Like many of our students, CultureWorks instructors love meeting new people and visiting new countries. Avid traveler, vinyl collector, and CultureWorks instructor Matthew McGravey sat down with us for this week’s Hotspot, and we couldn’t be happier to share his story.
At CultureWorks, we know that our progressive approach to ESL education wouldn’t be possible without experienced, caring instructors. They make sure that each student feels welcomed in the classroom, and receives the personalized attention needed to excel in their English courses and make a strong start at university.
Read on to learn all about Matthew, and what advice he has for ESL students just starting out in Canada.
1. Who is your favourite Canadian musician?
I would have to say Geddy Lee from the band “Rush”. What other musician can play the bass, play synthesizers with his feet, and sing at the same time? The guy is amazing. He is also from my hometown of Toronto. Perhaps I am a little biased towards musicians from Toronto. I also love “the Band” who are from Toronto. I also really enjoy newer bands like the Arcade Fire (not from Toronto).
2. What idiomatic expression best describes you and why?
I would say “to grab life by the horns”. Like most Canadians, finding time to play is very important for me. From concerts to road trips to the USA or across Canada, I always keep myself busy. There are so many things that I want to do! It is “never a dull moment” in my life!
3. When you’re not teaching in our esl program, what are you doing? Do have any hobbies and why do you like doing them?
Where do I start? My biggest passion is collecting vinyl records. I have been collecting them since high school. I really enjoy their sound and great covers. Also, I love to travel. From Japan to Latvia, I have been to a lot of interesting places near and far. Immersing myself in a new city or culture is very enjoyable for me. It can be a little scary, but I love that feeling of walking off a plane and discovering new surroundings for the first time.
4. As a history buff, what elements of our students’ histories intrigue you and why?
I’m very interested in the histories of China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Vietnam.
All of these countries have such unique and rich histories. For each country, I tend to focus on reading about different periods. In terms of China, the Qing Dynasty is perhaps the most interesting period for me. The changes that were happening in China in the early twentieth century are quite fascinating. In terms of Brazil, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, I am interested in the economic rise of those countries in the last twenty or thirty years. It is amazing how fast these economies are developing and how those changes are shaping the twenty-first century in each country.
5. What is your advice for students enrolled in an intensive English program who are looking to write better?
I would say that “practise makes perfect”. Find different ways to write as much as possible. Keep a journal, start a blog, or even write short stories or poetry. Find something that you like to write and do that often. Your writing will get better as you practise!
6. Lastly, for fun, if you could experience a famous Canadian historical event for a day, what would it be? Why?
I would really want to go to “Expo 67”. It was this great showcase of different countries that happened in Montreal in 1967. I have some relatives who went, and it was a great moment for Canada that many of us are still proud of. There are still some buildings from this event that you can see if you go to Montreal!
Thanks, Matthew for answering our questions and telling us a bit about yourself. We are happy to have you as an instructor on our Oshawa campus.