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Studying in Canada when English is your Second Language - Sterling College
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Studying in Canada when English is your Second Language

Portrait Of Female University Student Working In Library

Studying in Canada when English is your Second Language

College involves a lot of hard work, but studying in English when it is not your first language is even more challenging. If you’ve been admitted to a college in Canada, you have likely gone through English testing and successfully passed. Congratulations! But if you have just arrived in Canada, you may not be used to living in an English-speaking country yet. Getting more comfortable with understanding, speaking and writing English really all comes down to one thing; immersing yourself in the language in any way you can. Read on for tips on how you can do just that!

Read in English

Reading books or articles in English is a great way to help you become familiar with commonly used words and phrases. This is a great way to improve your spelling and expand your vocabulary, as you’ll likely find they will begin to improve naturally over time. Tip: Use an eReader like Kindle or Kobo that allows you to highlight words you don’t know and show you their definition instantly.

Write in English

As with reading, writing in English every day will help you to become more familiar with grammar and spelling over time. Try keeping a daily journal, even if you are only writing for 5-10 minutes a day. If you have the time, take this a step further and try writing short stories to be proofread by someone else whose first language is English. This will show you where you can improve, and what you may already be great at!

Socialize in English

Writing and reading in English are great, but don’t forget speaking and listening! Having a conversation with someone whose first language is English will help you to learn the correct pronunciation of words and how to use them. Conversation is especially important because it will help you feel more comfortable socializing (make new friends!), help you to understand your instructor more clearly and make you more likely to answer questions in class.

Watch TV and Movies in English

Watching TV or movies in English will help you to understand words in context. Combining your understanding of English with a visual component can be very useful, depending on your learning style, not to mention that watching shows is also enjoyable and entertaining!

Take Online English Classes

These days, online classes seem to be the new standard. Learning online is a convenient way to upgrade your skills from your own home and on your own schedule. You can choose to take a self-guided course or sign up for a live course with other students. Do your research to find a high quality course that best fits your schedule and learning style. For virtual classes and English programs offered in Canada, visit

English Apps

Language apps are a great free or cheap alternative to spending a lot of money on online courses. Top language apps like Babbel or Duolingo are a fun and engaging way to brush up on your English and lessons can take as little as 15 minutes a day.

Interested in applying as an international student at Sterling College? Head to our International Students page for more information on necessary visas, English language requirements, accommodations and more!