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ST Star English Language School North America

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Frequently Asked Questions

Deciding to live and study in another country is a big decision and we're sure you probably have a lot of questions! We'll try to answer some of them below. If you don't see your question, then please email info(at)ilac.com and one of ILAC's dedicated staff will respond with all the answers you need.

Preliminary Information

Do I need a visa to study in Canada?

Most foreign students will need a study permit to study in Canada. However, if you wish to study for a duration of six months or less you do not need a study permit, or student visa. You must complete your chosen course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.

Students from certain countries will require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada. A Temporary Resident Visa is an official document issued by a visa office abroad. It is placed in your passport to show that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident. Please follow this link for information: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/

To apply for a visa, please contact the nearest Canadian visa centre. Many visa offices have specific local instructions concerning the documentation to be submitted with your application. For a complete list of Canadian Consulates, please visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/apply-where.asp 

What documents will I need to present upon arrival in Canada?

When you arrive in Canada, you will need to show

  • Valid passport
  • Study permit (if you will study in Canada longer than six months)
  • Temporary Resident Visa (if required for your country)
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Return airline ticket
  • Letter of Acceptance from the school you will be attending in Canada
  • Confirmation of accommodation in Canada (homestay letter, if you have requested one)

Is Canada a safe country?

Yes. Canada has been designated by UNESCO as one of the best countries in the world to live in, and one of the safest.

What is the average temperature in Toronto?

  • Spring: 14 degrees Celsius
  • Summer: 25 degrees Celsius
  • Autumn: 15 degrees Celsius
  • Winter: -2 degrees Celsius

What is the average temperature in Vancouver?

  • Spring: 16 degrees Celsius
  • Summer: 22 degrees Celsius
  • Autumn: 14 degrees Celsius
  • Winter: 5 degrees Celsius

What is Toronto’s population?

Toronto has a population of approximately 3 million people. It is Canada’s largest city. For more information about Toronto, please visit: http://www.toronto.com

What is Vancouver’s population?

Vancouver has a populations of approximately 2 million people. It is Canada’s third largest city. For more information about Vancouver please visit: http://www.vancouver.ca/

How good is the public transportation system in Toronto?

Toronto has an excellent public transportation system. It includes three subway lines, streetcars and buses. We always recommend that students buy a “Metro-pass” which will allow you unlimited travel on the transit system. Metro-passes can be purchased for either a one-month or one-week period. The monthly Metro-pass Adult costs $141.50 CAD and can be purchased during the first five days of each month. The weekly Adult Metro-pass costs $40.75 CAD and can be purchased every week.

 Other fares include: 

Single fare Purchase $3.00 CAD 
Day Pass: $11.50 CAD

NOTE:  above costs are based on 2015 TTC posted rates.

For more information about fares and routes within Toronto please visit this website:  http://www3.ttc.ca/index.jsp

How good is the public transportation system in Vancouver?

Vancouver has an excellent public transportation system. It includes a Skytrain, ferry and buses. We always recommend that students buy a Monthly Pass (FareCards) for one-, two- or three-zone travel by bus, SeaBus, and SkyTrain services. The Adult Pass costs from $91 to $170 CAD (2015 posted rates) depending on the Pass chosen, and provides unlimited travel within the selected zone(s) on weekdays and across all zones on weekends, statutory holidays, and after 6:30 p.m. on weekday evenings.

For more information about fares and routes in Vancouver, please visit 


What is Age of Majority in Canada?

The Age of Majority varies from one province to another. In Ontario and British Columbia, the Age of Majority is 19 years.

How much money should I bring with me?

This depends on the length of your course. You should consider your expenses for public transportation (approximately $130 CAD per month) plus other personal expenses (which could total around $300 CAD per month). Remember that if you join the homestay program, this will include three meals per day.

How far in advance should I book my course?

You should book your course at least 15 to 75 days before the start date, depending on the country you are coming from. When a course lasts longer than 6 months, a study permit is required. In addition, students coming from certain countries need a visa to enter Canada.

How long before my course starts should I come to Canada?

In most cases, arriving one or two days in advance of the course start date is enough. Your course will begin on a Monday, so you can arrive in Toronto or Vancouver the Saturday or Sunday before.

Can I open a bank account in Toronto or Vancouver?

Yes, but only if you will be studying in Canada longer than 3 months. ILAC has an agreement with TD Bank for these cases.

Can I get a job in Canada?

Unfortunately foreign students must have a valid work permit if they wish to work in Canada.


What is the difference between a registered school and a non-registered school?

Registered schools like ILAC provide the best education and services available in Canadian language schools, and provide a better guarantee to students. In order to receive registration status ILAC has passed several inspections and evaluations to confirm that not only are ILAC’s academic programs of high standing, but also that ILAC’s facilities and student services meet high standards as well.

ILAC’s Facilities

Where is ILAC located?

  • ILAC Toronto is located downtown. It is just steps away from the principal intersection of Toronto’s subway lines (Bloor & Yonge), and right next door to the Metro Reference Library—the largest public library in Canada. Also nearby are many of the most popular destinations for tourists.
  • ILAC Vancouver is located near the waterfront, close to public transit. It is walking distance to the business district and trendy Gas Town.

How good are ILAC’s facilities?

  • ILAC Toronto has four downtown campuses, all with a boutique style, modern and bright appearance.   All campuses are located in the vicinity of the Yonge and Yorkville area of Toronto. 
  •  ILAC Vancouver also has four downtown campuses, all with a boutique style, modern and bright appearance.   All campuses are located in downtown Vancouver with a view of the beautiful Vancouver Harbour.

Which facilities does ILAC offer in its installations?

  • ILAC Toronto: 92 classrooms, computers for student use, and free wifi. The Toronto Central Library (the biggest in its class in Canada) is located just steps from ILAC and all of its services are free to ILAC students.
  •  ILAC Vancouver: 74 classrooms, wall mounted computers, free wifi, and a student lounge.

About ILAC's Staff

Does anybody at ILAC speak my language?

Yes. ILAC has full-time student ambassadors that speak your native language.

Which languages do the ambassadors speak?

We have ambassadors who speak the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

How many employees does ILAC have?

ILAC’s staff and teachers number as follows:
Ontario: over 75
BC: over 100

About ILAC

How long has ILAC been operating?

ILAC was founded in 1997 in Toronto. The school has been operating for the last 18 years and is considered the best English school in Canada. ILAC opened the Vancouver campus in February 2005.

About ILAC's Students

Is there a limit for nationalities in ILAC?

Yes. ILAC is very strict with the limits of nationalities. ILAC limits the number of students with the same nationality to a  maximum of 30% of the total student body.

How many different nationalities of students does ILAC have?

ILAC has students from more than 60 countries. Depending on the season, one can find an even larger number of nationalities in the school.

What are the predominant student nationalities in ILAC?

Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Russia, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the countries where most of our students come from.

About ILAC's Classes

What is the class structure?

Will the teacher be the same all day? ILAC’s classes vary according to the following choices:

  1. Intensive English Program: Principal Class -26 lessons per week (8:45AM – 11:45 AM) Elective Class - 4 lessons per week (12:15 Pm – 1:45PM)
  2. Power English Program: Principal Class -26 lessons per week (8:45AM – 11:45 AM) Elective Class - 4 lessons per week (12:15 Pm – 1:45PM) Power Communication Class- 8 lessons per week ( 2:15PM-3:45PM)

Students have a different teacher for the Principal, Elective and Power Communication classes.

Does ILAC require a minimum number of students to open a level?

No. If it is necessary, a level can be opened with just one student.

What is the class schedule?

The class schedule varies according to the program: ·

  • Semi-intensive for teenagers 14 to 18 years old (available only during the summer June-September) 1:30PM – 4:30PM
  • Intensive English for 18 years and older (available all year long) 8:45AM – 1:45PM
  • Power Intensive English for 18 years and older (available all year long) 8:45AM–3:30PM

About ILAC's Programs

Which programs does ILAC offer?

  • Semi-intensive (a special program for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 which is available only during the summer months)
  • Intensive English (18 years and older, available all year long)
  • Power English (18 years and older, available all year long)

Which courses does ILAC offer?

  • General English & Cambridge Exam Preparation
  • TOEFL exam Preparation
  • IELTS exam Preparation
  • University Pathway Program
  • High School Year

Does ILAC offer any preparation to enter university after my English preparation is complete?

Yes, ILAC offers the Pathway program which prepares you to study at a Canadian university or college. If you register in this program you will be given a conditional letter of acceptance to university or college that has partnership with ILAC.

Is ILAC recognized by any Universities or Colleges in Canada?

Yes. ILAC is proud to have close partnerships with 60+ Canadian institutions across Canada.

Sample of universities and institutions that recognize ILAC’s ESL preparation?

Algonquin College, Brock University, Centennial College, Douglas College, George Brown College, Humber College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Niagara College Canada, NAIT-the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Algoma University, University of Regina, Seneca College, Sheridan Institute of Technology, St. Lawrence College, The University of Winnipeg, Thompson Rivers University, University of Manitoba , University of Windsor, Vancouver Island University, Conestoga College, Humber College, Georgian College, and Fanshawe College.

What are the requirements to enter the Pathway Program?

  • Students will take a written and oral test on the first day to determine English level
  • Students tested in Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced levels will be placed in General English first and then progress into the Pathway Certificate in level 15
  • Students tested at level 15 or higher may enter the Pathway Certificate course immediately

How much will my English improve with the program I choose?

This depends on different elements, especially on how dedicated you are while you study English. In general, if you attend class every day and do all your homework, you will be able to advance one level every 4 weeks.

If you want to learn English properly and your present level is low, then it will take you approximately 9 months to reach an advanced level of English.

If your present level is intermediate, then about 6 months will bring your English to an advanced level.

The shorter your program the higher the program intensity we recommend.

How many English levels does ILAC have?

ILAC has 18 levels. Levels range from the introductory level for those who don’t know a word of English, to high-advanced III, which is roughly equivalent to a score of 600 on the TOEFL.

How long does each level last?

Each level is 4 weeks. You must pass 2 exams per level (80%+ on each) in order to advance.

Can I extend my program once I am at ILAC?

Yes. After you have started your program, if you feel you need to study for a longer period of time, you can extend your stay for as long as you need to. ILAC will help you in the case that you need to extend your visitor or student visa.

Are grammar and conversation separated in class?

ILAC works with a system that allows you to develop the four skills of the language, beginning with listening and then following with speaking, reading and writing.

How much do you focus on conversation?

You will practice some conversation in your main class, but if that is the area you want to improve the most, you should complement your program with an elective subject focusing on conversation. You can also study the Power English Program which offers four choices of courses: Power Speaking, Power Business Communication, Power Listening and Power Academic Writing.

Does ILAC offer a conversation club?

Not as a club, but ILAC does offer conversation as an elective subject.

Can ILAC help me to find a volunteer position where I can practice my English?

Yes. ILAC has available a list of more than 30 organizations that offer volunteer social positions and ILAC can also help you to contact them according to your interests.

About ILAC's Extracurricular Activities

What kind of activities does ILAC offer?

ILAC offers social, tourist and sports activities through its Activities Department.

Are these activities supervised by ILAC?

Yes. Whenever you do a special activity coordinated by ILAC, a representative of the school will always be with you.

Can I join all the special activities?

Yes. All you need to do is to book the activities with enough notice and pay the corresponding fees, where applicable.

Are these activities included in the price I pay for my program?

Some of the activities are already included. Make sure you talk to the Activities Coordinator on your first day of class, so you know which are included and which you are required to pay for.

About Homestay

How do you choose the families the students will live with?

ILAC has a Homestay Department to take care of that. Its objective is to carefully choose the families who are going to host our students. The selection process is very strict and the families must fulfill specific requirements in order to be selected.

What kind of families are involved in the Homestay Program?

Usually, they are typical, middle-class families who live in safe neighborhoods and are as close to ILAC as possible. Also, homestay families speak only English at home.

Are there any rules in the Homestay accommodation?

Yes. As in any normal household, each family has its own rules and they must be observed. The rules are simple, for example: “Dinner is served at 7pm; if you can’t make it please call and let them know.” Or “Don’t make any phone calls after 10:30 pm.”

Does ILAC have a written guide for these rules?

Yes. On your first day of class, you will be given an instruction manual in which you will find useful information about the school, your program and your homestay. If you have any questions, you can ask an ILAC Ambassador anytime while you are at school.

How far away are the homestay families from ILAC?

The average distance is 30 minutes, using public transportation. Remember that the public transportation system in Toronto is punctual.

Can I change my homestay if I don’t feel comfortable where I am?

Yes. Simply talk to the Homestay Coordinator and explain your situation. If it is an emergency, the change will be made immediately. Otherwise, you will have to wait approximately two weeks while we find a new family for you to live with.

Are there any costs related to this change?

There is no change fee provided you request the change within the required time and follow the regular procedures.

Does ILAC offer residence accommodation?

Yes. However you need to make your reservation with enough advance notice, so that we can have the time to find something for you. Remember that living in a residence does not include your daily meals.