English Language Training
It is important to be able to communicate in order to integrate well into 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, if English is not their first language or they are not fluent in English, all adult immigrants with permanent resident status should have their English skills assessed at the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC).
The PEIANC administers the official English language test called the Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT). The test measures your skills in four areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It is required in order to get enrolled in an English training program.
The test results are only valid for 12 months. After that period, another assessment may be required.
English Language Training Programs
Based on your CLBPT results, you will be referred to an English language training class at an institution of your choice.
Basic English language training is free for all permanent residents in PEI. However, because the demand is high, the waiting time for the free classes can be quite long. If you do not want to wait for your turn to start the free classes, there are several language schools that offer English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses for a fee, or you can find a tutor to work with you one-on-one.
The PEIANC's Community Connections Program runs an English as an Additional Language (EAL) Volunteer Tutoring Program in partnership with the Confederation Centre Public Library. 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. However, there is a waiting list, and usually, a wait time which varies.
The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) also offers summer language 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 waitlist for a spot in this program. This can be a good alternative for people who are not able to attend school for a number of 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 the Confederation Centre Public 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)