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  • Writer's pictureCCE

Enrolment Doubles in Language and Culture Program

Every year the University of Regina welcomes approximately 3,000 international students from nearly 100 countries, creating a diverse and multicultural learning environment. For some students, the draw is the three-week English Language And Culture Program that, until the pandemic, had traditionally been a face-to-face experience.

When the program had to pivot to a virtual classroom during the pandemic, Karlie Butler, Coordinator of Customized Programs for English as a Second Language (ESL) wasn’t

sure what that would do to enrolment. “For instance, many of our students are from Japan. Because we have longstanding relationships with several Japanese universities, we were able to maintain a virtual program presence because we’re reliable and didn’t disappear during the years when students couldn’t travel here.”


"[The virtual learning] format appeals to students who can’t or don’t want to travel. It’s also more attractive to students for whom financial considerations are a concern..." - Karlie Butler

The program, which includes culturally enriching experiences such as local tours and sociocultural activities, was adapted to fit the online learning model. “We were surprised at how much we were able to do online,” says Butler. “We were able to replicate the virtual tours and to mimic the in-person experience. It worked really well.”

In fact, the virtual approach worked so well that students now have the choice of opting for in-person or online learning. “We’ve had to add more sessions to accommodate the demand.”


The work that has gone into creating a virtual learning environment has also created a new market unto itself. “This educational format appeals to students who can’t or don’t want to travel. It’s also more attractive to students for whom financial considerations are a concern because the program is significantly less expensive when we don’t have to include the cost of travel, food, housing and activity fees.”

CCE is also exploring new markets through existing connections with universities in South Korea, Mexico and Columbia. “We have institutional partnerships with Korean universities and a good connection with the Korean Trade Commission for Canada so that’s where we’ve started our expansion efforts.”


As those efforts yield results, having two streams of learning will allow CCE to accommodate more students than ever before. “Attendance in our short-term language and culture programs has already doubled from 2021 to 2022 with a pretty even split between virtual and in-person,” notes Butler. “We anticipate that this will be a continued area of growth moving forward.”



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