Name: Trevor van Peppen
Title: Director of Ottawa Campus, CultureWorks
Best Canadian Musician: Pianist Andre Laplante
Q. The idiom ‘to wear many hats’ is an appropriate one for you, Trevor. You do wear many hats. Out of all your projects as an educator, curriculum designer, and leader, which one are you focusing mainly on now? How will it impact the students’ experience?
A. I am collaborating with my colleagues to develop a test preparation course so that our students will be successful on a recognized English language proficiency test, and this will give students access to universities across Canada.
Q. If you were to actually wear a hat, what kind of hat would you wear?
A. I love a good Fedora.
Q. Most people limit their singing to the shower, but I know you like to belt out a song wherever you are! Tell us about your career as a musician. How has it affected your life?
A. I’ve sung as a chorister in opera halls throughout the world and done some solo work with orchestra – over 20 years ago! When you are singing, you are critiqued on your voice, your clothes, your physical appearance, your interpretation of the music, your diction, your stage presence…everything. Now, when I am in front of people, I feel no nervousness when speaking. Performing music gave me that confidence.
Q. Every term, many new students arrive at CultureWorks. They are full of excitement and anticipation to start his or her Canadian experience, and improve many vital English skills. If you could give only one piece of integral advice to help new students succeed, what would it be? Besides singing, that is.
A. Develop friends and interests that are part of Canadian culture but have no direct relation to your studies. This will help with your overall happiness in Canada and help you overcome homesickness and culture shock. With a happy mind, you will be able to focus on your studies more effectively.
Q. Lastly, for fun, if you could have any Canadian animal as a pet, which would you choose? Why?
A. I would keep a snowy owl.
One day, my father and I were driving home and noticed strange tracks in the snow. We stopped the car and followed the tracks to a wounded owl, which I caught by using my father’s overcoat. I brought it to a sanctuary, where they treated its gunshot wound. A few weeks later, I released the healthy owl back into the wilderness. He glided away silently and perched on tree branch across a field. That memory has always stayed with me.
Thanks for your time Trevor, we hope to have you back on the Hotspot soon!