Economics Conversation Club

International Students: Ask yourself the following questions:

•  Does being asked a question in class make you break out in a sweat?

  Do you want to make new friends in Canada, but don't know where to start? 

  Do you feel your training in spoken English did not prepare you for the realities of life in Edmonton? 

With the highest percentage of international students in the Faculty of Arts, the Department of Economics is aware of some of the challenges you may face. We are always looking to find ways to make your undergraduate experience at the University of Alberta a successful and memorable one.

This year, we have created a program to offer free weekly conversation groups that give international students opportunity to practice their spoken English in a small group setting with a fluent English-speaking facilitator. Welcome to the Economics English Conversation Club!

How can this benefit you?

Becoming more confident and comfortable with using the English language has tangible benefits that will contribute to your success in University and beyond. Writing term papers, working with professors in graduate school, developing new friendships, and successfully answering questions in a job interview are just some of the ways in which stronger English skills can help you.  

Even if you do not intend to find a job in Canada or another English-speaking country after you graduate, fluency in English makes you more employable almost anywhere, and is a valuable asset from an employer’s perspective.




Any Faculty of Arts student who has taken at least one Economics class is eligible to attend conversation club.  Students can attend up to two 50-minute sessions per week.  Sessions run Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00-12:50 p.m. in Tory 1-100, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 – 1:20 p.m. in Tory B-104.

Please use the SIGN UP FORM to select your sessions. If you have any questions, you can email our lead facilitator at

High grades alone can't always get you a job offer: A cautionary example.

ESL students often fail to understand the consequences that limited conversational skill in English can have for their employability. One real-world example is Mr. X: a straight-A student who graduated from the BA Economics program a few years ago. Due to the excellent grades on his transcript, he was able to obtain an interview with a prestigious bank for an entry-level position in their analytical department. However, the interview lasted less than 10 minutes, and in the student was soon regretfully informed that they were not the successful candidate. 

Why? Successive feedback from the interviewers revealed that potential employers were put-off by the student’s poor conversational skill. This included complaints about the student’s lack of ability to make small talk, his inability to understand the interviewers’ questions (as the interviewer had an accent), and the use of overly simplified language.

Being competent in English conversation is (in itself) no guarantee of a good job, but a lack of practice can damage the employability of even the strongest students.

Letter of Recognition

Active participation in 10 Economics conversation group sessions in a term will be recognized by a formal letter of recognition from the Economics Department. The Department recognizes participation at different levels, ranging from level 1 to 3, depending on the number of consecutive terms for which a student participates in 10 Economics conversation group sessions.