Best Activities for Each Canadian Season

CultureWorks students explore nature outside of Oshawa, Ontario
CultureWorks students explore nature outside of Oshawa, Ontario

When you first arrive in Canada, you’ll find that one of the fastest ways to immerse yourself in the culture (and start applying your English skills) is to get out there and get active!

Whether you like sports, nature, history, or the arts, Canada has plenty of activities to excite and inspire. Read on to find out how Canadians have fun year round, in all kinds of weather.

Winter Activities for ESL Students in Canada

Canadians know how to make the most out of winter! During the colder months, students enrolled in an esl program in Canada should have no problem finding ways to stay active.

There are many winter sports to try, from snowshoeing to snowboarding – or for students who would rather cheer on a favourite local team, there’s nothing like the excitement of a hockey game. And if you’re applying to English courses for Carleton university, you’ll definitely want to try skating on the Rideau canal – the largest skating rink in the country!

CultureWorks students break in their skates on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
CultureWorks students break in their skates on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

Canada’s also a world famous producer of maple syrup. During winter you can visit a sugar shack to learn about how maple syrup is made, enjoy a great meal and maybe even a sleigh ride. A trip to a sugar shack is a must for anyone new to Canada. Here’s a shot of CultureWorks students enjoying their first visit in Ottawa.

CultureWorks students at Sugar Shack outside of Ottawa
CultureWorks students at Sugar Shack outside of Ottawa

Spring & Summer Activities for ESL Students in Canada

After the snow has melted, spring and summer are great seasons to take advantage of Canada’s beautiful landscape. From outdoor sports to activities like camping, hiking, swimming and boating – there are many fun ways to enjoy the warm weather and the country’s natural abundance of lakes, parks and trails.


CultureWorks students enjoy a day of summer fun and games at Pinafore Park in London, Ontario
CultureWorks students enjoy a day of summer fun and games at Pinafore Park in London, Ontario

Another popular summer tradition is to attend one of the many summer festivals that are hosted across Canada. Summer festivals give students the chance to catch free music concerts, see art exhibits, try new foods, and practice English with locals.

Fall Activities for ESL Students in Canada

Fall is one of Canada’s most beautiful seasons. As the summer heat cools and the leaves change colour, Canadians continue to enjoy outdoor activities.

Students who study English in Canada can join thousands of Canadians across the country in apple-picking, a favourite national pastime. You’ll spend the day at a scenic orchard, and get to sample some delicious apples and taste home-baked goods that are uniquely Canadian.

Fall Activities for ESL Students in Canada

And students who fell in love with camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking during the warmer seasons can still continue those activities during the fall. With a light jacket and maybe a thermos of hot chocolate, you can continue to spend afternoons and weekends outdoors, enjoying Canada’s natural beauty.

Which outdoor sport or activity are you most excited to try when you visit Canada to study English?

4 Cool Apps to Help You Practise Your English

Students at a CultureWorks orientation
Students at a CultureWorks orientation

If you have a smartphone, then you might already be using apps to listen to music, play games, or Skype with friends. But did you know that there are tons of fun and creative apps for improving your English?

Practising your English on your smartphone can be a great way to strengthen your reading, listening, and writing skills in between your ESL classes, while you’re at home, and while you’re exploring the city. It’s the perfect way for busy ESL students to get extra practise while on the go!

Here are some of the best apps for practising your English right on your smartphone.

Duolingo Turns Language Lessons into Fun Games

Duolingo is great for beginner ESL students looking to practise their English. With this handy little language learning tool you can read, translate, and listen to short examples and get instant feedback on your answers.

Duolingo teaches many different languages, including English
Duolingo teaches many different languages, including English

Duolingo turns learning into a game as you track your progress, beat your latest high score, and compete with friends to see who ranks highest.

Use Storehouse to Write about Your Experience in Canada

If you decide to study English in Canada, then you’ll have plenty of stories to tell about your experiences in another country. Programs like CultureWorks get students involved in trips and activities that are perfect picture-taking and storytelling opportunities. With Storehouse, you can take pictures, write a story and share it with new friends and family back home. It’s a great way to record your memories and practise writing in English, all at the same time!

Here’s an example of a Storehouse story:

Example of a Storehouse photo story
Example of a Storehouse photo story

SpeakingPal Helps You Practise Conversation Skills

If you’re enrolled in an ESL program, then you know that practising your conversation skills both inside and outside the classroom is an important part of your language education. SpeakingPal lets you do some of that practise right on your smartphone.

Practise everyday conversation skills like going to the bank or booking a doctor’s appointment, get feedback on your progress, and move up through the levels.

Make Connections & Practise Communicating with Reddit “Ask Me Anything”

If you’re taking English courses for Western University so that you can study business or engineering, then you’ll definitely want to try an app called Ask Me Anything. Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything series brings in some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and influencers – and has them answer questions submitted by users like you.

In a Reddit AMA, anyone can ask a question, which is a great way to work on your English conversation skills. But if you’re not ready for that, you can just browse what other people have asked and practise your English reading skills. You can also read famous past interviews with people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

What other apps do you like using to practise your English language skills?

Essential Steps for Understanding & Remembering What You Read

CultureWorks students practise their English reading and writing skills in class
CultureWorks students practise their English reading and writing skills in class

If you’re enrolled in an ESL program like CultureWorks, your ultimate goal is to develop strong enough English skills to enter university and succeed in earning your degree. Reaching that goal means learning new things about the English language every day – and remembering what you learn to build strong written, oral and analytical skills.

During your intensive English training, you will need to read, remember and understand a number of important things, including:

  • grammar rules
  • content for presentations
  • research for assignments
  • material for tests

Students who don’t have strong reading and comprehension skills may have trouble remembering new information. They work hard, but have difficulty progressing in their ESL classes.

Here are a few tips you can use to become a better reader, and a faster learner.

1. Practise What You Read

Let’s say you just read a list a new vocabulary words. The best ESL instructors will help you use those new words in a writing assignment or presentation. They do this because applying what you read helps new information stick in your long-term memory. Take it a step further and use those new words in conversations with your friends – your understanding will deepen and your confidence will grow.

2. Quiz Each Other About Reading Material

Another way to boost your memory is to partner up with a classmate in your ESL program. Take some time to ask each other questions about the article you just read. Students who ask and answer questions are much more likely to notice gaps in their understanding and fill those gaps. Talking about new content strengthens understanding, which helps you remember what you read and learned later on – for a test, assignment or presentation.

3. Teach Material to Another ESL Student

If you come across a concept that another student doesn’t understand, try explaining it to them in English. While you’re explaining, you will have to think hard about the material you learned and re-phrase it in your own words. Summarizing and simplifying new information is a great way to help you remember it later – plus, you make a new friend by being so helpful!

CultureWorks students exchanging ideas in their ESL class.
CultureWorks students exchanging ideas in their ESL class.

4. Make a Mind Map

Mind maps are very useful tools. If you decide to study English in Canada, then knowing how to use one will help you summarize readings, prepare for presentations, and study for tests.

Mind maps are visual diagrams that help you organize and understand new ideas. Here’s an example of a mind map you could use to prepare for an oral presentation or debate:

English as a second language

Using mind maps or drawing pictures is a great way to understand and remember new information without resorting to memorization – you’ll just forget everything you memorized in a day or two!

Not only will these comprehension and memory tips help you do well in your ESL classes, they’ll be useful throughout your entire university degree.

What other strategies do YOU use to understand and remember new information?

Meet Hunter Doubt, London Campus Associate Registrar

Hunter Doubt in Turkey

CultureWorks instructors and staff are a diverse, committed and exceptionally caring group of professionals. Much like our students, we come from many different backgrounds and are inspired by a wide range of interests. But what we can all agree on is our passion for helping students from around the world develop the advanced ESL skills they need to attend university here in Canada.

This week on the CultureWorks Hotspot, our London Campus Associate Registrar, Hunter Doubt talks about what he enjoys most: politics, golf, and helping students plan out their trip to our CultureWorks program on the Western, Kings, and Brescia University campuses in London, Ontario.

  1. In your Associate Registrar role – what is the best part of the job? 

The best part of being Associate Registrar is having the first opportunity to interact with potential students. Registrars have the great fortune of speaking with students during their initial application to CultureWorks. Answering their questions and getting the chance to tell them they’ve been accepted to one of our partner universities is the best part of my day!

  1. How many different countries do we have students applying to our program from?

We have students from all over the world applying to CultureWorks. The three countries that currently make up the majority of the applications to CultureWorks London are: China, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. That being said, we have students who apply to our ESL program from Egypt, Colombia, Japan, Vietnam, and many other countries all across the world.

Hunter in London
Hunter in London
  1. What advice do you have for students applying to study English in Canada with CW?  Is there anything particular about the process they should know?

Many students want to know exactly how long they will have to study at CultureWorks before they complete the program. While students do get the option on their application to choose how long they believe they will need, it is actually the test students take on their first day of CultureWorks that determines what level of ESL they will start in – and how long the program will take.

  1. When you’re not helping students settle into the ESL program for Western University, Brescia University Collegeand King’s University College, what are you doing?  Do you have any hobbies and why do you like doing them?

When I am not working as an Associate Registrar at Culture Works, you will most likely find me out on the golf course! I have been an avid golfer from the time I was six years old. I also love to travel and play the piano whenever I get the chance.

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would have to be the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. As a political-nerd, I love everything related to politics! Barack Obama seems like a great individual who would have some really interesting stories to share.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of Canadian culture and why?

My favorite aspect of Canadian culture is our people. Having traveled to many different countries in my lifetime, I have found that Canadians are very well respected around the world. Indeed, we’re a people known for our kind ways and our willingness to accept any individual no matter their religion, race, or sexuality!

Hunter travelling in Australia
Hunter travelling in Australia

Thanks, Hunter for the caring and passionate work you do at Culture Works! We’re proud that this week we got the chance to introduce you to our readers, and let them know a bit about our London campus.

Thinking about studying in Canada to improve your English language skills and pursue a university degree?

Click here and let our friendly registrars guide you through the process of enrolling in CultureWorks.