PEI

UPEI 'talking circles' boost international students' confidence

UPEI is hosting "talking circles" to help international students gain confidence in their English language skills.

Students get chance to practise English outside classroom setting

Anchen Cai (right) says the language barrier can cause some students to withdraw from their Canadian friends. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

UPEI is hosting "talking circles" to help international students gain confidence in their English language skills.

The events, held every second Friday, are organized by the International Relations office and the English Academic Preparation program at the university.

At each session, they focus on specific subjects so international students can understand English jargon.

Last Friday, it was business. About 30 people in total have attended the first two sessions, said Christina Perry, a coordinator with the EAP program.

UPEI students take part in the "talking circle" on Friday. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

"They're just happy to have a place to come that has a set activity to build their confidence, so that when they go out and they're interacting with other students on campus they have more confidence to initiate conversation and talk about what they're studying," she said.

After class, they don't have much opportunity to speak English because of the language barrier, so they can close off friends, like Canadian friends.– Anchen Cai

Anchen Cai, who helped with the talking circle, said many international students only speak English when they are in the classroom.

"After class, they don't have much opportunity to speak English because of the language barrier, so they can close off friends, like Canadian friends," he said. "So this way can be a really good way for them to meet new faces and have a chance to speak English and to practise it."

With files from Stephanie Brown