Windsor

Demand for English language workshops increases at UWindsor

More international students at the University of Windsor want to improve their English language skills by attending English Conversation Group, a weekly workshop that provide students the opportunity to practice their English verbally in an informal, low-pressure environment at the Leddy Library.

'Sometimes we run out of space,' says Christine Sabina

English Conversation Group provides students the opportunity to practice their English on a weekly basis. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

More international students at the University of Windsor want to improve their English language skills by attending English Conversation Group, a weekly workshop that provide students the opportunity to practice their English verbally in an informal, low-pressure environment at the university's Leddy Library.

Shuzhen Zhao, a librarian at the university, said she's seen a noticeable increase in the number of students attending the meetings.

Zhao, who's been facilitating meetings since it first launched in 2013, attributes some of the increase to the growing number of international students attending the university.

"Last year, I think we have averaged at around 20 [students] ... but this year, from the beginning to now, we're almost at 30 students," she said.

Shuzhen Zhao is a librarian at the University of Windsor's Leddy Library. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

More than 15,000 students attend the University of Windsor, according to the university's website. About 3,700 of those are international students.

Christine Sabina, who currently works at the Leddy Library, has been facilitating classes since the beginning of the school year.

Christine Sabina, who currently works at the Leddy Library, has been facilitating workshops since the beginning of the school year. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

She said she's personally seen an improvement in some students already.

"Sometimes we run out of space just because we have such a high number of participants," Christine Sabina said, adding that most of the students attending are from China and India.

Interactive and informative

Yesudas Purathur Josetom moved to Windsor from India two months ago. 

He said he initially struggled with understanding English spoken with a Canadian accent, but workshops like the one can help overcome that challenge.

Yesudas Purathur Josetom moved to Windsor from India two months ago. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

"I wanted class to be this interactive. It shouldn't be a single centre [where] a person keeps on talking and the others [don't] respond," said Josetom.

"But this is actually ... interactive. We get to always add opinions. It was actually really good."

More confident with speaking

Pinge "Vicky" Ai, a Master of Education student from China, has been attending English Conversation Group since last year.

She said she's become more confident speaking English.

"I still come here because I'm more comfortable now. I can speak freely with anyone sitting around me," she said.

Pinge "Vicky" Ai, a Master of Education student, has been attending English Conversation Group since last year. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Manigandan Ganesan, who's from India, started his Master in Industrial Engineering program in September.

This was his first time attending a workshop.

"I learned a lot of things in this class. It's been very interactive ... and informative," he said, adding that he'll be joining the group again.

Manigandan Ganesan, who's from India, started his Master in Industrial Engineering program in September. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

The students said they would recommend others to join the class.

Zhao said she volunteers her lunch break to offer these workshops, adding that she wants new students to feel like home in Windsor.

"We try to help students to be better here. They can feel better. They can study better."

Students can drop in and join the English Conversation Group on Thursdays from 12PM to 1PM.

About the Author

Tahmina Aziz

Reporter

The CBC's Tahmina Aziz currently reports out of Windsor and Toronto for TV, radio and web. Have a story? Email tahmina.aziz@cbc.ca. Twitter: @tahmina_aziz

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