English language training
It is important to be able to communicate so you can fully participate in your new community, school, workplace and society in general. Learning a new language will be less challenging if you enrol in a language training program.
Assessing English language ability
Upon arrival in PEI, all adult immigrants with permanent resident status who are not fluent in English should have their English skills assessed.
IRSA administers the official English language test called the Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT) required to enrol in an English language training program for immigrants. The test measures language skills in four areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Based on your CLBPT results, IRSA will refer you to an appropriate English language training class.
English language training programs
For those who are not eligible for free language training, several language schools offer English as an additional language (EAL) courses for a fee.
Additionally, IRSA runs an EAL volunteer tutoring program in partnership with PEI Public Library Service. Volunteer tutors from the local community are matched with newcomers who wish to learn English with the help of a tutor. Volunteers have to undergo training before they are matched with a newcomer. Any newcomer can apply for this program, regardless of immigration status.
The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) offers summer EAL programs and the English Academic Preparation Program. [See related resources]
In addition to the English training at a recognized training facility, immigrants can request an online option, called LINC Home Study Canada. There is usually a waiting list for a spot in this program. This can be a good alternative for people who cannot attend school for reasons such as work, accessibility or childcare. The minimum level of English to enroll in this program is 2 (based on the CLBPT score). [See related resources]
Other ways to study English
If you cannot study English on a full-time basis, if you are not eligible for language training classes, or while waiting for your spot at the free language training, there are many ways you can enhance your English skills on your own. Here are some ideas:
- ask for access to English language training resources at your local library
- obtain a dictionary, textbooks and/or computer software programs for learning English and study at home
- read newspapers, listen to the radio, and watch television programs in English
- read children's books or stories in English -- it is easier to start learning with simple texts
- be active in the community and use every opportunity to communicate in English with neighbours and friends
- get enrolled in a group or a club that shares your interests (sports, hobbies or ideas)