they may not necessarily be a Language School. This means that the school may be offering the language as a course/subject as part of their curriculum and not is not necessarily a language school.

A good start to choosing a school is https://www.languagescanada.ca. Languages Canada is a language organization representing the two languages of Canada. The site provides a list of accredited language schools searchable by varying parameters such as province (location) and type of program. While the site provides a brief synopsis of each school it is recommended that you visit the individual schools websites to get a greater sense of what each institution has to offer.

As with any school there are a number of factors to consider;

  • Location - Accents vary from province to province. You would need to consider whether the local accent is clear and understandable.
  • Programs and class flexibility - Determine your foreign language needs in your decision-making. For example some persons opt to learn English or French for business purposes, and offer programs tailored for such. Also to consider is the ability to attend classes based on your progression such as advanced classes.
  • Exam preparation - If your goal is to sit a language proficiency test, you should determine if the school has programs geared towards such. Most schools have this information available on their individual websites.
  • Application requirements - The application process varies from school to school. Check requirements prior to registration. Some schools have their applications posted on their site. See link www.studyincanada.com/english/apply/index.asp?Preference=language

Languages Canada considers a number of factors in their accreditation process, such as curriculum assessment, student services, teaching staff, admissions and school administration. However in addition to your own personal checks online and the comprehensive information provided by Language Canada, you should visit the school for yourself. Get a sense of the quality of academic life from existing students to determine if the school is a right fit.

Students attending a language school may opt to sit a proficiency exam. One such exam to test an individual’s proficiency in English is TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. This exam is designed to test an individual’s ability to understand and use English proficiently, testing their abilities in reading, writing and speaking.

A French equivalent to the English language proficiency exam is (DELF) Diplôme d'études en langue française. This exam, like the English exam, tests a person’s skills, proficiency and fluency in their use of French language.

These tests are not mandatory but may be a prerequisite for entry to tertiary institutions. The cost of these exams varies. TOEFL ranges from US$160 to US$250. The cost of DEFL is dependent on the individual as the exam is tiered from `beginner to Advanced. The cost ranges from 100€ to 1000€.

Each school has its own tuition rates and it may be best to determine your schooling needs and budget when considering a school. Tuition costs are posted on the individual schools website, but costs can range from CAN$500.00 to CAN$1,500.00 or more depending on the type of course and the duration of the course.



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