English language support

If you want to improve your English, the University of Waterloo has programs and resources to help you succeed. 

Programs at the Renison English Language Institute

Conversation Partner Program

Every term, the Conversation Partner Program offered through the Renison International Office (RIO) pairs English language learners with volunteers to provide a cross-cultural experience through conversation and activities around the city. As an international student/language learner, you have the opportunity to practice your conversational English outside of the classroom, learn about and explore Canadian culture, and make life-long friends.

English for Academic Success (EFAS)

Renison's English for Academic Success (EFAS) is an intensive 14-week English language program offered in four levels ranging from low intermediate to advanced. It offers small class sizes, personalized instruction, and preparation for standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Written English (TWE). Successful completion of the advanced (400) level of the EFAS program satisfies the University of Waterloo's English language requirement for graduate and undergraduate students.

English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS)

ESL credit courses are offered in the fall, winter and spring/summer terms for undergraduate and graduate University of Waterloo students for whom English is a second language.

English for Success (EFS) – summer intensive program

Renison's English for Success (EFS) is a 4-week program designed to help you improve your English, live and study in a Canadian university, and make new friends. Every June, July and August, students from around the world take part in this intensive one-month English as a second language program.

Essential Soft Skills in English courses

Build your soft skills and your resume with Renison’s credit-free Essential Soft Skills in English course series. Offered multiple times a year, each course is approximately 25 hours of language instruction broken down into four modules. A course is completed over a 4-week period (one module completed per week) and covers topics such as Working in Teams, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Leadership Skills, and Presentation Skills.

General English at Renison

The General English at Renison (GEAR) program is a 4-week English language program designed to enhance your knowledge and sharpen your English skills. With classes in reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar and Canadian culture, you'll develop skills that will allow you to confidently communicate in any situation. GEAR offers something for everyone - from beginner to advanced. The program is offered from September through May every year.

Volunteer at Renison

Renison's volunteer opportunities are a great way to meet other Waterloo students and build your peer mentorship skills while helping students develop their language skills. You can choose to help at events, student volunteer committees, attend classes alongside students, or meet one-on-one with students to help them practice their skills. There are many different opportunities available throughout the year. 

Virtual events

The English Language Institute hosts free virtual events (mostly on Zoom) for all Waterloo students to attend. The events are an opportunity for you to practice conversational English, meet other University of Waterloo students, and develop new skills for university life. 

Programs with the Writing and Communication Centre

At the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC), advisors can help you with brainstorming, planning, writing, revision, and presentation skills. They are experts in communicating in all disciplines, including digital, technical, and scientific writing and communication.

The WCC offers appointmentsemail tutoring for undergrads, writing groups for undergrad and graduate students, graduate student programsworkshops and online resources.

English Practice Community

Practice your English conversational skills at the English Conversation Circles. These facilitated groups meet weekly to practise speaking in English through a mixture of casual and formal conversation.