From China with love, CultureWorks graduate takes on major role with the Canadian school he started with.

CultureWorks’ Peter Choi and his wife, Nina Dang, are doing what they enjoy most, learning more about Canada each day.
CultureWorks’ Peter Choi and his wife, Nina Dang, are doing what they enjoy most, learning more about Canada each day.

It would be easy to say Peter Choi is a gentleman and a scholar and move on. But that is unfair. He is much more than that.

Peter is a father. He is a husband. He is thoughtful and articulate in two languages. He has Masters degrees from two different countries, neither of which he gathered in his home country of China.

And for purposes of this story, he is a graduate of CultureWorks who has never left the ESL school behind.

While gathering Masters No. 2 in Computer Programming at Western University, he took on part-time duties in IT support for our current events online class known as the Daily Boomalang.

When school ended, Peter stayed. And CultureWorks was extremely happy he did.

Our ESL school is proud to announce that Peter will be assisting full time with technical support

CW President and Founder Tina Bax recently announced that Peter will be using his specialization in computer-to-computer networking in “supporting us full-time as we arrange portions of our course” in new and dynamic initiatives in China.

CultureWorks Chief Operating Officer Amrik Sidhu was impressed from the moment he met Peter.

“When I first met him, I didn’t really have any expectations,” Amrik said recently. “I knew what my needs were and it wasn’t really an interview, I just wanted to know ‘does he even understand the challenges I am having?’

“And as soon as I posed a few questions that we were struggling to answer, he knew the answer right off the bat. Within the first — I would say few minutes — I knew he could help us solve the problems.”

Peter’s role will be helping full-time as CultureWorks arranges to deliver portions of its course through Chinese faculties in Harbin and Xi’an.

Amrik said it always helps when somebody speaks the language when they are talking to technical support.

“It’s incredibly valuable to have him as a resource, not only because he is technically astute, but also because he speaks the language and he has connectivity within China that can help you get around digging for answers.”

Now that’s enough – for now — about Peter, the computer wizard; time to learn more about Peter, the person.

Why Peter chose to study English in Canada

Peter, now 42, came to Canada at the end of 2016 and his first stop was CultureWorks in London, Ont. His English was not good and he admits he lost many well-paid jobs in China because of that. He also thought he needed to learn “even a little bit” about Western culture.

After gaining his first Masters at Seoul National University, he had worked for two Korean companies – Samsung and Kookmin bank – for six years in Beijing.

“To be honest, the last job I had was very good, a well-paid position. I was an IT manager, but I was a little tired. Usually at the company before 7 and back home after 8:30 p.m., 7 days a week,” Peter said.

“I was a little tired and I thought what exactly I want in the next 10 or 20 years, so I thought that was a good time to restart my life in Canada.”

Peter’s experience as a CultureWorks student

He came alone to Canada late in 2016 and was a CultureWorks student for eight months. His wife Nina Dang, now 38, joined him in 2017. The couple who first met at university in South Korea had their first child, Ava Cai, seven months ago.

Peter is proud of his first child, Ava Cai, now seven months old
Peter is proud of his first child, Ava Cai, now seven months old

Peter said the CultureWorks experience was more like a family experience. The teachers, he said, teach you not only English as a second language, but also the Canadian culture and how to survive in Canada.

“The teachers encourage the students to use critical thinking. More questions are open questions. There is no standard answer, especially in the Boomalang class,” he said.

“We don’t have the textbooks; we don’t have the exams. We just encourage the students to open their minds and exchange thinking about the news or something that just happened around them.”

Peter is over-the-top excited about his new role with CultureWorks. To be fair, CW management feels the same.

“CultureWorks has a big project in China and we have a partner in Harbin,” Peter said. “We need an IT person to support this project from Canada. Because most of the resources are in Canada, including the teachers, the materials and also IT support.

“My role is to provide IT support to the manager or to the server based on the cloud technology, remotely to the server in Beijing. My role is like the bridge, connecting Chinese students and Canadian resources for our Chinese partners.”

Peter’s role with CultureWorks is an important one as our ESL school makes major changes.

Meanwhile, here are a few of Peter’s thoughts on three different topics. Enjoy!

1. Peter on Chinese students studying in Canada

I want to say to Chinese students: Open your minds and don’t just focus on the studying. That is just a part of your life. For the young Chinese students, you have more important things that you should enjoy, especially when you come to Canada. This is a place you can enjoy in your life, not only because of the English study, but also you can build your own opinions about this world, about globalization. We need you; your family needs you; China also needs you.

2. Peter on why he chose to move to Canada

Compared to other countries, Canada’s geographical location and climate cannot be called excellent, but this does not stop Canada from being known as one of the world’s most developed countries. Exploring the secrets of Canada’s success is one of the reasons that attracted me to come here. Through the two years of staying in Canada, I think the main reasons for success of Canada are:

  1. Canada’s inclusiveness and openness. As is well known, Canada is a model of multi-ethnic, multicultural integration. It embraces any culture, race and religion. I have seen many churches, mosques and temples in London. This inclusiveness and openness attracts talented people from all over the world and provides a steady stream of blood for Canada’s development. On the other hand, based on a deep understanding of the different culture, Canada can win the respect of partners in international trade, which also promotes Canada’s economic development.
  2. Canadian attitude towards life. The cold climate did not make Canadians have a negative attitude towards life, but instead made Canadians feel calm and kindness. I can’t remember how many times strangers took me to catch the bus. This enthusiasm for life makes Canadians not afraid of any difficulties and always have confidence in life and the future.

3. Peter on the relationship between Canada and China

China and Canada have deep traditional friendships. According to historical records, trade between Canada and China began in the 18th century. In modern times, this relationship has been further deepened. The Chinese people will never forget Norman Bethune’s contribution to China. Grateful of Bethune’s altruistic help to China, the nation’s normal elementary school textbook still has the essay today. Therefore, the Chinese people have a special feeling for Canada, which has always been the first choice for studying and immigration.

I think there is quarreling even between the couple, not to mention two distant countries. What is happening now is only an episode and will not affect the main theme of friendship between the two countries.

Would you like to study English in Canada?

Learn more about the programs and activities offered at CultureWorks!