York University thrives on its multiculturalism. As the University continues to increase the size of its international student population, there is a commitment to ensuring that students have access to the English language, academic and social supports that will help them excel.
The York University English Language Institute (YUELI) – part of the School of Continuing Studies – plays an integral role in this initiative. During the 2018-19 academic year, the institute recruited and prepared 42 per cent of York’s international undergraduate students. Based on the findings in a report produced by the Office of Institutional Planning & Analysis, students of the institute outperform their international peers in GPA, retention and graduation.
For these reasons, the institute has a reputation for being one of the highest quality English Language institutes in the world. As YUELI enters its 35th anniversary this year, it continues to gain recognition as a destination for international students seeking to improve their English language skills for academic or professional purposes.
YUELI has recently added two new accomplishments to a growing list of accolades: the iStudy Award for 2019-20 World Language School of the Year (the second year in a row it has won this award), and the PIEoneer Award Finalist for 2019 Language Educator of the Year, the latter of which the institute was the only North American institution selected.
The UK publication iStudy Guide is a leading resource for more than 300,000 readers from over 30 countries who are considering studying or working abroad. With criteria covering student satisfaction, teaching methods, cultural understanding, school facilities, diversity, communication skills and more, the iStudy Award is an authoritative benchmark of higher education quality. Similarly, the PIEoneer Awards are the only global awards that celebrate innovation and achievement across the whole international education industry, serving as a respected indicator of quality in the field.
“The institute is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and what better way to celebrate than with an award of recognition,” says Isaac Garcia-Sitton, director, International Education and English Language Institute at the School of Continuing Studies. “We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments as a top choice for students across the globe who want to continue their English language education. Imparting intercultural communication skills are central to our teaching methods as we believe they are crucial for our students’ success in a globalized society.”
These awards are due to the institute’s student-centred approach and the academic success of students. Students like Xiangzhao Luo, a graduate from the institute’s Destination York pathway program. Luo credits the institute for preparing him to undertake his BA in Financial and Business Economics degree: “I think that the institute is a really great transition from abroad to studying in Canada…the most important thing for me was that it helped me improve my English skills to communicate with people and that it helped me transition from an international student to a member of the Canadian community.”
In the coming years, Garcia-Sitton sees nothing but opportunity and growth for the institute. “With our wonderful staff and instructors being our most valuable assets, the institute will continue to support York’s educational and internationalization goals, by focusing on consistent program quality and supporting the academic achievements of our international student body. Our student demographic reflects Toronto’s own diverse and eclectic nature,” said Garcia-Sitton.
“This robust multicultural dynamic extends to the staff and instructors as well, who speak more than 30 languages,” he said. “There’s always more to be done, and we’re going to continue innovating with the goal of attracting more diverse and high-performing students to the University”