How To Improve Your English For A Working Holiday in Canada

So you’ve always wanted to visit Canada and immerse yourself in a different culture, improve your English, and make some new friends – all while working to pay off your travel expenses! At this point you’ve probably discovered working holidays in Canada, which is great! In order for you to quickly and easily find a job on your working holiday in Canada, whether you decide to go with our Working Holiday City Job program, our Working Holiday Resort Job Program, OR if you’ve decided to try your own hand at finding a job, you will need a mid to higher level of English. If English is NOT your first language, it can be intimidating to try to make friends or attend an interview for your Canadian working holiday job. In order to help you improve your English and make the most of your Working Holiday in Canada, we’ve complied a list of methods to help you improve your English once you’re in Canada. Continue reading to find out how!

Method #1 – Watch English TV Shows or Movies

This one shouldn’t be too difficult, especially when you can enjoy some interesting shows or movies during your working holiday in Canada! Some movies that were actually filmed in Canada, specifically the city of Vancouver, include: Deadpool (pictured above), Scary Movie, Juno, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: The Last Stand, Apollo 18, Fantastic Four, Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, the X-Files, and many more.

This method is helpful because you are hearing the actors speak to each other in everyday situations. This allows you to hear the pronunciations of tricky English words and also learn some slang, idioms, and other commonly used English expressions. Some TV genres that we would recommend you to watch would be talk shows, because there will commonly be interviews between a host and a guest (one on one talking), as well as some types of dramas. For movies, you can try watching it first with subtitles on (if they’re available and depending on your level of English) when you first arrive in Canada, and then once you’ve improved a little during your working holiday in Canada, try turning all subtitles off!

Method #2 – Live In A Homestay In Canada

They say that the fastest way to learn anything is to keep practising. Well, by living in a homestay in Canada, you get the opportunity to live with an English speaking family and practise your English over the course of your working holiday in Canada. This is perfect because it will force you to quickly learn and adapt in order to communicate your needs to your host family during your working holiday in Canada. Generally, if you would like to live in a Canadian homestay, you can register through one of our Working Holiday programs so we can match you up with the most suitable family. All families are screened and monitored by Stepwest on a regular basis so you know you’re living in a safe and healthy environment as opposed to finding a family to host you during your working holiday in Canada by yourself.

Method #3 – Use Language Apps & Online Programs

As another way of improving your English quickly for your working holiday in Canada, you can use English learning apps and online programs to help you. Some of these are online and free, while some are not. For websites, you can try ANKI for flashcards, Memrise (flashcards and other activities), and Forvo for a guide to pronunciation. More examples of free online learning programs include LiveMocha and Duolingo (both of which have app versions too!) to help you learn English at a high level while on your working holiday in Canada.  Specific Android and IOS apps to check out for your cell phone include: Hello-Hello English, SpeakingPal English Tutor,
English Conversation Practice, and Speak – Practice Your English app.

Method #4 – Attend Meet-Ups For Internationals

While not too many people know about this, there are actually many “meet-ups” in the city that are just for international travellers or ESL students. The aim of these sessions is to allow participants to make new friends in a new country while practising their English. Some common places to find these meet ups include websites that are dedicated to hosting these events. Websites or groups to check out include, Vancouver Public Library (often hosts ESL conversation circles), & Canada IEC Meet Ups (more for meeting people/high level English speakers). Another option for these meet ups, if you are signed up with any of our Working Holiday programs, is to attend a Stepwest Get Together event! Throughout the year, Stepwest organizes Get Togethers for our Working Holiday participants, which gives them the opportunity to meet follow participants that are in the same program as they are. To be notified of these events, make sure you follow us on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as we announce our Get Togethers on there!

Method #5 – Attend Professional Networking Events

This method is more for those Working Holiday participants that already have an intermediate to high level of English before coming to Canada. Instead of needing to learn the basics of the language either through meet ups for internationals or during your casual Working Holiday job, you can choose to refine your English by attending professional networking events. Learn business specific vocabulary and learn how to communicate in the industry you wish to pursue once you’re back home, all while meeting new people. There are many events that happen on a daily basis in Vancouver, mostly because of the city’s reputation as a business and innovation hub. You can find professional networking events by going on sites such as Eventbrite for Networking Events. There are some free events, as well as some that require purchasing a ticket (although those usually include food and beverage). Don’t forget to dress appropriately!

Method #6 – Use English Learning Services

Finally, if you’d like formal help with your English, consider signing up with one of our Working Holiday programs and using the optional add-on services of English lessons at a local Vancouver ESL school. You have the option of adding up to a maximum of 6 months of intensive English study to help you get to the right level before you start your working holiday in Canada. The instructors also regularly organize extra activities outside of class, which gives you the opportunity to discover some of Vancouver’s most beautiful places and make new friends. If you want to improve your English quickly, definitely consider our add-on service of English study for our Working Holiday program participants!

Final Takeaways

In conclusion, if you practise hard and aren’t afraid of making mistakes, then it won’t be too long before you can express yourself in English at a much higher level than you were able to originally. We think that it’s very important to brush up on your English just because it is much easier for you to find a job during your working holiday in Canada if you are more comfortable with the language. This is especially true if you are looking to find customer-facing jobs, such as working as a waiter, barista, font desk agent, or other similar positions that are common for a working holiday in Canada. With that being said, don’t hesitate to let us know if you’d like any help via our working holiday programs or optional add-on English lessons by filling out our contact form or by simply applying to our program. Good luck!

Want to learn more?

Get in touch with our team to learn how we can help you start the adventure of a lifetime!