Even the family cats join new CultureWorks student and her parents in making the move from Colombia to Canada.

Natalia Parra (left) is a CultureWorks ESL student in London, Ont., and her parents, Julio and Nelly, joined her in the move from Bogota in the Republic of Colombia. Not to be left behind --two other family members, Merengue (yellow) and Candonga (black and white) -- also elected to make Canada home
Natalia Parra (left) is a CultureWorks ESL student in London, Ont., and her parents, Julio and Nelly, joined her in the move from Bogota in the Republic of Colombia. Not to be left behind --two other family members, Merengue (yellow) and Candonga (black and white) -- also elected to make Canada home
Natalia Parra (left) is a CultureWorks ESL student in London, Ont., and her parents, Julio and Nelly, joined her in the move from Bogota in the Republic of Colombia. Not to be left behind –two other family members, Merengue (yellow) and Candonga (black and white) — also elected to make Canada home

Two months ago, Natalia Parra, 25, and her parents, Julio and Nelly, left Bogota in the Republic of Colombia for perhaps the final time.

Merengue and Candonga were allowed to stay longer in the South American country of 50 million. They arrived last week.

Merengue is yellow; Candonga is black and white. They are the family cats.

Natalia is a student in the CultureWorks ESL program in London, Ont., soon to enter Level 6. She is determined, charming, intelligent, but really not certain where her life is headed.

“Right now, I am not sure if I will return to Colombia,” Natalia said in a recent discussion. “I am not sure. Maybe in the future, but right now my home is here. I am with my parents, so it’s easier, the new life.”

Choosing to move to Canada

Unlike a traditional family move, Natalia acknowledged the decision was connected with some personal challenges in Colombia and had little to do with the work status of her 48-year-old mother, Nelly, and 53-year-old father, Julio.

Natalia has a business degree in the not-always-peaceful country she and her parents — and cats — are leaving behind.

While Natalia is attending CultureWorks, her parents are looking for work in their new country. Her mother is a nurse; her father a pet nutritionist for cats and dogs. They are also working on their English.

“Here, they are improving their level of English because it is necessary if they want to find something to work at in their fields,” Natalia said.

Natalia talks about what it’s like to study English in Canada

Meanwhile, Natalia is also taking on the challenge of learning English as a second language. She is winning, her CultureWorks teachers tell her, but she is not always certain.

Natalia talks about her ESL studies at CultureWorks. “Here it is like I am learning to speak again. So I feel like a baby, a kid that only says blah, blah, blah.”

“Here in Canada, the first days were terrible. The weather was different, the language was different, everything was different. So it was difficult, but with time, I am improving my English. I improve my ability to be here, so I think that I am good, but I am trying to do better things here.

“I hope that I can improve my level in English, especially in grammar and pronunciation, because, it is very difficult for me.”

She will survive the English battle.

“Oh my God, actually last night, I was thinking about how I am not sure who I am because here I am a different person. For example, in Colombia, I have a degree, so for me in Spanish it is very easy to write an essay.

“Here, it is like I am learning to speak again, so I feel like a baby, a kid that says only blah, blah, blah. I feel like that here in Canada. Everything has changed. Everything.

Natalia has a somewhat different best friend in London and Canada.

“For me, here in Canada, my best friend is Google Maps. It is my best friend. It is my favourite tool in life.”

Joel Melton, one of Natalia’s CultureWorks ESL teachers, says she is “learning to embrace this new culture and take the good with the bad.”

Natalia discusses her love of Colombia and Canada

She plans to attend either University of Toronto or Western when she completes her CultureWorks English for university study program and moves to a Masters degree.

Natalia has also every intention of helping Colombia improve its status.

“I am very sad, because it is my country, because I study political science, because I want to help build a better country, but I cannot. But I can’t, I can’t,” she said.

Natalia has not lost the love of her country, in fact, far from it.

“I want to say that Colombia is more than drugs. People think that Colombia is only drugs and no, Colombia is a beautiful place with beautiful people,” she said.

“We have many, many beautiful places, delicious food … we are a people that every day wakes up for work to make the world a better place.”

And thoughts about Canada?

“I am happy. I am so happy. Canada is a beautiful country. It’s very friendly. I love Canada. I am very happy to be here, very happy.

“I have a challenge, but I am OK. I hope that I am OK …

Her teachers vote yes.

Would you like to study English in Canada?

Find out how CultureWorks can help.

Punjabi student adapts after a little help from her family and the teachers and students at our ESL school

Harpreet (left front) enjoys a London, Ont., sushi dinner with her parents, her sister and brother, and her sister’s children.

 

Harpreet says the CultureWorks teaching style is much more suitable to her than the classes back in the Punjab.

Harpreet Kaur is 22 and a new student in the CultureWorks ESL program in London, Ont.

She is also the only current CW student from Punjab, a state bordering Pakistan in the heart of India’s Sikh community. Punjab, itself, has two-thirds of the population of Canada.

Starting in Level 6, Harpreet’s English is good, her personality vibrant, and her ability to make friends easier than most.

All was well, you would think, especially with her older sister living in London as well.

However, there was a large “but” when she first arrived for her ESL school. It was something you would not have guessed talking to her six weeks after she came to Canada.

Harpreet felt homesick when she first began to study English in Canada

Despite that million-dollar smile, she was no different than any other international student leaving her or his homeland to study English in Canada.

“When I arrived here, for approximately one week, I was just crying,” Harpreet said. “I just wanted to leave Canada and go back to my home country.

“But my sister and brother helped me a lot to be here. I think my sister and brother held me every time, explaining the benefits of being in Canada.”

It was a huge help that her sister Prabhjot Kaur Malhi, 34, is in London and her brother, Jagpreet Singh Sidhu, 30, lives just down the highway in Peterborough, Ont.

Harpreet is now part of the London household.

“I feel very comfortable because my family is here, because my siblings are here. So that is a great moment when I go with them for an outing.

“It is great for me because we get together after a long time of five to six years of being apart. Didn’t spend much time with them. It’s a good time in Canada for me.”

Originally, Harpreet was just coming to Canada for a visit, but her sister was quick to point out the advantages of staying put and working on her education.

“My sister said I could do some study in Canada, then she actually told me about CultureWorks. She organized everything for me because I didn’t know anything about Canada. It’s my first time here.

The other piece of the puzzle that led to solving the homesickness involved the CultureWorks English for academic purposes courses themselves.

One of Harpreet’s CultureWorks teachers, Linda Beckley, says the newcomer from India is an outstanding student, “willing to take risks.”

One of Harpreet’s CultureWorks teachers, Linda Beckley, says the newcomer from India is an outstanding student, “willing to take risks.”

“At the very first time, I just felt very awkward, but when I met with my classmates, and met with my teachers, I felt they were very friendly, because they all respect me and I respect all of them,” she said.

“So I didn’t feel any awkward moments with them. I just felt very comfortable with them in class. It is a good time for me.”

Harpreet wants to follow her older sister’s university path and that involves Brescia University College, where her sister now studies.

Harpreet has many goals for after her English for academic purposes courses

“I want to pursue further study in my field. I just want to get admission in bachelor of food and nutrition program because it is my dream to become a dietician.

“That’s why I am very eager to get into that program and just put all my efforts into becoming a good dietician in Canada.”

She said she would like, however, some help with the weather. The London spring has not been suitable for Canadians, let alone guests from Asia.

“When I arrived here, there was too much cold. That’s rough for me to survive in too much cold because I am not used to this type of weather. But the people are very friendly.”

Harpreet said she will miss India.

“There are lot things we can do with our friends. In India, there is education, there is entertainment, there are religious places, and there are historical places which we can visit.”

She acknowledges there are challenges, however, in every country.

“The environment … obviously in India. Pollution is a big problem and water, air. Mostly air pollution causes many types of problems. Health diseases like bronchitis, asthma.

Harpreet (left front) enjoys a London, Ont., sushi dinner with her parents, her sister and brother, and her sister’s children.
Harpreet (left front) enjoys a London, Ont., sushi dinner with her parents, her sister and brother, and her sister’s children.

“These are the challenges and that’s why we live in Canada.”

And that is where her smile now rests.

Are you looking for a caring and supportive ESL school?

Learn more about what makes CultureWorks so special.

CultureWorks students are now eligible for conditional admission to Algoma University

 

We are happy to share the news that CultureWorks students are now eligible for conditional admission to Algoma University. This new pathway will provide additional options for students studying with CultureWorks in China or in Canada.

Founder Tina Bax says “Our mission is to provide students with access to education. Algoma offers an experience that many other Canadian universities do not, due to its location and program offerings. We look forward to sharing the Algoma story with our students and their parents”.

The tale of how the ‘newspaper guy’ becomes the Daily Boomalang moderator.

The ‘newspaper guy’ heads up the Sun Media team at the 2012 London Olympics. Here they gather at St. Pancras International Station on the final day.
The ‘newspaper guy’ heads up the Sun Media team at the 2012 London Olympics. Here they gather at St. Pancras International Station on the final day.

The year was 2014 when the career of the lifetime “newspaper guy” ended.

But, as it turned out, not his employment dealing with the news of the day.

His one-year stint with the Metro daily paper had come to a stop when the London, Ont., version closed.

That was after 16 ½ years at Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. And two stints at the London Free Press (one stint in which he overlaps with Sun Media) adding up to 24 years.

Ok, yes he’s old, but doesn’t act that way. Sometimes, you wish he would.

Newspaper mail boy and copy boy, sports writer, sports desk editor, photo editor times two, sports editor times two and finally back to sports writer.

The end was not what he wanted, despite the long haul. Where would he go?

Joining the team at our ESL school

Maybe head back to the golf club where he worked in the pro shop as a teenager. Or back to where he started, delivering The Globe as a 10-year-old in Owen Sound, Ont., or the London Free Press in St. Thomas, Ont., as a 12-year-old.

He was too young to retire, too poor to run away to Jamaica, too energetic to not be dealing with people on a daily basis.

Within days, CultureWorks Founder and President Tina Bax invited the “newspaper guy” for lunch. She had an idea how to keep him employed.

And if you know Tina, ideas are not something she has in short supply.

Within minutes, she explained how her “vision” was going to work. At this point, there was no staff for the project, no name attached. But it did sound much like a newspaper position.

A few months later, it became a reality.

An English as a second language class about news and current events

This new online course would allow students to practice their listening and speaking skills anywhere there is internet access. Carried out in real time, this is focused on daily current events, guided by a course moderator. Topics include a mix of international, national and local news.

Students completing their intensive English training have the opportunity to critically reflect upon the news, share opinions and discuss a variety of topics within an intimate class format. The size of the online class – no more than 8-10 students – allows regular conversation in English, helping students build up the confidence needed to reach their goals. And the online forum is always encouraging and never intimidating!

In the fall of 2014, the vision came into play. Plenty of discussion on how exactly the class discussions would be shared with the moderator, ultimately the newspaper guy’s role in this online class.

A name had to be attached and a group of downtown London staffers sat down and worked on the ultimate name game.

By the end of the day, the official name was sent to us from a New York taxi where several members of CultureWorks administration were on their way to the airport and home.

Feelings were not hurt. The suggested name from the taxi was perfect – the Daily Boomalang. Sounded much like a newspaper name, was a takeoff on the boomerang and perhaps had something to do with the newspaper’s guy last name.

The Daily Boomalang started out as a separate project with London, Oshawa and Ottawa students included. Then it became an elective and finally a weekly class for all London-based CultureWorks students.

Three nights, 50-minute classes, several different news stories, too much Donald Trump, too little baseball, too many plane crashes, too little on global warming.

Mornings are spent selecting the news stories for the evening classes. Newspaper guy loves it. Essentially a split shift, allowing him to go for a run in between.

And allows the newspaper guy to step aside for one absolutely necessary Daily Boomalang component.

That would be IT expert Peter Choi who puts together the photos and videos and makes certain all students are connected in each class from their home-stays or whatever site they may have chosen to be seated.

The Masters graduate in computer engineering is required to “baby sit” the newspaper guy, also known as the guy with a Blackberry.

And we also needed the keen students from China, Vietnam, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc.

At this point, the newspaper guy becomes the moderator when the students hit the online classroom. The students have had a chance to review the news stories, links posted earlier in the day. He leads the discussions.

‘Newspaper guy’ on duty for the online classes in London, Ont.
‘Newspaper guy’ on duty for the online classes in London, Ont.

Soon after, the newspaper guy turns into something different as he works his way through the daily online English as a second language classes.

He becomes a fan.

He smiles a lot. He becomes a cheerleader. He watches and listens. He wants the students to do well. He wants to join them in their CultureWorks outings. He wants all of them to not miss a class.

He also combines with Peter to capture the students on video clips, talking about the news stories of the day, the week, the year. He spends time learning how to pronounce Jingxuan’s name.

And now five years later, he wants to meet the alumni and hear about their successes.

The newspaper guy clearly enjoys being part of the CultureWorks family.

Would you like to join the CultureWorks family?

Learn more about enrolling in our ESL school in Canada!

How ESL school can help you tackle the most common English pronunciation mistakes

English as a second language program

Correct pronunciation in English can be tricky. Sometimes, two words that are spelled completely differently are pronounced exactly the same way (such as “write” and “right”). Then there are words that are spelled the same way, but are pronounced differently (such as the verb “read,” which can be pronounced “reed” or “red” depending on whether it’s used in the present or past tense).

These rules can definitely feel confusing. But the good news is that English pronunciation isn’t as challenging as it may appear. Attending an ESL school in Canada is an especially effective way of overcoming the most common pronunciation mistakes. Here’s how.

ESL school can help you spot letters that have more than one pronunciation

The English alphabet has 26 letters, but there are actually 40 different sounds (called phonemes) in the English language. This means that some letters have more than one sound. The letter “c,” for example, can have a hard sound that’s similar to a “k,” such as in the word “cat.” At the same time, it can also have a softer sound that’s close to an “s,” such as in the word “ceiling.” These different sounds for just one letter can be easy to miss if you’re learning English at home out of a book. However, if you’re studying in a classroom with a native English teacher, they’ll be able to spot when you’re pronouncing certain words incorrectly.

English has many letters with more than one sound
English has many letters with more than one sound

Studying in Canada can help you get used to English’s more unusual sounds

Some sounds in English are unusual and don’t appear in many other languages. One of the most difficult of these is the “th” sound. While challenging for many, this is a very common sound in English. It shows up in important words such as “the,” “this,” “that,” and “thing.” Mastering the “th” sound is definitely a challenge, so don’t get frustrated if you have trouble with it. Even young children who are native English speakers often have difficulty with it.

While most people will still be able to understand you if you have trouble with the “th” sound, you should try to master it as best you can. This is usually easier to do if you live in an English-speaking country. Unlike in your home country, where the “th” sound may be unusual, when you study English in Canada, you’ll be hearing and speaking English every day. As a result, you can get used to hearing the “th” and other unique English sounds, which will help you get used to using them yourself.

ESL school will help you feel comfortable making pronunciation mistakes

The best way to learn how to speak English is to actually speak it. That can be intimidating since English isn’t your mother tongue. However, by being in an ESL school where everybody else is a language learner, you’ll feel much more comfortable practising your English pronunciation. In fact, at CultureWorks you can even take elective courses such as Pronunciation & Conversation, where you can focus on improving your English abilities. In these courses, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. By making mistakes and learning from them, your pronunciation will get better!

ESL school allows you to practise your pronunciation in a comfortable setting
ESL school allows you to practise your pronunciation in a comfortable setting

Do you want to learn English in Canada?

Contact CultureWorks to learn about our English as a second language program.

3 tips for overcoming homesickness during your intensive English program

English as a second language school

Studying English in Canada is an amazing opportunity. You’ll get to explore a foreign country, meet interesting people, and learn a new language all at the same time. However, while studying abroad is an exciting experience, it is quite common to miss your home, family, and friends while you are away. Missing your home while you’re away even has its own word in English: homesickness.

If you’re feeling homesick, it is important to know that you are not alone. Missing your home life and culture is common, especially after the initial excitement of arriving in a new country fades. Luckily, most students learn to overcome homesickness so that they can continue enjoying their time abroad.

Here are 3 ways you can overcome homesickness:

1. Meet friends through social activities in your intensive English program

Having a circle of friends will help you feel less isolated while you study English abroad. However, making friends in a new country may feel difficult at first, especially when you don’t know many people. Fortunately, studying English makes meeting people much easier. Ask your classmates if they would like to form a study group or suggest and plan a visit to a local attraction. If reaching out to new people feels intimidating, take part in the social activities that your English as a second language school offers. For example, your school may offer social activities, such as field trips or board games nights. Attending these events can be a great way to meet new people.

Making friends with your classmates is a great way to overcome homesickness
Making friends with your classmates is a great way to overcome homesickness

2. Maintain connections with your home, but don’t dwell on social media

Another way to overcome homesickness is to maintain some connections to your home country. For example, you should call or chat online with friends and family back home regularly. It’s also a good idea to find a grocery store that sells imported food from your home country. This way, you can still enjoy some of the foods you love while you are away, and perhaps even share them with the new friends you make!

However, don’t dwell too much on what you are missing back home. While staying in touch with your friends is definitely a good idea, spending hours on social media looking at what they are doing is not. Try to limit your social media use to a few hours per week. Too much social media can make you feel lonelier, since you will feel as though you are missing out on events back home. Instead, focus on the friends you are making while you study English. Those friends may even be able to share tips about how they have overcome their own feelings of homesickness.

3. Stay open to exploring your new home when you study English abroad

The first week of arriving to a new country is usually the most exciting. Everything will seem new and fascinating. However, once this initial excitement wears off, it can be easy to take things for granted and to start to miss home. To combat this, seek out new experiences even after that first wave of excitement fades. Whether you study English in Ottawa or in London, Ontario, there are many incredible things to see and do after the first week.

For example, Ottawa has a lot of world-class cultural and historic attractions, such as the Rideau Canal—which you can skate on during the winter. London, meanwhile, is home to great festivals, including Sunfest, which is the second-largest world music festival in Canada. These are great attractions to explore on your own or with your classmates. Remaining open to exploring your surroundings and seeking new experiences will help you appreciate what an amazing opportunity studying abroad is.

Remember to keep exploring what makes your new home unique, like the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
Remember to keep exploring what makes your new home unique, like the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

Do you want to study English abroad?

Contact CultureWorks to learn more about our intensive English program!

4 reasons to visit Niagara Falls while attending ESL school in Canada

ESL school in Canada

Niagara Falls is one of the most famous natural wonders in Canada. If you study English in London, Ontario you’ll be just two hours away from this must-see sight. Of course, the main reason for visiting Niagara Falls is to see the incredible waterfalls themselves. But did you know there are actually many other attractions nearby that are also worth a visit?

Visiting Niagara Falls is a highlight for countless people who come to study English in Canada. It is also a fantastic opportunity to spend a fun-filled day with friends and classmates. You’ll get to see an amazing natural attraction and even practice your English language skills while you’re at it.

1. Practice your English language skills with a boat cruise to the falls

For a truly unforgettable way to see the falls, take one of the boat cruises available. The most popular Niagara Falls boat cruise is the Maid of the Mist, which departs from the U.S. side. However, there is another cruise called the Hornblower that leaves from the Canadian side. Both cruises take you past the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls: the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Because these are guided tours, they are a great opportunity to test the skills you learn in your intensive English program. You’ll get really close to the falls and you will definitely get wet, so make sure your camera is waterproof!

2. Stay past dark to see fireworks and the illumination of the falls

You may be surprised to know that for many people the best time to see the falls is not during the day, but at night. That’s because as soon as the sun sets, the waterfalls are lit up in different colours using incredibly powerful LED lights. Different colours of lights are used to mark special occasions or to promote worthy causes. This light show is an incredible sight that occurs every night of the year. Even better, from mid-June to September there is a nightly fireworks show above the waterfalls.

The falls are lit up with lights and fireworks every night during the summer
The falls are lit up with lights and fireworks every night during the summer

3. Join your ESL classmates for a day of thrills at Clifton Hill

One of the most popular attractions in Niagara Falls is called Clifton Hill. Clifton Hill is a street lined with a lot of fun and even bizarre attractions, such as wax museums, haunted houses, video arcades, a Guinness World Records Museum, and miniature golf courses. Clifton Hill is an entertaining place to visit with friends and classmates from your ESL school in Canada. Many of the buildings have very outlandish architecture and the street is often compared to Las Vegas. In the middle of Clifton Hill is the Niagara SkyWheel, which is a giant Ferris wheel offering spectacular views of the falls.

Clifton Hill is a great place to enjoy fun attractions such as haunted houses and a Ferris wheel
Clifton Hill is a great place to enjoy fun attractions such as haunted houses and a Ferris wheel

4. Take a look behind Niagara Falls during your intensive English program

Another inspiring way to see the famous waterfalls is by visiting Journey Behind the Falls. This attraction takes you down an elevator into a network of tunnels that have been carved into the rock behind Niagara Falls. From these tunnels you get to see behind the waterfalls and really feel how powerful they are. There is also an outdoor observation deck located at the bottom of the falls that is great for photo opportunities.

Do you want to study English as a second language in Canada?

Contact CultureWorks today to learn about our programs!

CultureWorks, Brescia teamwork paying off for EAP students.

CultureWorks teacher Melissa Douglas and her PYP students take a break for a photo-op …
CultureWorks teacher Melissa Douglas and her PYP students take a break for a photo-op …

The relationship between CultureWorks EAP school and Brescia University College is a solid one.

To begin with, you don’t have to look any farther than the CultureWorks home office — located on Brescia property known as the Mary Manor – to see the educational teamwork.

It was back in June of 1961 when the Ursuline sisters of Brescia purchased the Mary Manor to help house some of the students and sisters.

Several decades later, CultureWorks rented the space. Teachers and staff moved their day-to-day operations into the building, now referred to by CW students as the “White House.”

Other than bricks and mortar, there are many other reasons for the ongoing relationship between the two organizations.

A special English as a second language program

On this occasion, it is a time to remind all of a special ESL program that began with Brescia and now has language training support from CultureWorks.

The program we refer to is the Preliminary Year Program, or PYP if you prefer.

… And now, the photo-op is over and it is time for the CultureWorks students to get back to their classroom work.
… And now, the photo-op is over and it is time for the CultureWorks students to get back to their classroom work.

“All PYP students are Brescia students. Officially, they are Brescia students. We come in at the language level and we are teaching them English language skills,” CultureWorks Academic Director Meredith McGregor said, in explaining the relationship.

Meredith said it has been many years since Brescia started the PYP program. It was established because there was a need for students who wanted to go to university, but they did not have all the required high school credits.

“So it gave students an opportunity to come in, do the credits needed just to enter university, and then also pick up a credit or two prior to starting their first year of university.”

There are four options for students taking the English as a second language program, Meredith said, but for this purpose we will focus on the two major ones involving CultureWorks. (All four are outlined at the bottom of this story).

CW Academic Director Meredith McGregor walks us through the PYP program.
CW Academic Director Meredith McGregor walks us through the PYP program.

“Language only: It’s for students who are only focusing on English language skills. They are not taking credits. They are not allowed to yet. Those students come in with a certain level of proficiency and are just focusing on reading, writing, listening and speaking and all the academic skills they need.”

Meredith said it’s one semester and as soon as they finish successfully, they advance into the second semester.

“Language-plus credit: Now they are taking fewer hours of English-language training – goes down to 14 hours, 24 hours in the lower level —- plus a credit, so they can take a university credit. It could be a math, could be sociology, could be physics.”

An ESL program for students who want to attend Brescia or another Canadian university

Brescia, an all-women’s university, allows males to take classes at Brescia.

“I am not sure when that started, but for many, many years. Even when I was going to Western, I took a course at Brescia where there were guys in my class. They can take a course. They just can’t be enrolled as full-time Brescia students.”

Meredith said the PYP program was never intended just to join Brescia, although you could take your PYP program and go right into Brescia.

It is meant to go anywhere and Brescia will help you with the process of applying to other institutions.

Meredith said the PYP track was a large CultureWorks success in September with three cohorts and about 50 students.

“It’s really been an important part of our student body this year. I think the goal is for it to continue to grow. I think that is a goal CultureWorks has and that is a goal Brescia has as well.

“So we are working together.”

Here are the details for the four PYP options.

Option 1: Language + Preliminary Year Credits

  • Students needing English language courses can combine that coursework with Preliminary Year credits to satisfy university admission requirements.
  • Students with a 6.0 IELTS or equivalent can take English courses + Preliminary Year credits. Students with below 6.0 IELTS may be eligible to take this combination, but will be subject to individual review and approval. Students presenting below a 5.5 IELTS can study language full-time, and add Preliminary Year credits once a higher level of English is obtained in the program.
  • Students will be assisted in applying to the final university of their choice as part of the program.

Option 2: Language + First Year Credits

  • Students needing English language courses can combine that coursework with first year university credits to receive advanced standing into year one or two.
  • Students with a 6.0 IELTS or equivalent can take English courses + credits. Students with below 6.0 IELTS may be eligible to take this combination, but will be subject to individual review and approval. Students presenting below a 5.5 IELTS can study language full-time, and add credits once a higher level of English is obtained in the program.
  • Students will be assisted in applying to the final university of their choice, as part of the program.

Option 3: Preliminary Year Credits Only

  • An opportunity to complete first-year university admission requirements and learn the skills you will need to succeed in university: essay writing, taking lecture notes, writing examinations, etc.
  • Students are enrolled in 5 academic subjects plus a non-credit course designed to provide study skills and transition support
  • Students will be assisted in applying to the final university of their choice, as part of the program.

Option 4: Preliminary Year + First Year Credits

  • A co-educational pre-university qualifying year.
  • Students will be assisted in applying to the final university of their choice, as part of the program.

(More information on the Preliminary Year Program can be found in the CultureWorks website. https://cultureworkstheschool.com/english-program/preliminary-year-program/)

Are you interested in taking the Preliminary Year Program?

Learn more about how CultureWorks can help you learn English as a second language and prepare for university!

Studying an ESL program? Learn 4 ways Canadians celebrate Valentine’s Day

learn English as a second language

In Canada, Valentine’s Day falls on February 14 and it is a day to celebrate love and romance. While most Canadians don’t get Valentine’s Day off from work, it is still considered an important holiday, especially for those in romantic relationships. If you study English in Canada, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Canadian culture, including the many holidays it celebrates. Here are just a few things Canadians like to do on February 14.

1. Students in an ESL program in Canada will see many full restaurants on Valentine’s Day

About a third of Canadian couples celebrates Valentine’s Day by going out for dinner at a restaurant. So if you plan on going to a restaurant in February, you better make a reservation far in advance! Many couples also stay at home and cook a romantic meal. Certain types of food are definitely considered more romantic than others in Canada. French, Italian, Spanish, and sushi restaurants, for example, tend to be really popular for a romantic night out. Hamburgers, fried chicken, and fast food, however, are considered a lot less romantic!

2. Both children and adults exchange Valentine’s Day cards in Canada

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults. In elementary schools, young children often make valentines and give them to their classmates. A valentine is a small card decorated with hearts and flowers. It is usually sent anonymously, so that the person getting the valentine won’t know who sent it. Even adults sometimes exchange cards on Valentine’s Day, although usually they are for their romantic partners and not for friends and acquaintances! When you study in an ESL program in Canada, you will often find entire aisles of department stores and pharmacies filled with Valentine’s Day cards for sale in February.

ESL program
Young children often make their own valentines and share them with their classmates

3. Couples will often give gifts to one another on Valentine’s Day

Many couples exchange gifts, like chocolate or flowers, on Valentine’s Day. Red roses are definitely the most popular flower to exchange on Valentine’s Day. If you are from a country that celebrates White Day, you may be used to women giving men gifts on Valentine’s Day. Canada does not celebrate White Day, therefore on Valentine’s Day there is no expectation that only women give gifts. Instead, couples are free to exchange gifts however they want. In fact, many couples don’t exchange gifts at all and prefer to just spend the day together.

English as a second language
Roses and chocolates are some of the most popular gifts to exchange on Valentine’s Day

4. Many Canadians prefer memorable experiences on Valentine’s Day

When you learn English as a second language in Canada, you will encounter many people saying they dislike exchanging gifts on Valentine’s Day because they find it too commercial. Instead of exchanging gifts, a lot of couples prefer doing fun and romantic activities together on Valentine’s Day, such as going to the spa, taking dance lessons, or going ice skating together. For many people, these experiences tend to be far more meaningful and memorable than flowers or chocolates.

Do you want to learn English in Canada?

Contact CultureWorks to learn about our English as a second language program!

Why should you learn English as a second language if you want a career in business?

learn English as a second language

English is now the language of international business, and if you want a successful business career, knowing how to read and write in English can be very useful. Fluency in English can help you immigrate to an English-speaking country, attend an English-speaking university, and understand other cultures all over the world.
All of those advantages—along with others we’ll discuss below—can be extremely useful to succeeding in your career, especially if you would like to have a career in business.

Many businesses are making English their working language

Even in non-English countries, companies often expect their employees to speak English. Many companies operate all over the world and meetings can often only be understood by everybody attending if they are in English. Some global companies have made English their working language. For example, Sodexo in France, Nissan in Japan, and Siemens in Germany have all made English their official working languages for senior staff.

English for university study
Global companies often conduct meetings entirely in English

Learn English as a second language and you will have more career opportunities

While you may be able to get employed without English, you can only go so far in your career without it. At some point, English will likely help you advance. For example, your boss may be looking to promote somebody to negotiate a valuable contract with a new American client. By being fluent in English, you can open many additional opportunities and take your career even further!

English can help you learn new skills

English isn’t just the language of business—it is also the language of academia. If you decide to attend university, then already learning English for university study will give you a big advantage. According to the Times Higher Education Supplement, 45 of the top universities in China now offer programs taught in English. That is even more than the total number of universities that teach programs in English in Canada (at 29) or Australia (at 31)! Many universities in Europe, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, also teach courses exclusively in English.
English can help you learn new business skills at university.

ESL schools
English can help you learn new business skills at university

English translators won’t help you connect with business clients

You may wonder why you can’t just hire a translator if you have to meet with an English-speaking colleague. The reason a translator won’t help you is because success in business depends on personal relationships. While a translator can make sure your English-speaking colleagues understand you and you understand them, it is difficult to make a personal connection with somebody if you can only communicate through a translator. Having a personal connection makes it easier to build long-term and successful business relationships.

Learning English will help you better understand different cultures

To connect with somebody from an English-speaking country, it helps if you understand their culture. Knowing the language is the key to unlocking any culture. By learning English, you will be able to watch English-language TV shows and movies, listen to English-language songs, and more. Understanding English-language culture will make it much easier for you to network with clients around the world. If you learn English as a second language in an immersive environment, then you will become more familiar with the culture faster.

Are you ready to discover the many advantages of learning English?

Contact CultureWorks and learn how to attend our ESL schools in Canada.