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English Language Support

The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) offers ELS support, designed to assist degree students, staff and their partners in improving conversation and pronunciation skills. These services are free and provided by VOLUNTEERS.

English Conversation Group

Thursdays, 5:30 – 7:00 pm @QUIC until March 30.
Program will run again in May.


The ELS Conversation Group are intended to help degree students, int’l staff and their partners who wish to improve their English grammar and pronunciation. Generally, the sessions include a group activity as well as small group discussions with volunteers. International students and staff (including spouses) are welcome to visit any group session at the QUIC any Thursday. Formal registration is not required.  Here are our conversation topics and schedule:

Jan. 12, Session 1: Getting to know YOU! Welcome to new and returning participants.
Jan. 19, Session 2: Student Life. Health and fitness. Plus, we want your photographs!
Jan. 26, Session 3: Guided visit at Jordan Special Collections Library: Historic treasures on campus.
Feb. 2, Session 4: Canadian Lifestyle.
Feb. 9, Session 5: Potluck Dinner @ QUIC. Topic: Valentine’s Day.
Feb. 16, Session 6: Media and Journalism.
Feb. 23, Session 7: Your Trips and Travels.
March 2, Session 8: Describe your skills! Learn how to speak in Job Interviews. Facilitated by Queen’s Career Services.
March 9, Session 9:  ~We will visit the Agnes art gallery on campus – we will have our own two guides, and an opportunity to ask lots of questions.
March 16, Session 10: Gender Roles and Relations, including LGBTQ. Program feedback.
March 23, Session 11: Environmental Protection. Climate Change and Canada. Program feedback.
March 30, Session 12: LAST SESSION. Topic: Staying Fit. Program feedback and testimonials.

Here is what the Group facilitators have recently told us:

Our topics range from the sublime and serious to the ridiculous and humorous. No matter what the theme, everyone laughs and enjoys themselves. In the past themes have ranged from staging mock debates in election years, to celebrating Chinese New Year by finding your perfect match according to the Chinese horoscope. We’ve discussed homesickness and culture shock, gotten dressed up for Halloween, designed vacations for those wanting to flee winter. We love to have suggestions from our participants and are happy to design our sessions around them. With each topic we include a few related idioms, occasionally a pronunciation point and new expressions. The scope of topics is as wide as the imagination.

The Group received the 2009 Queen’s University Human Rights Office Initiatives Award in recognition of its long-standing contributions to community building and support for international students.

Queen’s University offers additional ESL support (writing only) at the SASS Writing Centre.

Note: Individuals who require formal, academic English language training should contact  Queen’s University School of English.  Newcomers to Canada can utilize ESL training offered by local agencies, such as LINC, Limestone Community Education, and KEYS.


ELS One-on-One Assistance

Participants need to fill out the English Language Buddy Request and submit at the QUIC. Volunteers (Queen’s students) work with learners for approximately one hour per week, focusing on conversation. Volunteers are not academic tutors or teachers, but they are friendly and competent in the English language. The individual assistance program runs mostly between September and March each year.

This program is available, free of charge, to researchers, scholars, postdoctoral fellows, students enrolled in degree programs and their families.

If you are interested in practicing your English with a volunteer, please complete and submit:

Do you have a question? Contact the program coordinator for more information.

Volunteer with the ELS Program