Happy Sweet 15, CultureWorks!

What do you love about birthdays?  Is it the cake, or the gifts?  I’m going to be totally honest with you here, and you might think I’m weird if you don’t already, but my favourite part of birthdays is hiding in the dark waiting to shout SURPRISE!!

That’s exactly what CultureWorks did this week!  On July 1st it is CULTUREWORKS’ 15th BIRTHDAY!!!  To mark the occasion we organized a reverse surprise party for all of our university partners.  It was awesome!  Even though it was our birthday, we planned a  stealth, province-wide sneak attack on the very people who have helped our mighty school to blossom over the last decade and a half.

We decided to celebrate our birthday by giving gifts, rather than receiving them.  We wanted to celebrate the gifts our partners have given us over the years. The gift of enthusiasm.  The gift of opportunity.  The gift of collaboration.

As the first and biggest of its kind in Canada, CultureWorks has grown to become Ontario’s premier ESL & EAP school.  Founded by Tina Bax, President, CultureWorks started as one location with four students in 1998 and has grown to six partner schools in three cities with 525 students. Over 3,000 students from 26 countries around the world have studied at CultureWorks. What makes our school so unique and innovative, is that we were the first in the country to offer international students conditional acceptance to post-secondary institutions.  It’s ground-breaking innovation in education, and our spectacular students are the proof!

And who doesn’t like a good surprise, right?  I tell ya, our partners sure did!  Check out these great shots from our cross-campus birthday party.

CultureWorks@Kings University College

L-R Janine DeForge, CultureWorks London VP,  Dr. David Sylvester, Principal, King's University College at Western University, Tracy Cunningham, Associate Registrar, King's University College at Western University, Yu Ma & Shu Lin, Graduating CultureWorks Students
L-R Janine DeForge, CultureWorks London VP, Dr. David Sylvester, Principal, King’s University College at Western University, Tracy Cunningham, Associate Registrar, King’s University College at Western University, Yuan Ma & Shu Lin, Graduating CultureWorks Students

CultureWorks@Brescia University College

L-R.  Dr. Colleen Hanycz, Brescia University College Principal, Xiaoya Jin, CultureWorks London Student, Derek Martin, CultureWorks Principal, London
L-R. Dr. Colleen Hanycz, Brescia University College Principal, Xiaoya Jin, CultureWorks London Student, Derek Martin, CultureWorks Principal, London
L-R. Derek Martin, CultureWorks Principal, London, Yang Wang, Ziaoya Jin, Yuting Huang, London CultureWorks students, & Marianne Simm, Brescia University College Registrar
L-R. Derek Martin, CultureWorks Principal, London, Yang Wang, Xiaoya Jin, Yuting Huang, London CultureWorks students, & Marianne Simm, Brescia University College Registrar

CultureWorks@UOIT (University of Ontario Institute of Technology)

L-R Matthew Devlin, CultureWorks Oshawa Vice-Principal, Fahad Bubshait, Fatimah Alabbad, CultureWorks Oshawa students, & Dr. Michael Owen, Vice President Research, Innovation and International
L-R Matthew Devlin, CultureWorks Oshawa Vice-Principal, Fahad Bubshait, Fatimah Alabbad, CultureWorks Oshawa students, & Dr. Michael Owen, Vice President Research, Innovation and International
Hongbo Fang, Boqiang Niu, CultureWorks Oshawa students, Almey Tse Soriano, Manager, Graduate Admission & Registration @ UOIT, & Matt Devlin, CultureWorks, Oshawa Vice-Principal
Hongbo Fang, Boqiang Niu, CultureWorks Oshawa students, Almey Tse Soriano, Manager, Graduate Admission & Registration @ UOIT, & Matthew Devlin, CultureWorks, Oshawa Vice-Principal

CultureWorks@Durham College

L-R. Don Lovisa, President of Durham College; Han Wang, Kachia Phan Nguyen, CutlureWorks Oshawa students; Matt Devlin, CultureWorks Oshawa Vice-Principal
L-R. Don Lovisa, President of Durham College; Han Wang, Kachia Pham Nguyen, CultureWorks Oshawa students; Matthew Devlin, CultureWorks Oshawa Vice-Principal

CultureWorks@Western University

L-R. Carolyn Ford, Manager of Western International Undergraduate Recruitment; Rageed Bushnaq, Han Xi, Hongda Chen, Xiuyan Ou, CultureWorks London students; Derek Martin, CultureWorks London Principal
L-R. Dr. Carolyn Ford, Manager of Western International Undergraduate Recruitment; Rageed Bushnaq, Han Xi, Hongda Chen, Xiuyan Ou, CultureWorks London students; Derek Martin, CultureWorks London Principal
L-R. Derek Martin, CultureWorks London Principal; Zhe Hu, Shan Wu, Mohamed Bognash, CultureWorks London students; Kimi Maruoka, Manager of Student Academic Services at Western Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
L-R. Derek Martin, CultureWorks London Principal; Zhe Hu, Shan Wu, Mohamed Bognash, CultureWorks London students; Kimi Maruoka, Manager of Student Academic Services at Western Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

CultureWorks@Carleton University

L-R. Greg Aulenback, International Recruitment Officer, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs at Carleton University; May Alshamian, Eduardo Carmargo, Ferreira da Cruz, CultureWorks Ottawa students, Trevor van Peppen, CultureWorks Ottawa Principal
L-R. Greg Aulenback, International Recruitment Officer, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs at Carleton University; May Alshamian, Eduardo Carmargo Ferreira da Cruz, CultureWorks Ottawa students, Trevor van Peppen, CultureWorks Ottawa Principal
L-R. Eduardo Carmargo Ferreira da Cruz, May Alshamian, CultureWorks Ottawa students, Dr. Roseann O'Reilly Runte, President and Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University; Dr. Peter Rickets, Provost and Vice-President Academic, Carleton University; Suzanne Blanchard, Associate Vice-President (Students and Enrolment) and University Registrar, Carleton University; Trevor van Peppen, Principal, CultureWorks Ottawa
L-R. Eduardo Carmargo Ferreira da Cruz, May Alshamian, CultureWorks Ottawa students, Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University; Dr. Peter Ricketts, Provost and Vice-President Academic, Carleton University; Suzanne Blanchard, Associate Vice-President (Students and Enrolment) and University Registrar, Carleton University; Trevor van Peppen, Principal, CultureWorks Ottawa
L-R. Janice O'Farrell, Director of Admissions Services at Carleton University; May Alshamian, CultureWorks Ottawa Student, Jacalyn Britton, CultureWorks Ottawa Registrar; Trevor VanPeppen, CultureWorks Ottawa Principal
L-R. Janice O’Farrell, Director of Admissions Services at Carleton University; May Alshamlan, CultureWorks Ottawa Student, Jacalyn Britton, CultureWorks Ottawa Registrar; Trevor van Peppen, CultureWorks Ottawa Principal

Happy 15th Birthday, CultureWorks! And thank you again to all of our partners for letting us sneak our celebration on you like that.  The anticipation was well worth it!

CultureWorks_DIG_vert_logo15YR

Happy Birthday!

CultureWorks shares its 15th anniversary on Canada Day this year. Principals and students from each campus will be visiting the President’s and Registrar’s offices at partner schools the week of June 24-28 with a small token of appreciation.

“It’s important to recognize and thank those who have helped make CultureWorks what it is over the years,” says Kathy Parker, Vice President, Partner Relations “our partners, team, Educational Representatives, Homestay families, alumni and students.”

CultureWorks started as one location with four students in 1998, and has grown to six partner schools (King’s University College, Brescia University College, Western University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College, and Carleton University) in three cities (London, Oshawa, Ottawa) with 525 students. Over 3,000 students from 26 countries around the world have studied at CultureWorks.

July 1st celebrations are shared with Canada, and that’s not all they have in common with this great country:

“We look forward to the next 15.” – Parker

cupcakes

 

As Happy As A Clam ~ An Interview with CultureWorks Instructor, Man Tran!

Man Tran enjoying Ottawa's classic Beavertails!
Man Tran enjoying Ottawa’s classic Beavertails!

Name: Man Tran

Title: EAP Instructor on Ottawa Campus, CultureWorks

Best Canadian Travel Magazine: Verge

Q.  The idiom ‘happy as a clam’ is an appropriate one for you, Man.  Your smile is so big it makes everyone around you smile, too!  What kinds of things do you do in the classroom to keep students so happy? 

Clams http://media.cmgdigital.com
Clams
http://media.cmgdigital.com

A. I simply try to welcome my students with a smile and ask them how they are doing. It’s usually pretty easy because they’re already smiling at me and asking me how I’m doing!

Q. Do you like clams, by any chance?  Do you have other favourite foods?

A. Mmm…clams! 🙂 I usually crave sushi, onigiri, dim sum, Korean BBQ, kabsa, butter chicken, pad thai, kimbab, banh mi, ramen, red velvet cupcakes, chocolate and my mom’s cooking. Nonetheless, I’m always open to trying new dishes.

Q. Wow!  There goes my diet! Tell us a bit about your interest in travelling.  Where have you been?  Where would you like to go next?  What would you say is important about seeing the world?

A. I enjoy traveling because it gives me the opportunity to interact with different people from different cultures. It is also nice to visit relatives and/or friends who I rarely see. Over the years, I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Vancouver, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec City, Tokyo, Omiya, Sapporo, Hong Kong, Macau, Okinawa, Kyoto, Dortmund, Rheine, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, New York City, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Beijing, Lijiang, Kumming, Taipei, Kenting, Sendai, Nagoya, Seoul, Halifax, Charlottetown, Cape Breton, Hopewell Cape, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Bali. Next, I’ll be making my way through Mexico. Well, I think traveling opens one’s eyes, ears, mind and heart to infinite possibilities. So, the following quote from St. Augustine is fitting: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” So, get out there, explore and keep learning!

Q. You are preparing CultureWorks’ English as an Academic Language students who may want to study at Carleton University in Ottawa.  What skills are you teaching them to succeed?  What might attract a student to study at Carleton?

Carleton Campus http://www.ipdet.org
Carleton Campus
http://www.ipdet.org

A. We are teaching them how to get organized, think critically and cope with challenges. In addition to Carleton’s wide range of programs, I think the university’s underground tunnels are a huge draw. This network allows students to stay warm and dry as they travel across the campus to places like residence, their classes, the gym and our office. Oh, and of course its library expansion will make it that much cooler to study (both literally and figuratively)! Afterall, it’s a modern design with lots more space, a 3.5 Green Globe rating, exterior sun shades and screens, and a projected grand opening in the fall…now, that is cool!

Q. Lastly, for fun, what are your top three Ottawa restaurants you would recommend? 

I would recommend Art-is-in Bakery for their gourmet sandwiches and baked goods, Dolsot Café Korean Restaurant for their homestyle cooking and The Whalesbone Oyster House for their fresh seafood.

Thanks for your time Man, we hope to have you back on the Hotspot soon!

Ramen http://www.rasamalaysia.com
Ramen
http://www.rasamalaysia.com
KImbab http://topchefkorea.files.wordpress.com
KImbab
http://topchefkorea.files.wordpress.com
Clams http://media.cmgdigital.com
Clams
http://media.cmgdigital.com
Pad Thai http://25.media.tumblr.com
Pad Thai
http://25.media.tumblr.com
Kabsa http://food.sndimg.com
Kabsa
http://food.sndimg.com
Korean BBQ http://1.bp.blogspot.com
Korean BBQ
http://1.bp.blogspot.com
Onigiri http://tx.english-ch.com
Onigiri
http://tx.english-ch.com
Red Velvet Cupcakes http://3.bp.blogspot.com
Red Velvet Cupcakes
http://3.bp.blogspot.com
Banh-Mi http://vanillabomb.files.wordpress.com
Banh-Mi
http://vanillabomb.files.wordpress.com
Butter Chicken http://shernis.com
Butter Chicken
http://shernis.com
http://library.thinkquest.org
http://library.thinkquest.org
http://www.todayifoundout.com
http://www.todayifoundout.com

CULTUREWORKS BRINGS CANADA TO LIFE!

A Chinese Proverb on Education

Tell me, I will forget.

Show me, I may remember.   

 Involve me, and I will understand.

Learning a language is an active process.  So is learning a new culture.  For any international student looking to live and study in Canada, the CultureWorks Canadian Studies trips provide unique, real life experiences that bring our beautiful country to life.  If you are a student at CultureWorks, or are considering to become one, you’ll be happy to know that we follow the above educational proverb in our delivery of ESL (English as a Second Language) and EAP (English for Academic Purposes).

Every Thursday, CultureWorks students leave the classroom behind and embark on a Canadian Studies trip.  These trips are awesome because they involve our students in Canadian culture, language, and lifestyle. When you get involved in learning, knowledge becomes real. Furthermore, these trips are super fun!

Some of the Canadian Studies trips we’ve taken so far this term include…

1.  A journey into the wintery woods outside of Ottawa to a ‘sugar shack’, where our students learned how maple syrup is made.  When we asked how the trip went, the response was unanimous.  “Sweet!”

Traditional Sugar Shack.  I think they made the building to accommodate the man's hat.
Traditional Sugar Shack. I think they made the building to accommodate the man’s hat.
Layering the syrup to freeze on ice.
Layering the syrup to freeze on ice.
The maple syrup expert.  Note: Not all Canadians wear these hats.
The maple syrup expert. Note: Not all Canadians wear these hats.
A delicious crepe.
A delicious crepe.

2.  Our Oshawa campus often explores Toronto, and this time they explored the legendary ‘Hockey Hall of Fame.‘  Here they learned the history of our famous sport, understood the cultural significance of the Stanley Cup, and even had a lesson on the ice!  Our student’s reaction to this also was also unanimous. “Cool!”

Future members of The Toronto Maple Leafs  and Team Canada.
Future members of The Toronto Maple Leafs and Team Canada.
http://nationalpostcomment.files.wordpress.com
http://nationalpostcomment.files.wordpress.com

3.  Recently our London campus took a different kind of cultural voyage.  Into their tastebuds!  Professional chefs taught our students many  Canadian recipes, ranging from the common appetizer to the very unique main dish!  Everyone appreciated the hands-on experience, but unfortunately they couldn’t tell us about it.  Their mouths were too full.  Learn English at CultureWorks, where we bring Canada to life!

Getting some food schooling in Canada!
Getting some food schooling in Canada!
The student becomes the chef.
The student becomes the chef.
Appetizers for big appetites!
Appetizers for big appetites!

Your Friendly Canadian Word Nerd

http://api.ning.com
http://api.ning.com

I’m in the mood to put on my teaching hat today.  I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for 13 years, and as a result my mind is married to the mechanics and the beauty of the English language.  Which is a nice way of saying that I’m a huge word nerd.

Have you ever heard of a ‘collocation’?  A collocation is a pair or group of words that sound natural, and commonly go together well.  The above word cloud is a great example of the many words that go with ‘news’.

There are millions of collocations, and they occur in all languages.  I guarantee that if you start to apply even a few of them in your writing, reading, and presentation skills, your academic English is going to skyrocket.

Why learn collocations?

– You will be more natural and easily understood.
– You will have alternative and richer ways of expressing yourself.
– You will express yourself as a native speaker and that´s the whole point, right?
– It is easier for our brains to remember and use language in chunks or blocks rather than as single words.
– if you are getting yourself ready for an English exam, collocations might make the difference between passing ot or not.

http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

For example, here are regular, acceptable word combinations:

a big house

give a quick report

very different

rather strong

Many of these words are very common in spoken English.  By learning collocations however, we use language more precisely, and choose our words and combinations more carefully in order to sound natural.  So we might prefer:

a magnificent house

present a preliminary report

significantly different

relatively strong

See how they sound so natural, and tell you so much more?  That’s the magic of collocations! 🙂

Now look, don’t get freaked out by collocations, ok? I know, you want to skip this, run away, and go check Facebook or Weibo. You probably are saying what a lot of my students have said to me in the past: “HOW CAN I LEARN ALL THOSE WORD COMBINATIONS!  IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!”

You need to believe me, it’s not.  Collocations might seem intimidating at first.  They can be learned, however, and it’s really quite a lot of fun.  Way more fun than like, trying to lose weight, or picking ice cream off the sidewalk or something.  The bonus is that you’ll communicate so much more effectively once you get the hang of it.  Why don’t we start with the different kinds?

Different Kinds of Collocation

Some word pairs occur together so often that when you see one word, you strongly expect that the other word may be there too.  Here are the most important categories:

1. adjective + noun fatal accident, golden opportunity

2. verb + noun accept responsibility, undermine (my) self-confidence

3. noun + verb the gap widened, a fight broke out

4. adverb + adjective highly desirable, potentially embarrassing

5. verb + adverb discuss calmly, lead eventually to

Now check out these collocations.  Which category does each belong to?:

a.  the wind howled

b. she teaches professionally

c. demolish (the) house

d.  remarkable movie

e. terribly shocking

Ok, we’ll stop there, that’s all I want to show you this week.  I’ll post the answers to the question on our Facebook page tomorrow! (Tuesday, June 4th)

Now that you have been introduced to collocations, keep your eyes and ears open for them.  Try really listening to English speakers and see if you can hear patterns of word pairs they repeat.  And if you want an awesome excuse to watch movies, collocations are it!  Keep a place for them in your notebook or laptop, I promise you’re going to use them later!

Until next time,

Your Friendly Canadian Word Nerd

http://lawhimsy.files.wordpress.com
http://lawhimsy.files.wordpress.com