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Improve your English

Language Proficiency Index (LPI)

To be eligible to register in first-year English courses, students must complete or be exempt from the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) requirement. If you score less than five on the essay section of the LPI exam, you may not be permitted to register in a full course load until your English ability improves.

UBC Continuing Studies offers a non-credit composition and grammar course (Writing 098) designed to prepare students for university-level writing and to help them improve their score on the LPI. If you complete this course, you will receive an extended LPI deadline and priority on waitlists for first-year English courses. Visit the Academic Calendar for more information on LPI requirements for first-year English.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) Resources


Free options
Paid options

Academic English Support Program

If your reading, writing, note-taking or pronunciation skills are holding you back from fully participating in class, you should consider participating in the Academic English Support (AES) Program. The AES program is open to all students and is completely free. To get the most out of the program you should sign up early on in your UBC career. As part of the program, you will:

  • Complete a short application
  • Complete a module that will assess your current level of English
  • Depending on the results of your assessment, either be connected to a suite of online self-access resources or paired with an English language coach who will help you develop a Learning Plan
  • Complete courses and access resources according to your Learning Plan

UBC Continuing Studies

Courses offered in English Communication Skills from UBC Continuing Studies are held at the Robson Square downtown campus - including 'Power Pronunciation', 'English Conversation for Confidence Building', and 'Enhancing Your Everday Vocabulary.'

Conversation Partners

If you are looking to simply practice your English language skills (or any other language), you should join the Tandem Language Program. The program matches two people who are interested in learning or improving their skills in the native language of their program partner. If you are looking to improve your English language skills, you would be paired with a fluent English speaker who is interested in learning or practicing your native language.
As part of the program, you will meet with your partner for 1.5 hours once a week for 11 weeks. Participation in the Tandem Language Program is free, and registration opens twice a year. Visit the Tandem Language Program FAQ page for more information.

English Language Institute (ELI)

The English Language Institute (ELI) offers 16-week and 8-week English language programs with start dates throughout the year. The ELI also offers an 'English for the Global Citizen' program and an 'English for Business Communications' program with varying start dates. For more information, visit the ELI website, email, or call 604.822.1555.

Community Programs at Acadia

Informal English conversation classes are offered at the Acadia/Fairview housing areas led by community members. Ask the Acadia Front Desk for schedules.



Free or low-cost options
Paid options

UBC Learning Exchange

Small conversation groups are led by volunteers from the Vancouver community. These free language conversation groups sessions take place once a week for 75 minutes. 

Vancouver Community College (VCC)

Many EAL (English as an additional language) or ESL (English as a second language) courses are offered - including Professional and Career English, College Preparatory English, and English in the Community. 

Association of Neighbourhood House BC

Many neighbourhood houses offer volunteer-run, low-cost English Conversation Circles. The closest Neighbourhood House to UBC Campus is the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House (3683 West 4th Ave). For more information, visit Kits House Conversation Circles or Association of Neighbourhood Houses in BC for a listing of other neighbourhood houses.

Academic programs, specialized immersion programs, and English for foreign-trained professionals are offered full-time or part-time. Fees vary depending on the number of credits you undertake – they generally range from $101 to $538 per 4-month semester.

City of Vancouver Community Centres

Vancouver Community Centres offer various English classes for different skill levels and age groups. Visit their website to find the program that's right for you. Here are a few options:

  • English Corner: Organized to give participants the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings by offering engaging discussion topics and opportunities for fellowship. Visit Kitsilano Community Centre (2690 Larch St.), $3 per session or Kerrisdale Community Centre (5851 West Blvd.), for free.
  • Confident Conversations: Designed to build confidence in your listening and speaking skills in real English from everyday TV shows and short readings on a variety of interesting topics. Kerrisdale Community Centre (5851 West Blvd.), $78 per season.
  • ESL Fun: Learn and practice English, using word puzzles, worksheets and magazines. Drop-ins are welcome. Located at Thunderbird Community Centre (2311 Cassiar Street), $2 per session.

Programs catered to various needs, such as academic English, co-op and internships, as well as private tutoring. Programs range from 3 to 25-weeks. Fees  vary depend on different programs.

Language Instruction Support and Training Network (LISTN)

Provides basic and intermediate level English training through LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) for newcomers who are permanent residents or refugees only. There are classes on different levels (1-8). Before you start an LINC program, you must apply and  make an appointment for an English assessment (test). Visit their site for all their Community Based Programs.