4 Stress-Busting Tips To Try During Exam Time at Your ESL School in Canada

English as a second language program

It’s perfectly normal for ESL students to feel a bit stressed from time to time. Learning a new language and living in a different country can sometimes feel like a big challenge—especially during exam time! That’s why studying English in a supportive and friendly environment can be a big help.

If you decide to study English at CultureWorks, our friendly instructors will help you feel at ease while you learn your second language. And if you need a few extra ways to reduce stress, we’ve included four helpful tips you can try during exam time.

1. Study a Bit Each Day to Reduce Stress at ESL School in Canada

It’s always a good idea to start studying year long before an exam. To get a head start, read over your notes after each class to make sure that you understand and remember each lesson. Write down any questions you might have about course material so that you can ask your instructor later. This way, you’ll feel prepared for your exam and won’t feel nervous before you take your test.

CultureWorks’ friendly instructors are there to answer all of your questions
CultureWorks’ friendly instructors are there to answer all of your questions

2. Good Sleep Habits Help Students in Intensive English Programs to Feel Relaxed

If you want to stay stress-free during exam time, one good way to do so is to get plenty of sleep. Why? Studies have shown that getting the recommended amount of sleep (seven to eight hours) reduces your stress levels. In one experiment, researchers found that “Sleep-deprived participants reported greater subjective stress, anxiety, and anger than rested controls,” meaning that if you take a test without a good night’s sleep, you might feel more stressed than normal.

Additionally, getting enough sleep will help you to remember what you have studied in your English as a second language program, and make it easier to stay awake during your exam, too.

3. Remember to Eat Healthy While Attending ESL school in Canada

If you do have to stay up late to study while you attend ESL school in Canada, eating healthy foods instead of sugary snacks can help your body better manage stress. Healthy foods that are rich in nutrition, such as fruits and vegetables, and slow-burning carbohydrates, like rice or pasta, helps your body handle the extra stress of exams. Healthy food also provides nourishment for the mind, so you can perform at your best during exam time.

CultureWorks students eat a tasty meal during our potluck
CultureWorks students eat a tasty meal during our potluck

4. Practice Positive Thinking While Attending ESL School in Canada

If you are feeling stressed during exam time, try to write down your thoughts. If a stressful thought pops in your mind, replace it with something positive. For example, try replacing thoughts like “this is a really tough exam!” with “I’m going to start studying early and ace this exam”. By practicing positive thinking, you can feel empowered and ready for an upcoming test instead of stressed.

And don’t forget to have fun! After all, studying at a top ESL school like CultureWorks is more than just about exam time. It’s also about making new friends from all over the world, discovering a new culture, and enjoying the time you spend learning English in Canada.

Want to learn English at a friendly ESL school?

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6 Ways to Boost Your Vocabulary While You Study English in Canada

girl looks over English Dictionary and books

How many English words do you know? 300? 1,000? 2,000? As it turns out, English has more words than any other language on the planet! This means learning new vocabulary will be an important part of your ESL education. In fact, English has more than 1 million words to learn, and even native speakers learn new words from time to time.

With so many vocabulary words to learn during your studies, how can you learn new words and remember them for years to come? Read on to find out!

1. Have Conversations with Locals While You Study English in Canada

One of the best ways to learn new vocabulary is to learn it from the people who speak it every day. That’s why it’s a great idea to interact with locals while you study English in Canada. Through each conversation you have, you’ll get the chance to practice vocabulary words you already know, and learn new ones.

Conversations help ESL students practice their English
Conversations help ESL students practice their English

To help you meet Canadians—as well as many students from all over the world—CultureWorks promotes a friendly and inclusive learning environment. Additionally, our ESL program is located right on a university campus, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet new friends!

2. Learn Phrases Along With New Vocabulary During Your ESL Program

Part of the challenge of learning new words is knowing how to use them. If you learn a new word, but don’t know how it fits in a sentence, then it might be hard to practice it. That’s why when you learn new vocabulary, it’s a good idea to also learn a phrase that includes the word. For example, if you learn the word “elated,” (which means to be very happy) then you’ll also want to practice using it in a sentence. For instance, “I was elated to hear that CultureWorks is planning a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium!”

3. Enroll in Elective Courses During Your ESL Program and Give Your Vocabulary a Boost

It’s important to learn vocabulary that you’ll use often. After all, practice makes perfect! If you learn vocabulary that you’ll use regularly, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice and remember it quickly.

Elective classes give ESL students the chance to practice program specific vocabulary
Elective classes give ESL students the chance to practice program specific vocabulary

For example, if you’re studying English because you would like to attend a top Canadian university, then you’ll want to learn vocabulary you’ll use during your studies. That’s why a top ESL program like CultureWorks includes electives in subjects like Business & Management and Engineering & Technology. Through these electives, students get to practice the specific vocabulary that they’ll use regularly once they attend university in Canada.

4. Read Articles and Stories to Learn New Vocabulary While You Study English in Canada

Whether you like to read articles in the newspaper, short stories, or even graphic novels, reading is a terrific way to learn new words. This is because when you see a new word you can often guess what it means from the context it was used in. On top of that, you’ll also have a good idea of how you can use it in your own writing, because you’ll see how it is used in a sentence.

Do you want to learn English with the help of a top Canadian ESL school?

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5 Ottawa Festivals to Check Out While You Take English Courses for Carleton University

ESL Ontario

CultureWorks is located right on the Carleton University campus, which means you’ll be close to Ottawa’s downtown core throughout your studies. That’s good news if you’re interested in seeing a few festivals while you study English in Canada, because Ottawa is the home of many top events. From Winterlude in February to Blues Fest in the summer, there’s no shortage of fun festivals to enjoy while you study English.

Read on to find out which festivals you can enjoy during your studies.

1. Winterlude: Experience Canadian Winter During Your English Courses for Carleton University

If you’d like to enjoy a true Canadian winter, then there’s no better place or time to do so than at Winterlude! Winterlude takes place in Ottawa every February, and is a perfect time for ESL students to enjoy the snow.

ESL students pose in front of a statue at Winterlude
ESL students pose in front of a statue at Winterlude

You could admire the beautiful ice sculptures on display at Confederation Park for a truly memorable winter experience, or enjoy a fun-filled time at the Winterlude Kick-Off party!

2. Visit the Ottawa International Animation Festival When You Take English Courses for Carleton University

If you like to watch movies, then you might want to check out the amination festival this September while you study English as a second language for Carleton University. Ottawa’s animation festival is the largest festival of animated movies in all of North America. It includes screenings of animated movies, as well as workshops and panels—making it the perfect festival for movie fans.

3. Learn About Indigenous Cultures at the Asinabka Film & Media Festival

If you’re interested in learning more about indigenous cultures both in Canada and around the world, then you might want to check out the Asinabka Film & Media Festival.  Every August, the Asinabka Film & Media Festival brings together top Indigenous films. It also instructs locals about issues facing First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in Canada.

4. Celebrate With the LGBTTQ Community at the Fierté dans la Capital(e) Pride Festival

Ottawa’s pride festival, Fierté dans la Capital(e), is a time when Ottawa celebrates the diversity of its citizens and the LGBTTQ community. From the festive Pride Parade to the human rights vigil, Pride is a time for Canadians of all sexual orientations to come together and celebrate diversity.

Festival goers can see the colourful Pride Parade
Festival goers can see the colourful Pride Parade

This year, the festival will also be adding QueerCon to its event line-up. The event will enable attendees to purchase comics and graphic novels featuring diverse content, characters, and subjects. It’s a good chance for ESL students to pick up a book or two to practice their English!

5. Check Out the RBC Blues Fest While You Take English Courses for Carleton University

If you’re a music fan, then you’ll definitely want to drop by Blues Fest this summer in between your English courses for Carleton University. Blues Fest is one of the top 10 music festivals—not just in Canada, but in the world! While there will be plenty of blues music to enjoy, you don’t have to be a blues fan to attend the festival. In fact, Blues Fest often attracts top performers from many other genres of music, including country, pop, and rock.

This year, ESL students who attend Blues Fest will get to enjoy a stellar line-up that includes the following artists and bands:

  • Billy Idol
  • City and Colour
  • Duran Duran
  • The Lumineers
  • Brad Paisley
  • Sam Hunt
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Of course, the festival will also include plenty of top Canadian artists too. From Coeur de Pirate to Death from Above 1979, it’s the perfect opportunity for ESL students to soak up some Canadian culture while they study in Ottawa.

Do you want to take English courses for academic purposes?

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Canadian Spelling Basics for Students Enrolled in an ESL Program

intensive english program in Canada

You’ve probably already noticed that English spelling and pronunciation is a little special. Some words like ‘thought’ and ‘would’ are filled with silent letters, while other words like ‘bologna’ and ‘colonel’ aren’t pronounced the way they’re written.

To make matters even more complicated, many English words are spelled differently within each English-speaking country. For example, the word ‘colour’ can be spelled as either ‘colour’ or ‘color’ depending on whether you’re in Britain or the United States.

As you begin your ESL education in Canada, you will learn a bit of both American and British spelling. This is because Canadian English is a unique combination of both. And with the help of our friendly and experienced instructors, you’ll be spelling English like a pro very quickly!

Why is Canadian Spelling Different?

Canadian spelling is the result of Canada’s long history with both England and the United States. When the United States became an independent country, Americans wanted to separate their identity—and spelling—from England. That’s why in 1828, Noah Webster published An American Dictionary of the English Language, which included new words like “skunk” and “squash,” but also spelled many common words differently than British dictionaries did.

Because Canada was still a British colony at the time, Canadians kept British spelling. However, due to Canada’s close proximity to the United States, Canadians also began to use the American-spelled versions of some words.

“Our” and “Re” Endings: What ESL Students Need to Know

When Noah Webster spelled American words differently, his decision wasn’t just political. American spelling often cuts out extra silent letters or chooses options that are closer to the way the word is pronounced out loud.

For example, in the British word ‘colour,’ the ‘u’ isn’t pronounced. That’s why American spelling changed it to ‘color.’ Another example is the word ‘centre’, which is pronounced ‘center’ in all English-speaking countries. To help the written word match the pronunciation, Americans spell it ‘center’.

In Canada, most words that end in ‘our’ and ‘re’ are spelled the British way. This includes the following:

  • behaviour
  • honour
  • flavour
  • humour
  • metre
  • lustre
  • theatre

“Ce” Endings: What Students Learn in their ESL Programs

As you’ll soon learn at English as a second language school, some letters like ‘c’ can be pronounced in more than one way. In some cases, a ‘c’ is pronounced like a ‘k,’ and in other words, it’s pronounced like an ‘s’. That’s why American spelling changed some of these letters to help readers remember how to correctly pronounce each letter.

For example, words like ‘defence’ (British spelling) are spelled ‘defense’ (American spelling), and ‘offence’ (British spelling) are spelled ‘offense’ (American spelling). In this case, Canadian spelling also follows British rules.

“Ize” Endings: Is There a Standard for Students in ESL Programs in Canada?

Even though many Canadian words are spelled the British way, there are some cases where we opt for American spelling instead.

esl program
In Canada and the United States, hospitalize is spelled with a ‘z’

During your intensive English program in Canada, you’ll learn that Canadians spell the word ‘recognise’ (British spelling) with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s.’ Other words ending in ‘ise’/ ‘ize’ that use American spelling in Canada include:

  • capitalize
  • categorize
  • harmonize
  • hypothesize
  • legalize

Of course, if ever you’re unsure about how to spell a word, you can always ask your instructor. At CultureWorks, our patient instructors are more than happy to answer your questions in order to ensure you fully understand each English lesson in our ESL program.

CultureWorks instructors provide guidance and support to students
CultureWorks instructors provide guidance and support to students

Do you want to study English in Canada?

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