Study in Canada

CultureWorks students, I applaud you! Again you find yourselves at the end of another successful term, glowing from your efforts studying English.  And again, we need to reflect upon why you are able to realize your academic dreams.  Of course, hard work and determination are the key components ~ you should be very proud of yourselves!  But the other component is quite clear too, although maybe too obvious to realize sometimes:  you chose to study in Canada!

I stumbled upon this amazing article today and had to share it with you.  If you need a reminder why you chose Canada, or you know someone who wants to come here to study, read and share this article. It is amazing.

Canada is built to help people succeed.  Our educational policies set out by the government are designed to help students build their future.  Whether you are studying in London, Oshawa, or Ottawa, you have experienced the amazing support our country brings to facilitate your learning.  Furthermore, Canada is proud to have international learners come to our great shores!

Have a spectacular term break!  Enjoy our mighty country and come back to the classroom with stories to tell!



Canadian Compassion
RCMP Officers at memorial

This was a very sad, but historical week in Canada.  After the terrible shootings of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Officers in Moncton, New Brunswick., a memorial was held on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014.  As you can see from the picture above, RCMP officers’ uniforms are red.  To show their support, thousands of Canadian citizens also wore red to demonstrate compassion for the fallen officers.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 11.49.11 AM Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 11.49.25 AM Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 11.49.36 AM #wearred #wearred

This is a great example of the Canadian social mentality.  When bad things happen to members of our communities, Canadians try their best to express sincere concern and support for those who are suffering.  Without question, it is easier to go through difficult times when you are supported by others.

Try to keep this in mind as you pursue your studies in Canada.  Support your classmates if they are struggling, whether it is at school or socially.  If you hear someone is having a hard time, reach out and show them you care!  Together, we triumph over adversity.

For more #wearred pictures:

“Down to Earth” ~ An Interview with Meredith McGregor @ CultureWorks London!

meredethmcgregor_hrPlease welcome Meredith McGregor to the Hotspot! After reading her interview, you’ll learn she is a thoughtful and sincere person.  You might even say she’s “Down to Earth”.  I’d love to have her as a teacher!

How long have you been working at CultureWorks?  What is it about teaching English that you like the most?

I started as a substitute teacher at CultureWorks in the Fall of 2010 and then began full-time in January of 2011. The staff and students are the best part about teaching at CultureWorks. What I like best about teaching English for CW is the academic nature of the program.

What are your hobbies?  Which of them do you recommend new students to Canada try, and why?

I teach dance aerobics part-time for a gym. This is something I really enjoy doing in my spare time. I also like cooking and reading.

 There are a lot of students from a wide variety of cultures at our school, and each culture is rich in music, food, film, art, history, and stories.  Which of these cultural features would you be most interested in learning about?  Why?

Since working for CultureWorks, I have become really interested in visiting China one day.  I think it would be nice to have a better sense of where our Chinese students come from, and be able to relate to them better. Also, it just sounds like a really diverse and interesting country with a rich culture and history.

 What is your role at CultureWorks? Which courses do you specialize in?  How do you feel these skills will aid our students in university or college?  Do you have any advice you’d like to give students in these areas?

I mostly teach Level C/D Writing and Grammar. Being able to write well is an important skill not only for post-secondary studies, but for employment as well. My advice is to develop your vocabulary so that you are able to express yourself clearly and directly. Having strong diction is an asset that influences all aspects of communication.

 Lastly, for fun, if you could visit any Canadian province, where would you go? Why?

I would love to see more of Canada because I feel like I have traveled more outside of my own country than domestically. I have never been to Nova Scotia, so maybe I would choose to go there, especially during the summer.



The weather is warmer, the grass is bright green, and we’ve all finished watching Breaking Bad.  Time to get outside and play some sports!

You can learn a lot about yourself by doing sports (like how good you look in shorts), and you can actually learn a lot of English, too.  Between high school and university I rowed for seven years, and learned a lot of language out on the water.  We used to chant, “ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL” before every race.  It means we promised to work as a team, to do it for ourselves and every team member, equally.  Unfortunately the rest of the language we used out on the water isn’t appropriate for sharing, but I can show you some practical sports idioms! Check out this awesome video to help get your ‘head in the game’ (to focus on what’s important):











To Oshawa, With Love

Dear CultureWorks Oshawa,

A few weeks ago we, the CultureWorks Marketing Team, left your embrace.  We can assure you however, your embrace has not left us!  We had such a great time visiting your classrooms, your teachers, and of course we had an amazing time at your Mother Language Festival.  Really and truly, you spoiled us.

It was an adventure getting to Oshawa, actually.  You can see we DESPERATELY needed coffee for the road trip, and a healthy splash of fruits and veggies.  But no matter how well-nourished we were, we still ran into road blocks!

blurry coffeesmoothieme

road block











But in the end, we arrived at UOIT just in time to hear fantastic testimonials from our students.  Check out these two great videos:

All of our Oshawa students and teachers have such great spirit and energy!  Even through the longest winter of all time, this campus keeps smiling!  Keep up the positivity guys!

Oh! And I almost forgot!  If you’re ever hungry in downtown Oshawa, the burritos at Jimmy Guaco’s are amazing!  Big and spicy!!  I actually think they’re the reason we didn’t run into any more road blocks on the way home!

photo 1photo 2









For now Oshawa, remember that we think of you often and will love you always.  Am I being too dramatic?  Never!


The Marketing Team: Christina, Mike, and Harrison

For more pictures of our trek to your awesome campus, including the Mother Language Festival, please visit our Facebook page:






Rant and Rave!

ranat and raveWhat’s the difference between a rant and a rave?

When you love something, like a really delicious meal for example, you ‘rave’ about it to all your friends.  You go on and on about how tasty the soup was, how crispy the chicken…you get the idea.  So you might hear this expression: “Thanks for dinner last night.  My boyfriend can’t stop raving about the chicken wings!”

So, a rant is the exact opposite.  If you really dislike something, like a movie, you ‘rant’ about it.  You continuously complain about how terrible the acting was, how stupid the plot, or how boring the ending.  So, you might hear this expression, “Larry ‘went off’ on a rant about that new movie, Gravity.  He hates George Clooney, big time!”

Now, most people enjoy hearing raves more than rants, of course.  Like on our Facebook page, after a CultureWorks Canadian Studies trip, our newsfeed is full of rave reviews.  Of course, right?  They rock!

But, in a weird way, rants can be very entertaining.  There’s this great comedian named Rick Mercer, who has become famous because of his awesome rants.  He’ll talk about anything that bugs him, from sports to politics to annoying people on the Internet.  It’s super funny.

rick mercer rant

Here’s a rant he did recently about Canadian winter.  He’s complaining about people who complain about the winter ~ as a Canadian, I find this rant to be very funny…and true!  And now that winter’s over, we can all start raving about spring, right?!  You thought it would never come, didn’t you!:)




For the first time in history, Canada is leading the gold medal count at an Olympics, and tied for first overall!

The games have only been on for four days, and many people are predicting that this may be the year Canada will win the total medal count overall! How exciting is that?

Now, if you are an international student at CultureWorks, you might be in a difficult situation during the Olympics.  Who do you cheer for?  You want to support  your fellow countrymen, be they Brazilians, Chinese, Saudi Arabians, Egyptians, Libyans, Koreans, Syrians, Jordanians, Turkish, Venezuelans, or Vietnamese…but you’re surrounded by Canadian patriots going crazy for their snowy, icy heroes.  That must be hard, am I right?  Personally, I don’t see it as a hard decision.  Do both!  If Korea wins a medal, that’s awesome!  If Canada also wins a medal, that’s extra awesome.  Because you’re studying in Canada, you’ve got double the reason to watch the Olympics this year.

In order to really feel the energy of the Olympics, I highly suggest you watch the Olympics in public once in a while, rather than only at home.  Of course you can see coverage at your on-campus restaurant or pub, but there is also a wide of variety of other places to go to watch the games on the big screens, with big crowds, and big energy.




If you know other places, please let me know if the comment section below.  And if you really want a close up perspective of the Olympics, check out this amazing video by past British Olympian, Graham Bell.  Hold on to something, it’s amazing!

[wpvideo JtqWoNDC]

Learn English Through Movies

After my first 8 months in Japan, I told my students that I understood what they were saying in Japanese, but I couldn’t say anything back.  The words wouldn’t come.  One of my students laughed and said, “That means you’re like a baby!”  I didn’t laugh at his joke.  You can imagine how happy I was to hear that he thought I was like a baby.  I was really trying!

Of course I understood what he meant.  When we first learn a new language, listening is important. Like a child, we hear sounds repeated, and watch people making certain faces.  So it makes sense that when you want to learn a new language, people always give the same advice, “Watch TV and movies!”  I agree, listening and watching in a new language is super important!

Check out this awesome website I found.  It shows movie trailers, and then gives listening exercises afterwards.  With the exercises, this is even better than movies and TV.  Don’t be a baby! Try doing a couple every week. 🙂