Support for Multilingual Students

WCC teaching and support are grounded in antiracist frameworks, including linguistic justice. Multilingual students have diverse needs and goals depending on the communication task and context, and we understand that you may need to prioritize different kinds of support and guidance at different times.  

Our advisors and tutors have experience & expertise in supporting multilingual students. In an appointment, you can work individually with an advisor or tutor who will answer your questions and give you the level of feedback you want and need. You can book an appointment at any stage of your writing process: 

  • If you are starting an assignment or project 

  • If you want feedback on something you’ve written 

  • If you have received feedback and want help applying it in another draft or assignment 

You can also review WCC learning resources to get quick tips about academic writing and complete WCC online workshops to learn about different kinds of academic writing and improve your communication skills. 

For language learning in a class environment, you may be eligible to register for English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS) courses from Renison University College’s English Language Studies program. These high-quality credit-based courses for undergraduate and graduate students centre the experiences and needs of multilingual speakers. If you’re an undergraduate student, EMLS courses are alternatives to English and Communications Studies courses. If you're a graduate student, EMLS courses can support your academic communication, dissertation writing and scholarly speaking, and they are included in your tuition. 

English Conversation Circles (ECC)

English Conversation Circles (ECC) will not run in Spring 2024

If you are looking for our English Conversation Circles (ECC), we’ve paused the program for the Spring 2024 semester. We want to ensure we have the right programs, events, and resources to support you, so we’re taking time to review ECC with you and with our campus partners.   

We would also like to hear about how we can best support you as a multilingual student at the University of Waterloo. If you want to share your views and ideas, or if you just want to hear from us when our review is complete, please fill out the form to the right.

For conversation practice while ECC is on pause, you can check out this list of English Conversation Circles in the community, provided by the Waterloo Public Library.  

You can also join the Conversation Partner Program hosted by Renison to practice your conversational English outside of the classroom.  

If you have any questions about ECC or Multilingual support at the WCC, please feel free to email Amanda Fogaça (

Past ECC Adventures

The WCC has been facilitating the ECC program for 10+ years and we are always coming up with new ways and topics to engage and actively involve our participants. Check out some of the topics, activities, and excursions we have done in the past. 

Meet the ECC Team

Amanda de Oliveira Fogaça (she/her)

Amanda Fogaça. She has long dark curly hair and dark brown eyes. She is sitting in front of houseplants, wearing a black sweater, silver necklace, and red lipstick. She is looking into the camera and smiling.

Amanda has nearly 20 years of experience teaching English as a Second Language across different cultures and environments. After completing a Bachelor of Law degree in her hometown of Santa Maria, Amanda came to realize that her true passion was teaching. In Brazil, Amanda worked as an ESL instructor for several internationally recognized organizations. She has experience teaching across all ages and walks of life, creating tailored ESL programs that meet the individual needs of her students. After moving to Canada, Amanda became a tutor at the writing centre at King’s University college, helping to facilitate and lead their English conversation groups. Upon completion of her English degree, she decided to pursue a Master’s in Library and Information Science at Western University. After working as a Public Librarian for four years, Amanda decided to return to teaching, joining the WCC as a Writing and Communication Advisor.

Role: English Conversation Circles Facilitator

Languages spoken: Portuguese, English, and Spanish

Read our Testimonials

Andy, Engineering ECE

ECC Session: Winter 2023

Q: Have you joined ECC in the past? If you answered yes, can you tell me about some differences you’ve noticed between the last ECC term vs Winter 2023? 

I participated in the fall 2022 ECC, and this is my first in-person term, the biggest difference for me, so it's engaging and you feel more connected. Did activities that you could not complete in person.  

Q: What were you looking for when you signed up for ECC? 

When I sign up for ECC, I wanted to improve my speaking English because its a skill for everyday life, and as an international student I saw this as an opportunity for me. 

Q: What makes ECC stand out from other opportunities to learn English? 

It’s easier to learn a languages in class, and it's close to the University of Waterloo and it's easier to meet similar students, and was close to where I live so it’s convenient, and saves money than if I went to ESL.  

Q: Were there any obstacles that prevented you from joining ECC? 

No, I attended all sessions. I guess transportation could be a problem for some students. 

Q: Has your English improved since joining ECC? 

I feel more confident expressing myself in English. For example, when I arrived in Canada, people would ask me to repeat my words, but now not anymore.  

Q: Is there anything you would want to change with ECC?  

I would suggest adding more activities that get people to regroup and talk more. I usually sat with the same people and it was hard to make new friends. Maybe change the seating plan every week. 

Tanvi Seeburrun, MASc Mechanical Engineering

ECC Session: Spring 2022 

Q: What were some highlights of the program that you observed?  

I liked being on the other side as a facilitator; not being on the receiving side - that was a new experience for me, and I didn't realize how big the language gap some individuals might face. As an international student myself, I also struggled with the language and expressions when I first came to Canada but I would say one of the biggest highlights was seeing other students' progress throughout the ECC program. I think everyone learned something new and made friends through the program! I would say ECC lived up to the expectation of actually creating a safe space for individuals to practice the English language. 

Q: What would your advice be to other English language learners on campus? 

There are so many things that the university provides that either people don't know about or just are scared of going to because they don't have someone to go with. Just don't be scared to use those resources and maybe, if you don't have someone to go with, that's better, because I feel like sometimes people go with friends that are at a similar language barrier with them, and they go to that event but they stay within that group, so technically they're not improving. Don't feel like you shouldn't attend if you don’t have a friend to go with.  

Q: How, if at all, has ECC helped you fulfill the goals you were trying to accomplish?  

ECC has allowed me to definitely meet a lot of new people, and I see and recognize them on campus. I know them before, but I wouldn't have even recognized [them]. Also, [in ECC], I had to talk [during] the small group conversation, so it’s also allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and not be the quiet one in the group.

Mahsa Parsapour, PhD Electrical & Computer Engineering

ECC Session: Fall 2021

Q: What motivated you to the program?  

Before covid, I just attended one in-person session and I really enjoyed it. The problem at the time for me was the timing. It was only on Tuesday afternoon, and I was busy at that time most of the time. Then when it became online; I was looking for a way to speak English more. I was almost isolated and was meeting people who would speak Farsi to me. I felt that my English was not improving speaking-wise so the program helped me to meet some new people and talk in English a little bit.

Q: What would be your advice to other English Language Learners on campus?  

I encourage everyone to participate in the program if they have time. It is a good way to connect with some people and learn more about Canada. It is a good place to ask some basic questions like what to buy and where to buy especially for winter. 

Q: What prevented you from attending?  

I think the [scheduling] conflicts. Right now, it happens twice per week, but unfortunately, I cannot attend it. If we have more options, it would be really good.

Q: What surprised you about ECC?  

I think Mary is a very nice person and full of knowledge. I am happy that I met her in this class. I feel more supports should be provided for people like Mary so they can contribute more to ECC. When I talk with other international students, almost all of them are looking for the same program. The problem is timing. I think if there are more support to have people like Mary it would be good. For example, to give them a better space so people can gather together and socialize. To give the budget to organize some events, it would be more engaging for international students.

Q: How has ECC helped you fulfill your goals?  

I am always looking for someone to give me feedback on my performance. Mary is a very nice woman who gives feedback and I feel comfortable.

Q: What has ECC taught you? 

I think ECC taught me if I want to practice more, I must find the opportunity on my own. There is no one better than me to encourage myself to be good at speaking.

ECC Past Adventures

The WCC has been facilitating the ECC program for 10+ years and we are always coming up with new ways and topics to engage and actively involve our participants. Check out some of the topics, activities, and excursions we have done in the past. This term, we look forward to more excursions and experiences around our campus!

Waterloo Park Scavenger Hunt

Group of people at the ECC scavenger hunt

The ECC participants took to Waterloo Park for a scavenger hunt, and then we took a ride on the ION to check out the outdoor installment in Uptown Waterloo.