General English at Renison (GEAR)

Learn English through culture and innovation

General English at Renison (GEAR) is an interactive 4-week language program that gives you an opportunity to improve your English skills while you experience Waterloo Region and the University of Waterloo. Through approximately 100 program hours, you will develop the language skills and strategies to confidently communicate in many situations.  

GEAR is a great option if you are looking to:

explore Canada's silicon valley button

experience Canadian culture button

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With classes that include presentation skills, innovation enrichment, and cultural studies, you will have the opportunity to practice your English while experiencing the innovative culture of the region and learning about advancements in many areas of local society, including education, business, and technology. 

Renison is a very cool place to study. You will not only learn about Canadian culture, but about many cultures from other students from around the world....We went to the Engineering Faculty buildings at the University of Waterloo, and toured the Toyota manufacturing plant. You get the best of both worlds because it is a small place inside a very big university. At Renison you find a great community and it’s very familiar – everyone knows each other.

-Fabio (Chile), past GEAR student

Quick links

Who is GEAR designed for? Sample class schedule  
Program features Student experience  
What makes the program unique Program dates, fees, and application process  
Program duration and levels Residence and homestay  
What will you learn?    

  What will you learn?

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In this course you will
  • review and extend your contextual knowledge of grammar
  • develop an awareness of the features of different types of text
  • identify and apply processes of professional and academic writing
  • construct academic and professional text

listening and reading skillsIn this course you will

  • improve active listening skills
  • identify barriers to listening
  • practice methods of effective listening
  • increase understanding and use of new vocabulary
  • learn to recognize different text types

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In this course you will

  • define culture
  • examine elements of the qualitative research cycle
  • compare Canadian cultural events to those of your home country
  • analyse language and participate in discussions related to Renison University College cultural events

innovation enrichment button

In this course you will

  • practice note-taking strategies
  • conduct efficient online searches for information
  • examine language needed for full participation in academic-related
  • participate in authentic academic environments
  • develop reflective thinking and reflective writing skills

Presentation skills button

In this course you will

  • practice effective use of voice, including during longer stretches of speech (articulation, chunking, stress, pacing,
  • examine visuals in presentations
  • compare various presentation structures
  • practice nonverbal communication (body language) in the
    production of presentations
  • evaluate strategies for the delivery of effective face-to-face
  • produce a full face-to-face presentation

Student experience

We are dedicated to ensuring you have an exceptional student experience during your time in the GEAR program. Our Student Experience team is available to help you enhance your language skills! 

Our dedicated team of Peer Leaders, Student Advisor, Student Experience Coordinator, and Student Experience Manager are here to help you...

Experience life in Canada

  • Join optional excursions to popular tourist sites in Southwestern Ontario, such as Toronto, Niagara Falls, and a variety of museums and cultural centres
  • Participate in tours and visits highlighting Waterloo’s entrepreneurial community and see all that Canada’s Silicon Valley has to offer

Practice your social and English skills

  • Speed Friending
  • Carnival nights        
  • Meet and greet events
  • Conversation lunches
  • One-on-one meet-ups with your Peer Leaders

Stay connected

  • Helpful emails to prepare for your studies
  • Weekly email newsletters about upcoming events and program reminders
  • Texting app communities where you can ask questions and connect with your classmates
  • Ongoing invitations to our events and workshops even after you finish the program

Sample Events Calendar for the GEAR program:
sample gear activity calendar

Learn more about the student experience at Renison’s English Language Institute.