Five Ways Students Can Improve Their Second Official Language

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The benefits of bilingualism are no longer debatable. Besides making your resumé stand out from the crowd, the ability to speak two languages has many significant cognitive benefits. But between school, friends and—for some of you—work, finding time to sharpen your skills in your second official language may not be so easy. Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to keep up the pace in learning second language, even when you may feel that you’re being buried in school work.

1. Sign up for an English or French course

Many programs allow students to take elective courses so they can explore other areas of interest. Whether you’re studying chemistry, political science, drama or literature, you might be able to take an English or French course that matches your level of skill. Elective courses are normally part the curriculum, so you don’t even have to worry about extra fees!

2. Sign up for a language immersion program

There are several language immersion programs available to Canadian students. The Explore program, for example, is a five-week bursary program through which participants can discover another part of Canada, take an intensive language immersion program and take part in a wide variety of activities. Find out more about the various language immersion programs on our website.

3. Do an internship

School often includes internships. Why not take advantage of this first work experience to improve your second official language? As Anastasiia Cherygova shows in this e-newsletter article, although immersion can be very challenging, it’s also one of the best ways to improve your skills. The Federal Student Work Experience Program, is one way you can gain work experience in a bilingual environment, especially in designated bilingual regions.

4. Go on an international student exchange

How about dropping by the Eiffel Tower in Paris after your philosophy course, or crossing London’s Tower Bridge to get to class? Studying abroad can be a great way to improve your second official language while satisfying your thirst for adventure. Many Canadian colleges and universities offer students the chance to study abroad for a semester in countries whose official language is English or French. What a great opportunity!

5. Learn at a Canadian university

A number of Canadian universities offer students the chance to learn in their second official language, either by taking a course in it or by enrolling in a more structured program, such as immersion. Some universities have a wide variety of language resources for students, such as a mentoring centre and writing help, as well as many activities to help them practise.

Published on Friday, September 21, 2018

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