Top 5 ESL Activities for University Students | ESL Speaking Activity

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So you teach English to university students abroad and want some fresh, new ESL activities for your classes? It can be quite difficult to teach uni students, especially in a place like South Korea because they’re often shy, unmotivated and just want to pass your mandatory English class so they don’t have to take it again.

You can make it as painless as possible by using some of these ESL activities for university students that are guaranteed to get your students learning English and having some fun at the same time.

The Best ESL Activities for College Students

Sounds great, right? It is. Keep on reading for the best ESL/EFL activities for college or university level!

#1: Running Dictation

This is one of my favourite ESL activities because it use all 4 skills (reading, listening, speaking, writing) and it takes advantage of an information gap. It also gets students up and out of their seats moving around the class and can energize even the most apathetic.

Seriously, if your class has the Monday morning blues, try this out one and you’ll see some great results. Or, consider using it as a lead-in for a holiday-themed class. Even more ideas here: ESL Christmas Games.

More details about it here: Running Dictation.

#2: Small Talk ESL Speaking Activity

Small talk is an extremely important, but often overlooked skill and many teachers just breeze by that unit in the book. This ESL activity is an excellent way to practice small talk in a fun, interesting and little bit competitive way.

However, it’s really only useful for intermediate or advanced students. Beginners are not really able to maintain a conversation for as long as this activity requires.

More details about the Small Talk Activity.

#3: Role-Plays for ESL Students

Roles-plays are an excellent way to help lower-level students get some confidence with their speaking. You can make it as structured as you want it to be so that even extremely low-level students can do it, assuming they can read.

More details about Role-Plays.

This activity is also ideal for 1 on 1 teaching or small group teaching.

#4: Surveys for ESL Students

I love surveys and I use them at least once a month in my classes. I love that students can talk to a variety of people as well as focus on giving some detail in their answers and work on asking follow-up questions. Surveys are student-centred to the max, just what I want in my classes.

Here are 6 Surveys for ESL Students that I’ve used with my own university students in South Korea.

#5: Board Games for ESL Students

University students love to play ESL board games! They’re challenging, competitive and a nice way for students to have a bit of fun while learning English.

More details about board games to learn English including a short video and an example game that I made to practice using the simple past.

More ESL Activities for Adults

Do you love these ESL activities for university students? Yes? Thought so.

Then you’re going to love this book: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults

SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai, Thailand

It’s lesson planning made easy, guaranteed. Add some variety to your classes and make sure your students have fun while learning English at the same time.

Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference tool. Or, a digital copy on your phone for lesson planning on the go. It really is that easy!

You can check it out for yourself right here:

—>39 ESL Speaking Activities on Amazon<—

Is there an Audiobook?

That’s a great question and we’re happy that you asked. There most certainly is one! It’s easier than ever to get some inspiration for your English lessons when you’re exercising, doing housework, or just out and about.

The even better news is that you can listen to it for free on You get a free book when you sign-up and why not make it this one, right? Learn more about that here:

—>39 ESL Speaking Activities for Teens and Adults on Audible<—

Fun ESL Games and Activities for University Students

ESL Activities for University Students: Have your Say! 

What is your favourite ESL activity or game that you use for university students? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom with us! Thank you.

Also be sure to give these ideas a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself find this useful resource guide.

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