Meet Desi Ivanova, the Eager Beaver!

desiThis week on the CultureWorks Hotspot we are joined by Desi Ivanova.  Desi has been teaching at CultureWorks since 2009 at our Oshawa campus.  As many of our students will tell you, she’s an awesome teacher and a very fun person!

Q. What is your favourite show on Netflix right now?

A. I have been watching “White Collar” its about a con-man who is given an option to help FBI agents capture other criminals in return for his freedom.

Q.What idiomatic expression best describes you and why?

A. I would say I am an eager beaver because I like learning new things and most of the time I am enthusiastic and excited about new projects. At the start of every semester I get really pumped up about new groups of students and a new start.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/American_Beaver.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/American_Beaver.jpg
http://i.neoseeker.com/
http://i.neoseeker.com/

Q. When you’re not teaching, what are you doing? Do you have any hobbies and why do you like doing them?

A. When I am not teaching, I am either cooking or spending time with my son. I try and stay healthy so I like exercising, which is my hobby I guess. Or maybe I just like it as it clears my head and helps me relax. I also enjoy reading books and watching documentaries. I am really into the documentaries right now. I just finished one on Dubai, it was very interesting.

http://cdn.shopify.com
http://cdn.shopify.com

Q. You are excellent with people, Desi. How do you make our students feel comfortable in class? What do your students need when they first come to CultureWorks?

A. I once was an ESL student myself so I understand the hardship that new students experience. I feel for their struggle to fit in and adjust to a new culture. In class, I try and keep it light and positive. I always want all of my students to be heard and to feel happy coming to class. I often try and get to know more about my students by asking them what their hobbies, favourite music/movies are. I think when students first come to CultureWorks, they need to feel welcome and excited about being here. I think they need to feel like this is their home away from home, and that someone here cares about them and their education.

9673393468_43346a50c2_z

 

Q. Lastly, for fun, if you could add one item, food or beverage, to the Tim Horton’s menu, what would it be? Why?

A. I would add Nutella sandwiches with the option of adding peanut butter because Nutella is like heaven on earth and everyone everywhere totally LOVES Nutella! Its like Italy with pasta! Canada with Nutella! 🙂

http://cdn.mtlblog.com
http://cdn.mtlblog.com

There we have it folks.  An eager beaver who loves documentaries and eats ‘nutellwiches’.  What more could you ask for in a teacher?  Thanks Desi, I hope you can stop by the blog again soon. 🙂

LOVING LONDON

CultureWorks is the original ESL school for higher education in Canada.  And London, Ontario is the school’s original location.  Our CW students have created so many great memories in London, all the way from our summer programs, through our school year, and beyond into the alumni chapter.  This Valentines Day, send some love to London, and enjoy these London memories caught on camera

Our King’s Summer students are cooking! Big smiles! (I see one male student and many female students…who says guys can’t cook?)
Behold!  Champions of English!
Behold! Champions of English! (The small guy is the teacher, btw.)
Banging the Drum at Opening Ceremonies in London!
Banging the Drum at Opening Ceremonies in London! The student on the left is really into the rhythm!
London Potluck, 2014
London Potluck, 2014
End of Term Party, London 2014
End of Term Party, London 2014
Janine, Elaine, and Liz enjoying time with London alumni, Peng Tu and Yuxiao
Janine, Elaine, and Liz enjoying time with London alumni, Peng Tu and Yuxiao

Do you have any CultureWorks pictures you’d like to share?  You can send them to us on our Facebook page!

 

As Happy As A Clam ~ An Interview with CultureWorks Instructor, Man Tran!

Man Tran enjoying Ottawa's classic Beavertails!
Man Tran enjoying Ottawa’s classic Beavertails!

Name: Man Tran

Title: EAP Instructor on Ottawa Campus, CultureWorks

Best Canadian Travel Magazine: Verge

Q.  The idiom ‘happy as a clam’ is an appropriate one for you, Man.  Your smile is so big it makes everyone around you smile, too!  What kinds of things do you do in the classroom to keep students so happy? 

Clams http://media.cmgdigital.com
Clams
http://media.cmgdigital.com

A. I simply try to welcome my students with a smile and ask them how they are doing. It’s usually pretty easy because they’re already smiling at me and asking me how I’m doing!

Q. Do you like clams, by any chance?  Do you have other favourite foods?

A. Mmm…clams! 🙂 I usually crave sushi, onigiri, dim sum, Korean BBQ, kabsa, butter chicken, pad thai, kimbab, banh mi, ramen, red velvet cupcakes, chocolate and my mom’s cooking. Nonetheless, I’m always open to trying new dishes.

Q. Wow!  There goes my diet! Tell us a bit about your interest in travelling.  Where have you been?  Where would you like to go next?  What would you say is important about seeing the world?

A. I enjoy traveling because it gives me the opportunity to interact with different people from different cultures. It is also nice to visit relatives and/or friends who I rarely see. Over the years, I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Vancouver, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec City, Tokyo, Omiya, Sapporo, Hong Kong, Macau, Okinawa, Kyoto, Dortmund, Rheine, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, New York City, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Beijing, Lijiang, Kumming, Taipei, Kenting, Sendai, Nagoya, Seoul, Halifax, Charlottetown, Cape Breton, Hopewell Cape, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Bali. Next, I’ll be making my way through Mexico. Well, I think traveling opens one’s eyes, ears, mind and heart to infinite possibilities. So, the following quote from St. Augustine is fitting: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” So, get out there, explore and keep learning!

Q. You are preparing CultureWorks’ English as an Academic Language students who may want to study at Carleton University in Ottawa.  What skills are you teaching them to succeed?  What might attract a student to study at Carleton?

Carleton Campus http://www.ipdet.org
Carleton Campus
http://www.ipdet.org

A. We are teaching them how to get organized, think critically and cope with challenges. In addition to Carleton’s wide range of programs, I think the university’s underground tunnels are a huge draw. This network allows students to stay warm and dry as they travel across the campus to places like residence, their classes, the gym and our office. Oh, and of course its library expansion will make it that much cooler to study (both literally and figuratively)! Afterall, it’s a modern design with lots more space, a 3.5 Green Globe rating, exterior sun shades and screens, and a projected grand opening in the fall…now, that is cool!

Q. Lastly, for fun, what are your top three Ottawa restaurants you would recommend? 

I would recommend Art-is-in Bakery for their gourmet sandwiches and baked goods, Dolsot Café Korean Restaurant for their homestyle cooking and The Whalesbone Oyster House for their fresh seafood.

Thanks for your time Man, we hope to have you back on the Hotspot soon!

Ramen http://www.rasamalaysia.com
Ramen
http://www.rasamalaysia.com
KImbab http://topchefkorea.files.wordpress.com
KImbab
http://topchefkorea.files.wordpress.com
Clams http://media.cmgdigital.com
Clams
http://media.cmgdigital.com
Pad Thai http://25.media.tumblr.com
Pad Thai
http://25.media.tumblr.com
Kabsa http://food.sndimg.com
Kabsa
http://food.sndimg.com
Korean BBQ http://1.bp.blogspot.com
Korean BBQ
http://1.bp.blogspot.com
Onigiri http://tx.english-ch.com
Onigiri
http://tx.english-ch.com
Red Velvet Cupcakes http://3.bp.blogspot.com
Red Velvet Cupcakes
http://3.bp.blogspot.com
Banh-Mi http://vanillabomb.files.wordpress.com
Banh-Mi
http://vanillabomb.files.wordpress.com
Butter Chicken http://shernis.com
Butter Chicken
http://shernis.com
http://library.thinkquest.org
http://library.thinkquest.org
http://www.todayifoundout.com
http://www.todayifoundout.com

Show Me the Money Pt.2 ~ Budgeting

Courtesy of www.upload.wikimedia.org
Courtesy of www.upload.wikimedia.org

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the cultural significance of  money.  Now I thought I’d discuss how to budget and balance money while at university.

I have a very clear memory of the money jar my roommates kept in the top left hand kitchen cupboard in our Montreal apartment, just above the stove.  We agreed to deposit all of our loose change at the end of every day into the jar, as a way of forcing ourselves to save.  Every week the mason jar would fill up, and by month’s end we’d count our riches.  Keep in mind this was first year university, and our majors were music, fine arts, and literature.  We didn’t know very much about money, and math did not come naturally to us.  Garth, my big-haired, English major roommate, thought that if he spent more during the week he’d get more change, and, as a result, would save more in the jar.  Contrary to Garth’s illogic however, money isn’t like credit card points.  If you spend more, you do not save more.  Once we counted the money, we decided what to spend it on.  Laundry detergent?  Our cable bill?  Even though we had good intentions at the beginning of term, by November those ‘savings’ simply became a ‘pizza fund’.  Practical?  No.  Advisable? No. Delicious?  Yes!

Courtesy of www.miltonplanning.com
Courtesy of www.miltonplanning.com

There are three key areas to consider when budgeting for college or university. Tuition, Course Materials, and Living Costs.

Tuition differs from province to province in Canada.  Ranking lowest to highest is Quebec, Ontario, and B.C. Of course, tuition costs differ for domestic and international students, so I advice to take the time to research each before making a decision.  If you are an international student considering CultureWorks ESL and higher learning, you can find our tuition costs here.  It is important to note that Canadian tuition costs are MUCH cheaper than in the U.S.

Course materials are more predictable term by term, but on average you can budget around $800 to $1,000 per year for books, or a $100 per month, either for hard copy or electronic versions.

Courtesy of www.apps.carleton.edu
Courtesy of www.apps.carleton.edu

Living costs also vary by province.  If you choose to study in London, Oshawa, or Ottawa Ontario you can find a very spacious house to share between $700.00 and $900.00 a month. Residence is also a popular option, and you can expect to pay approximately $6,000 – $7,000 annually, or $700 per month.  You can find residence costs here for Western University, UOIT, and Carleton.  Homestays are another reasonable way to go, and can you find out about CultureWorks options here.

Courtesy of www.uoit.ca
Courtesy of www.uoit.ca

Take into consideration your food budget and transportation fees as well.  Compared to the U.S., England and Australia, food is considerably more affordable in Canada.  On average, students spend about $250 per month on food in Ontario.  Residences on campus offer meal plans that cost more than if living off campus, but have great value due to their convenience.  Bus passes can range between $200-$300 per month.

Lastly, there are budgeting tips and tricks that will save you money.  Living near campus will cut transportation costs, as you will be able to walk or bike.  Carpooling is a smart idea, too.  Buying used textbooks, cooking meals with friends for the week, avoiding the use of your credit card, looking for discounts with your student card, and researching grants and scholarships will all save you money in the long run.

Courtesy of www.edmonton.ca
Courtesy of www.edmonton.ca

Keep in mind that your education is an investment, and as such you will spend more up front.  If you budget wisely, you can still save and live comfortably and have confidence that your return on your investment will be very valuable.

I almost forgot to mention the value of living with roommates!  Cutting costs together will help everyone save.  Just don’t follow my example.  Choose friends with math skills!

Happy saving!

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