ESL Assistants (ESLAs)

“[The ESLAs] have been amazingly generous in devoting an evening a week to our class, wonderfully flexible in being able to jump into and even lead new activities on a moments’ notice, and clear and compassionate in with their feedback to our students, and finally–great fun. Our class would have been a pale imitation of itself without their presence, as they provided students with a high degree of one-on-one attention that they would never have received otherwise.”

S.G., Instructor

Program Summary

One hour weekly, attend and assist with an oral ESL class for graduate students.

Spend an hour a week assisting graduate students from other countries as they work on their oral English in CAELC ESL classes. Engage in class discussions, contribute your knowledge of English usage and slang, and provide helpful feedback as students perform oral presentations. 

Program Outline

What do ESLAs do?

ESLAs spend one hour per week assisting international graduate students as they work on their oral English in CAELC ESL classes. ESLAs engage in class discussions, contribute knowledge of English usage and slang, and provide helpful feedback as students perform oral presentations.

Time Commitment and Schedule

One hour per week, plus short debrief after class with instructor. To be an ESLA, you must be available for the last hour of one ESL class section.

Position Requirements

Advanced to superior proficiency in American English language and culture is required for this position. Otherwise, an interest in getting to know people from other cultures and to share one’s own culture is the only requirement. 


“I have loved working with the ITAs during my last two semesters at UVA. From them, I have learned about physics, chemistry, gambling, biomedical ethics, and DVDs. They have taught me it’s okay to make mistakes and to ask questions. […] Looking back, I can see just how much they have improved. They seem much more comfortable with their English skills. I know they and all the other ITAs will be (and have become) wonderful Teaching Assistants in their fields.”

L.F., ESLA