Below are the questions (and corresponding answers) most frequently asked by English Language Institute (ELI) students.
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The University of British Columbia (UBC) has a reputation of academic excellence and is consistently ranked among the top 40 universities globally.
How many students will there be in my program? In my classes?
The size of ELI programs varies at different times of the year. The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program and the English Fundamentals Program (EFP) and the UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program (UBC-VEEP) range from 250 to 400 students. Short programs such as the English for the Global Citizen (EGC) range in size from 60 to 300 students.
The average size of ELI classes is 16 students.
What is the program schedule?
Class schedule information for the ELI programs are available on each individual program's page.
What if I arrive late for my program?
All students are expected to be present on the first day of the program (placement testing day). You should make every effort to arrive on time. If for some reason you cannot arrive for the first day, you must obtain permission for your late arrival from the ELI before the program start. It is very important that you notify us as soon as you know your plans.
Permission will not be granted for students who arrive later than Thursday of the first week of the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program and the English Fundamentals Program (EFP) and the UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program (UBC-VEEP), or Wednesday of the first week of the English for the Global Citizen (EGC) and Business English (BE) programs. If you arrive after these dates, or are late without permission, you may lose your place in the program.
What is your language policy?
You are expected to use English in your program at all times. You are also expected to respect your fellow students and each other's cultures.
When do I apply?
We recommend you apply as far in advance as possible, because we register students on a "first come, first served" basis. This will also give you enough time to make the necessary arrangements to come and study with us (e.g., obtain permits or visas).
How long should I study?
Students often underestimate the amount of time it will take to significantly improve their language skills. It can be difficult to predict how much time you will need to spend studying English. If you register for less than six months of study, you will not need a study permit to enter Canada. However, if you think you may want to extend your studies to more than six months after you arrive in Canada, it is a good idea to apply for a study permit. Please consult Citizenship and Immigration Canada for more information.
How late can I apply for a program?
We will continue to accept applications and payments until the program is full, and to the start of the program. Contact us to find out if there is still space available. If the program is not full, you may still apply. However, if you are applying for a program less than one month before the start date of the program, you must pay both the application fee and the full tuition fee when you send your application form to guarantee your place in the program. Before registering for the program, check Canadian visa requirements.
How do I know what level to apply for?
You do not need to apply for a specific level. All ELI students are given placement tests at the start of their program to determine the most appropriate level for them.
When will I know whether I have been accepted to the ELI?
When you submit an online application form, you will receive an automatic confirmation by email. We will contact you when your application has been processed, or if we need more information. Although most applications are processed within two days, please allow for up to one week. Student registration documents are sent by email unless you have requested courier delivery and have prepaid the courier fee.
When do I need to pay?
The non-refundable application fee and non-refundable program deposit are due when you first apply to the ELI. The program deposit will be deducted from the tuition fee. The CAD$300 deposit (or CAD$600 for the English for Academic Purposes program, the English Fundamentals Program, and the UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program guarantees you a place in the program until one month before the program start date. Only tuition paid in full guarantees you a place after this date. You should pay the remainder of the tuition fee in Canadian dollars one month before the start of your program.
How do I pay my program tuition and other fees?
You may make your payment by credit card (Visa or Mastercard only), international money order, bank draft or wire transfer.You will get payment instructions once your application has been received.
Do you offer scholarships or financial assistance?
We do not offer any scholarships or financial assistance at this time.
Do you give discounts to Canadian citizens or residents of Canada?
ELI fees are the same for everyone. We do not offer preferential prices to Canadian citizens or local residents.
Will I need to buy textbooks?
Class materials for English for the Global Citizen (EGC) are provided at no charge by the ELI. Classes in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, the English Fundamentals Program (EFP) and the UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program (UBC-VEEP) will require that you buy textbooks (available from the UBC bookstore). EAP, UBC-VEEP and EFP students should budget approximately CAD$300 per session for textbooks.
Will I need medical insurance?
All ELI students must have medical insurance from iMed offered through UBC. The insurance will cover you for a few days before and after your program but it is your responsibility to ensure you have medical insurance coverage outside of the coverage dates. For coverage dates, prices and policy information, please refer to the medical insurance page.
How much will it cost to live in Vancouver and study at the UBC ELI?
While the actual costs will vary depending on the program chosen, type of accommodation, actual length of stay and specific textbook and activity costs, the following table provides an approximate estimated cost for the 16-week English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, the English Fundamentals Program (EFP), the UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program (UBC-VEEP) and the 3-week English for the Global Citizen (EGC) program. The estimated costs do not include airfare or related travel costs.
English for Academic Purposes (EAP)/ English Fundamentals Program (EFP)/ UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program (UBC-VEEP): 16 week session
English for the Global Citizen/Business English: 3 week session
|Application Fee||$150||Application Fee||$150|
|UBC ELI Optional Social Activities
(one weekend trip + activities)
|$800||UBC ELI Optional Social Activities
(one trip +activities)
|Bus pass (1 zone, 4 months)||$372||Bus Pass (1 zone, 1 month)||$93|
|Medical Insurance||$280||Medical Insurance||$80|
|Homestay Placement Fee||$250||Homestay Placement Fee||$250|
|Pre-Homestay Accommodation (2 nights)||$180||Pre-Homestay Accommodation (2 nights)||$180|
|Homestay (122 days)||$4,270||Homestay (19 days)||$703|
How should I bring money to Canada?
Please do not carry large amounts of cash once you are here. Currency exchange services are available at the Vancouver International Airport and at any of the major banks or credit unions in the city. Credit cards are a safer way to pay for your purchases because they can usually be replaced if they get lost or stolen. Many banks are open on Saturdays, and most stores accept direct debit using bank cards.
Most Canadian banks have ATM bank machines which can be accessed 24 hours a day using bank cards on major international banking networks such as Cirrus, Plus and Interac. We recommend you check with your bank in your home country to see whether you can use your ATM card abroad and what service charges might apply.
The following banks are located on or near campus:
If you want to arrange to transfer funds before you arrive in Canada, there are several ways to do this:
- obtain a bank draft for the amount you wish to transfer and bring it with you to Canada. It can take anywhere from 10-20 days for a bank draft to be processed
- wire funds from your local bank to a Canadian bank. This method ensures that your money is available immediately once transferred to Canada
- use an electronic bank card from your home bank to withdraw money at ATMs (bank machines) in Canada. You may have to pay service charges for using a bank card outside your country and exchange rates change daily, so check with your bank before choosing this option.
Please ask the ELI homestay staff or your homestay family about the best way to pay your housing fees.
How much are taxes?
Sales tax is applicable to the purchase of most goods and services. In British Columbia, the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) is 7% and the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 5%. If you travel throughout other parts of Canada while you are here, you may be subject to Provincial Sales Tax (PST), Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) or a combined harmonized sales tax (HST) depending on the province.
What if I want to cancel my registration or withdraw from my program?
For complete information about our withdrawal policies, please visit our policies page.
Do I get a refund if my Visa or Study Permit application is refused?
If you must cancel your registration because Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has denied your application for a study permit or visitor visa, ELI will refund your deposit provided you meet the following conditions:
- You notify us immediately in writing about your visa denial or delay, at least seven days before the program starts.
- ELI receives the original letter of visa denial within 30 days from the date shown on the letter.
Can I transfer my registration to a different session if my Study Permit is delayed?
If you do not receive your study permit or visa in time for the program for which you have registered, you may select a new start date from any of the dates published on the Dates and Fees page. The new start date must be within one year of the original start date. Your deposit or full tuition will be transferred to the new session. We require a minimum of one week’s notice in writing that you wish to postpone your start date, or the cancellation schedule will apply. You do not need to move your deposit if you are postponing your start to term 2 of the same session. However the minimum one week’s notice is still required to avoid cancellation penalties.
Note: You may transfer your deposit to another session only once.
Will I need a Study Permit to study at the UBC ELI?
If you are planning to study in Canada for less than six months, you may enter the country as a visitor. Visitors from some countries will need a temporary resident visa to enter Canada. If you are planning to study in Canada for more than six months, you will need to obtain a study permit for your period of study. If you are not sure, but you think you may want to extend your studies to more than six months after you arrive in Canada, it is a good idea to apply for a study permit. Please consult Citizenship and Immigration Canada for more information about Canadian visa requirements.
How do I get a Study Permit?
After the ELI processes your application form, non-refundable application fee and program deposit, we send you by email your student registration documents, which includes a Letter of Acceptance. The Letter of Acceptance will reflect only the sessions for which you have registered. You must take the Letter of Acceptance to your nearest Canadian visa office to apply for your study permit. In some countries, a medical examination is also required. Please note that for citizens of some countries, you may apply for your study permit online. Please refer to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and read the information on Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad (VESPA) Electronic Application Service for Select Countries for more information about this service.
How long does it take to get a Study Permit?
Although processing times can vary from country to country, you should allow at least 3 months to obtain your study permit.
What if I don't get my study permit in time for the program for which I've applied?
If you do not receive your permit in time for the program for which you have applied, you may transfer to another ELI program one time only. In case of visa refusal, the program deposit may be refundable, subject to certain restrictions (see Refund Policy).
What if I want to go to the United States while I am studying in Canada?
If you wish to visit the United States while you are staying in Canada, you must obtain a US visitor's visa from your nearest US embassy or consulate before leaving your home country.
I already have insurance from my home country; do I need an iMed insurance policy?
Yes, all ELI students will be automatically enrolled in our mandatory health insurance. Even if you already have medical insurance from your home country, you will still need to pay for mandatory iMed insurance.
I have Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage; can I receive a refund for my iMed insurance?
Depending on the start date of your Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage, you may be eligible for a partial or full refund of your iMed fees. You must make your request for a refund directly with David Cummings Insurance filling in the Opt out of ELI iMed coverage fillable form and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I receive my refund?
Refunds may take up to 3-4 weeks to process. David Cummings Insurance will process and issue a cheque for you only if no claims were made to an address provided by you at the time of processing.
Should I apply for MSP? How can I apply?
If you are staying in Canada longer than six months, you should apply for MSP coverage as soon as possible. You can come to ELI’s administration office to receive a MSP application form. You must complete the form and mail it directly to MSP with a copy of your study permit.
What does my coverage include?
Generally speaking, iMed is an emergency insurance plan that will cover regular doctor visits (if you are sick) and emergency situations. Please refer to the iMed website for a detailed description of iMed medical coverage.
Where can I get my iMed insurance card?
You will receive your insurance card by week 2 of the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program or the English Fundamentals Program (EFP) and the UBC-Vancouver English Experience Program (UBC-VEEP) session; it will be sent via email to the email address provided to the ELI upon registration. Students registered in short programs should receive their cards prior to arrival. You should print out your insurance card and keep it with you at all times. If you have problems printing, opening the document, or do not receive the email, please come to the administration office for assistance.
Where can I use my iMed?
Most students use iMed at the UBC Student Health Centre. There are other locations in Vancouver where iMed is accepted. Refer to the iMed website for a list of where iMed is accepted. iMed is easily accepted and no payment is required for most visits.
Will I have to share a room on campus or in homestay?
If you choose campus accommodation, you will have a shared room. If you choose Homestay, you will have a private room.
Can I live with my spouse or family in residence or in homestay?
UBC campus residences that are suitable for couples and families are not available to ELI students. Some of our homestay families can provide suitable accommodation for couples; please make sure to request this early so an appropriate placement can be arranged. The best option for families is to arrange for their own rental accommodation.
I want to live in an apartment in Vancouver. Can you arrange it for me?
The ELI cannot arrange for your off-campus rental accommodation, but we can provide you with a list of Internet sites to help you get started in making your own arrangements.
Will my accommodation have a computer I can use? Can I bring my own?
High-speed Internet access is available in campus residences. Some homestay families might offer their computers for student use, but they are not usually provided. However, they may be willing to provide you with wifi access. You can bring a laptop computer for use at home or at the ELI. The ELI facilities include a Student Study Centre with Internet access, and our building has additional ports for connecting to the Internet from your laptop. There are also public access computers available at many locations on the UBC campus.
How much will it cost to live in Vancouver and study at the ELI?
Actual costs will vary depending on the program chosen, type of accommodation, actual length of stay and related miscellaneous expenses. Students should expect to budget, at a minimum, approximately CAD$1000 a month for accommodation and related living expenses during their stay in Vancouver.
How much should I tip for food and services?
Tipping at most restaurants and for services (e.g.,taxis, haircuts, salon services, etc.) can range from 10-20% and up, depending on the level of service provided.
What is the weather like in Vancouver?
The four seasons are generally much milder in Vancouver than in other North American cities. We experience some snow in winter, but usually very little. Rain and cold temperatures (around -5 to 10° Celsius) are typical from December to March. In April it begins to get warmer and drier, and some flowers even start blooming in February. Summers are warm without getting too hot or humid (around 23-30° Celsius). Fall is generally wet, but mild.
What clothing should I pack?
We encourage students to dress casually while attending classes. Bring active wear to enjoy outdoor activities you might want to participate in (e.g., hiking, running, skiing, etc.), comfortable shoes and a rain jacket.
Can I smoke in restaurants, bars, and other public places?
Smoking is not permitted in restaurants, cafes, casinos, or establishments serving alcohol, including outdoor patios. Smokers must stay 6 metres away from doors, open windows and outdoor patios when smoking outside. Large penalties apply for breaking these rules.
What are some additional things you recommend I bring with me?
- additional form of photo identification such as a driver's license or international student (ISIC) card
- any prescription medication (as well as health supplements, contraceptives, etc.)
- photocopies of your passport, credit cards and other important documents
- an international driver's license (surcharges for drivers under 25 years of age renting vehicles may apply)
- some photos from home to show your new Canadian friends and host family.