The Vancouver, BC area of Canada is a world class famous destination and with good reason. Vancouver is a fantastic place to study English as a Second Language for a whole bunch of great reasons including:
Proximity to Asia and Ease of Access
Vancouver is the closest major North American city to the major population centers of Asia. If you live in China, Korea, Japan, or Hong Kong then flying to Vancouver is faster and cheaper then flying to LA, San Francisco or Seattle, and much closer than the Mid-West or East Coast. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is a major gateway airport between North America and Asia and is well served by many Asian Airlines.
Though British Columbia has English roots, from the founding of Vancouver it was a melting pot of ethnicities. In addition to the native population, early settlers included Chinese, English, Hawaiians, Japanese, and Americans of all types.
The Chinese in particular came to BC to work on the trans-continental railway and stayed to run businesses and work in other industries. Many were attracted to Canada because of the gold rush, calling BC Gold Mountain. While there is a disgraceful history of discrimination again Orientals in Vancouver's past, today Chinese people are important leaders in Vancouver and enjoy the same rights and privileges as all other residents.
Vancouver has a moderate oceanic climate with summer months that are typically dry, often resulting in moderate drought conditions in mid-summer. The rest of the year is famously rainy, especially between October and March. The rain is not constant though, with 166 days per year with measurable precipitation on average and 289 days with measurable sunshine in a typical year.
Vancouver the second warmest (after Victoria) of Canada's major cities. The city of Vancouver is sheltered by the mountains of Vancouver Island, to the west and benefits from warm air off the Pacific Ocean. While other Canadian cities may see hotter summers, the absence of bone chilling long winters that most of Canada experiences makes Vancouver a much more comfortable place to live then Toronto or Winnipeg.
Environment Canada has ranked Vancouver in 3rd place under the category of "Lowest Snowfall" among 100 major Canadian cities. Although some non-Vancouverites think that it never snows in Vancouver (as they shovel out from the latest dump of white stuff) there has never yet been a year where no snow was recorded at Vancouver International Airport. The snow just never lasts very long.
Selection of ESL Schools
Based on the persistent and sustained levels of international immigration to Vancouver, the English as a Second Language industry in Vancouver is very well-developed. Schools offering ESL instructions range from public middle schools to large public universities and private technical schools to industry specific schools covering areas like hotel management. There are English immersion courses in Vancouver, ESL summer programs, and multi-year programs designed to turn students into English teachers back home. There are free ESL programs for refugees and new immigrants. There are even church based ESL programs designed to help newcomers make friends easier. However you want to study, Vancouver has an English Language program to suit your needs.
Ease of Visas
Canada is very accommodating with student visas. Sometimes student visas are easier to get than F-1 Visas for American schools. Not only is it easy to get into Canada to study but the Canadians will let many students do internships and temporary jobs in Canada if it fits with their studies.
Vancouver is full of friendly people. The streets are safer than those of similar sized American cities, and the socialized medical system, welfare system and Employment Insurance system keep true poverty levels low. No one should feel threatened walking the streets of most of Vancouver, even late at night.
Racism is almost unheard of in Vancouver and people have a laid back, accepting attitude toward others who look and sound different from themselves. There is no history of slavery in Canada and little racial tension among ethnic communities in Canada, and especially so in Vancouver. The city is so multi-cultural that 51% of Vancouver residents report a language other than English as their first language. 40%+ of residents are immigrants and many more the children of immigrants. Mixed race and mixed culture dating and marriage relationships are very common and no one thinks twice about a black and while or white and South Asian together anymore.
Access to the Familiar
With so many immigrants from so many places, you are sure to find people from your home country in Vancouver. There will also be restaurants that serve food from home, stores that sell imported foodstuffs from your region, and a place of worship catering to people from back home.
If you are Chinese, it is perfectly possible to live in Vancouver and NEVER speak English. While this is not why you want to come to Vancouver to learn English, it sure helps to see, eat and speak the familiar when home-sickness strikes.
Vancouver is a sportsman's playground. In the spring you can hit the beach and the waves in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon up on Cypress. Cycling is very popular on dedicated and shared bike trails. Hiking is popular on the mountains to the North of Vancouver, with some trails accessible by public buses from downtown Vancouver.
If the more unusual strikes your fancy, consider Dragon Boating in Vancouver, martial arts, or whitewater rafting in nearby Chilliwack. The city also has opportunities for kite sailing, wind surfing, rowing, and all manner of watersports found in large a coastal city.
The Vancouver International Marathon is just the largest of many organized road races in Vancouver.
All kinds of snow sports are available too during the winter. The 2010 Winter Olympics left some pretty cool facilities on the adjacent mountains and world-famous Whistler is just a short bus ride way, easily done in a day trip.
Not convinced that Vancouver is the right place to study English? What will it take actually? Do some research on Vancouver ESL schools and get packing.