Intensive ESL programs like CultureWorks are all about teaching students the English skills they need to get into a Canadian university – and a big part of that preparation is mastering writing in English.
At first, you might start off writing simple paragraphs or working on your sentence structure in Level 1 at CultureWorks. But, by level 7, you’ll have progressed to the point where you can write case studies, academic papers, and research projects – all in English!
While you’ll get plenty of opportunity to study English in class, the best way to improve is by using your skills outside of class too. By keeping a journal, you can store fun memories, brainstorm new ideas while on-the-go, and practise new vocabulary and grammar. On top of that, a journal makes a nice keepsake to help you remember your adventures while studying in Canada.
Here are four journal writing ideas to help get you started!
1. Record your Experiences during your Intensive English Program in Canada
A journal can be a great place for you to write about new experiences. You can write about a fun trip to Niagara Falls, the first time you tried poutine (and loved it, of course!), or about the new friends you meet and the fun times you have together.
2. Practise Your Vocabulary with Constrained Writing Exercises
You’ll learn a wide range of new vocabulary in your intensive English program. To help those words stick in your long-term memory, try using them in your journal.
One way to do this is through constrained writing exercises. Constrained writing means that you give yourself specific rules to follow – like writing one paragraph that includes all of the words “lion, coffee cup, and adventure”. Challenge yourself by using the words you just learned in class, or ask a friend to give you words and see what fun stories you come up with together!
3. Study English on-the-go by Carrying Your Journal with You
You’ll have plenty to do while you complete your intensive English program in Canada. Classes, trips, and study sessions will mean that you’ll often be on-the-go, exploring your new campus, city, and meeting up with friends.
Try bringing your journal with you – or by keeping your journal online on a private blog or app. That way, if you have a few minutes to write during your day, or suddenly have an idea that you don’t want to forget, you can jot it down in your journal. Making writing in English a regular part of your daily routine will help you build your skills and your confidence more quickly.
4. Get Your Creative Juices Flowing With the Help of a Writing Prompt
Sometimes we get writer’s block and it feels impossible to come up with new ideas to write about. It happens to everybody, so don’t worry! If you’re feeling stuck, then try out a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing again.
Plenty of websites offer suggestions. In fact, here are some great ones from the New York Times that you can try out today:
“Do you want to be a space tourist? Why or why not?”
“What superpower do you wish you had?”
“What was your most precious childhood possession?”
Start simple, with just a few sentences – then progress to longer more descriptive paragraphs to test your skills. Show your writing to your English instructor for feedback, corrections, and helpful tips.
What other activities do you do to study English while preparing for university in Canada?