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 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:
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?
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!
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?
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).
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!”
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!”
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!
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’.
– 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.
For example, here are regular, acceptable word combinations:
a big house
give a quick report
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
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
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!