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.

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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!

 

Stan Rath ~ The Best of Both Worlds

stanrathbus_lr

Today we’re joined by the one and only, Mr. Stan Rath.  Stan is one of CultureWorks’ powerhouses.  He is a teacher, a curriculum developer, and a mentor to both teachers and students.  If you want to learn something, I suggest you hang around Stan. I recently asked him some questions so you can get to know him a little better.

Q. Stan, who is your favourite Canadian musician?

A. Oscar Peterson is a world class jazz pianist. I listen to his music every day.

www.thestar.com
www.thestar.com

Q. What idiomatic expression best describes you and why?

A. I think “the best of both worlds” describes me well. I love to travel and meet people from different cultures, but I also love to stay close to home.

At CultureWorks, I experience the best of both worlds because I have many interesting students from a variety of cultures in the classroom, and I get to live in my hometown of London, Ontario.

globes-300x275
https://sendgrid.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’m not teaching, I am usually hiking or planning my next vacation. One of the best feelings for me is being close to nature, and my favourite way to do this is hiking in Algonquin Park here in Ontario.

Stan Students Niagara

I find traveling, seeing new places, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures very interesting. Two of my favourite countries that I have visited so far are India and Italy.

Q. You studied Biology before becoming a teacher. Do you think language is like science in any way? Do you draw from your scientific background in your approach to teaching?

A. I definitely think that language has scientific structure and rules, and I have found a scientific approach to teaching grammar and writing to be very effective. Many of my students have indicated that they benefit from using a formulaic approach when they practice using their vocabulary to build grammatically correct sentences.

http://www.ssri.psu.edu
http://www.ssri.psu.edu

Q. Lastly, for fun, if you could create a new word for the English language, what would it be and what would it mean?

A. gramtastic (adjective) definition: relating to the joy people feel when grammar unlocks doors to language learning

Gramtastic!  I love it!  Thanks so much for stopping by the Hotspot, I’ve really enjoyed learning more about you, and I know our CultureWorks students are lucky to have you as their teacher!

Stan Class Photo 2

Top 5 Reasons to Love CultureWorks!

Welcome to CultureWorks!  Are you excited? Do you have any idea how fantastic your experience is going to be this year?  Well, juice up your laptop batteries and open up your minds, boys and girls!  Our new term begins next week!  And to get everyone in the mood, here are the top 5 reasons you’re going to love learning English at Ontario’s premiere EAP school.

#5.  Experience Campus Life

At CultureWorks, you’re not only getting a conditional acceptance to a Canadian university, you’re also getting an on campus education in world culture.

King’s University College, Brescia University College, Western University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College and Carleton University all boast a vibrant community of learners who come from India, Europe, Africa, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Korea, China and many, many more countries.  It’s like a buffet of culture! You are going to be learning so much just by going to school together.  How cool is that?

students on campus JUNE CAMPUS 2010 LONDON

#4.  Ontario is an Awesome Playground

Let’s face it.  You can’t *always* be studying, right?  Ottawa, Toronto, and London are filled with satisfying distractions.  Live music venues, tons of restaurants, fabulous parks, a huge selection of movie theatres, and groovy coffee shops are just the beginning to some super fun times!

You might ask, “Yeah, Canada sounds great, but how do I know what to do?”  And my answer is, “Make friends with the great people in your Student Services office!”  Want to know how to rent an apartment?  Have to take a subway in Toronto?  Interested in joining a campus team?  Our CultureWorks Student Services team will help you figure out your life in Canada. Don’t be shy!

Courtesy of www.niagarafallscourtsidein.com
Courtesy of www.niagarafallscourtsidein.com

#3.  Rockstar EAP Program

eyecontact2011LONDON

It’s all about our teachers.  They make your experience real, and help make your success a reality.  They have lived overseas too, which makes CultureWorks teachers understand the language learning process and international experience like no one else.  They are  your true Canadian ambassadors.

The CultureWorks’ curriculum is one of a kind, above and beyond what any regular ESL school has to offer.  Academic level Reading, Writing & Grammar, Listening & Speaking, Pronunciation, Canadian Studies and Integrated Study Skills & Exam Preparation are blended so that you are always practicing more than one language skill at a time.   As an intensive, academic program, you will be prepared for the advanced skills required at university.

#2.  100% Authentically Canadian

The central theme to your life in Canada, is….Canada!  Right?  And how better to learn about this amazing country than to experience it?  Three times a term, students embark upon an exciting, different trip to a wide variety of Canadian destinations to share in once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  Grab your camera and upload your pictures to show your new life off to loved ones at home.

Dreamcatchers_OshawaNative_2013

#1.  CultureWorks Puts You in Control

The absolute best feature of the CultureWorks experience is that it teaches you how to take control of your learning.  We give you the opportunity and tools to work hard, reflect upon your skills, and ask your teachers smart questions.  “How can I improve my reading?”  “What is the best way to expand my vocabulary?”  “How do I make friends at university?”  When you are aware of your learning, you know which areas to develop, and that will set you on a path to success.

As your excitement builds over the next week, remember that your Canadian adventure with CultureWorks is a unique opportunity.  Not everyone lives in a foreign country, or learns another language, so take every chance to learn and enjoy.  In the end, we show you the culture and how English works.  We need you to put them together and succeed at CultureWorks.  Welcome!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcVYXvnEIwI&list=TLh7QeEE8D_rg

HAGRADGROUP_OSHAWA_APRIL2013

The Power of (S)NOW!

www.snowheart.com
www.snowheart.com

You know when you wake up and you glance out the window groggily as you make your way through your morning routine?  You’re barely half awake, yet you subconsciously need to confirm what the weather looks like before you start your…

…and then, BOOM!  White everywhere!  Welcome to beautiful Canadian winter, baby! It’s here!

Yes, yes, I know, it’s cold and your boots are heavy and it’s hard to hold anything when you’re wearing those goofy gloves. But man, is it beautiful, and clean and fresh and exciting…admit it.  You love snow. I know you do.

www.thestar.com
www.thestar.com

I like winter because it’s such a dramatic and refreshing change from the rest of the year.  A dramatic weather change like this helps you to remember where you are, and what you were doing when it happened. Also, I love winter because it brings people together, indoors, playing games and swapping stories (or apps) to help stay warm and cozy. That’s the power of snow.

For those of you experiencing this gorgeous Canadian precipitation, breathe it in and enjoy.  These are the memories that living in a foreign country are made of.  Stay warm and take lots of pictures, my friends!  I guarantee your friends back home won’t believe it.

Why do you love winter?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

www.ottawacitizen.com
www.ottawacitizen.com

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.

http://www.studentworldonline.com/article/study-in-canada-special-the-experts-answer-your-questions/194/

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!

canada_0

 

MAKING MEMORIES IN CANADA

Hello new and returning students!  Welcome to another exciting, brand new term at CultureWorks.  2014 is just getting warmed up, my friends…because it can’t get much colder, can it! Ha! (Ok, bad joke.  Too soon?)

I’d like to start the new year off with a wish.  My wish is that all of you will embrace your first week, cherish it, and remember it, because these memories are golden!  They only happen once guys. You are in Canada, studying at CultureWorks, and that’s super cool!  So here’s 5 tips to make your life as an international student memorable.  Believe me, I’ve lived abroad before.   Some people look like they’re having the time of their lives, and other people look like their doing time. (Like, in jail!)  The choice is yours!

5.  Take a picture of something everyday.

Choose something that looks new or unusual to you, compared to life in your home country.  Your friends, Canadian fashion, transportation, the food, sites, etc…These pictures will add up over time and will be a great reminder at how different, and how great, your experience was.

Thanks Gustavo!  Great pic!
Thanks Gustavo! Great pic!

4.  Think of your life in Canada like it’s an adventure.

It is!  When you wake up, tell yourself that you have no idea what weird and wonderful things you’ll see and learn.  Maybe you’ll try a new food.  Maybe you’ll meet an odd bearded Canadian at a Tim Hortons who will tell you strange stories.  Who knows!  That’s the thrill of the ride!

sunnyyq.wordpress.com
sunnyyq.wordpress.com

3.  Spice up your life.

If you feel your routine is getting dull, change things around.  Take a different route to school.  Visit a different area of Toronto, or London, or Ottawa.  Explore a new area of campus, or even join a club. Just like a good curry, life is better with spice!

http://www.pasospices.com
http://www.pasospices.com

2.  Meet people, make friends.

Honestly, the friends you make now will be with you for the rest of your lives.  When you’re 80 years old, you’ll laugh together about the time one of you took the wrong bus and ended up in Montreal.  Or the time you finished an exam and then passed out with your face in the middle of a pizza.  You get the idea.

Ottawa Holiday Party
Ottawa Holiday Party

1.  Ask questions.

This is my number one piece of advice.  Your teachers, your student services co-ordinators, your cafeteria workers, your neighbours, your homestay parents…these are all people who hold the key.  When you ask, you learn, and you will learn so much from the people around you.  And you know what?  They want to help!

9670134409_06fa2fd41f_z 9670210787_58740e26ed_z liz

I’m jealous of all of you, to be honest.  I want to feel that *new* feeling again of living and travelling abroad.  You know what?  Forget it.  I’m enrolling in CultureWorks.  I’ll pretend I’m Russian and wear a big fur hat.  See you in class!

Student Appreciation Week!

1,955,340 — That’s the approximate total number of students enrolled in Canadian universities and colleges in 2013.  Do you have any idea how many late night pizzas that is?  Yikes!

Seeing as it’s Student Appreciation Week, I’m going to dedicate this week’s blog to you, students.  Consider it a big digital hug.

Thanks for maintaining Canada’s high level of academic standards on the global scale.

Thanks for striving for excellence and furthering yourself.

Thanks for contributing to Canadian society in a constructive, intelligent, and progressive way.

And if you are an international student in Canada, thank you for diversifying our campuses, and enriching our worldview.

Check out the two awesome videos of these two CultureWorks  students, Amanda Dantas Oliveira De Medeiros, and Meshel Albaqmi.  They are being interviewed about their experiences at CultureWorks.  Excellent work you guys!  You both have excellent English speaking skills, and your positive attitude toward learning is inspiring!  Happy Student Appreciation Week to you both, and to the other 1,955,338, too!

[wpvideo 7tqnpHuj]

[wpvideo iOLKIjrq]

HAPPY ESL WEEK! (And happy everything else, too!)

It seems every time I check the calendar, there’s another reason to celebrate another aspect of our lives or society.  A few weeks ago, it was National ‘Hug a Drummer’ Day.  I guess drummers in bands don’t get a lot of respect.  And apparently there is an ‘Edible Book Day’.  Did you know about this?  It’s true.  Literature and snacks all in one.

Hug a Drummer Day.  https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net
Hug a Drummer Day. https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net
These books are cakes. http://library.law.wisc.edu
These books are cakes. http://library.law.wisc.edu

Today however, I wish you Happy ESL Week!  Oct. 21st-25 is English as a Second Language Week in Canada.  It is a time to recognize the valuable work our ESL teachers do, the exciting progress our ESL students make, and the significant impact language has in transforming lives.  Canada thrives on change and diversity, and the ESL field contributes so much to the values and identity of Canadians.

If you are studying ESL in Canada, congratulations!  You should be proud of the hard work you are doing to achieve your dreams.

If you are teaching ESL, thank you!  You should be proud to be an ambassador for the new participants in Canada’s culture.

For anyone who has learned a second language, you know how much power it gives you.  From everyone here at CultureWorks, Ontario’s leading on-campus ESL & EAP school, happy ESL week everyone!

In honour of ESL Week,  enjoy the beautiful artwork below submitted by ESL students for a contest held by TESL Ontario.   Aren’t they awesome? Other significant ESL contributors to our society include TESL Canada and Tutela.

Interestingly, it is Canadian Citizenship Week too.  The two go hand in hand, actually.  If you are downtown Toronto or by Niagara Falls tonight, check out the colours!  It should look really cool, and Canadian!

www.teslontario.net
www.teslontario.net
www.teslontario.net
www.teslontario.net

I love all the wonderful days we get to recognize.  It’s great!  I just wish they were holidays.

SUMMER FUN FOR EVERYONE

You’re cool, you’re hip, and let’s face it, you want to have fun in the sun while you’re here in Canada.  Am I right?  (If I am wrong, well then, you have every right to do otherwise.  It’s a free country after all.)

We still have many luscious weeks of summer ahead of us.  I thought it’d be a good time to let our CultureWorks students know where the good times are happening.  I sincerely URGE you to take advantage of the following festivals.  They are always interesting, different, and usually free!  Here are my selections nearest to our three campuses:

http://www.ottawafestivals.ca
http://www.ottawafestivals.ca

Ottawa CultureWorks Fun List:

Ottawa Lumiere Festival

When & Where: July 29-Aug. 17, Stanley Park

What: A family-oriented multidisciplinary arts and cultural event that culminates with an Evening of Light celebration on Aug. 17.

Information: www.lumiereottawa.com

Arboretum Arts Festival

When & where: Aug. 16-17, Arts Court, SAW Gallery Courtyard, St. Alban’s Church

What: The second annual celebration of music, food and culture has a lineup that includes Sarah Neufeld, violinist for Arcade Fire, Polaris Music prize-winning musician Owen Pallett and Ottawa singer Jim Bryson. Plus artisans, activities for kids, and The Chef Sessions, featuring some of Ottawa top chefs serving up small plates in one-hour sets.

Information: www.arborteumfestival.com

Ottawa Greekfest

When & Where: Aug. 15-25, Hellenic Centre, Prince of Wales Drive

What: Greek food, dance, music including The Zorba Show, church tours and souvenir kiosks are highlights of this annual ethnic festival.

Information: www.ottawagreekfest.com

http://monikamacmillan.files.wordpress.com
http://monikamacmillan.files.wordpress.com

Oshawa CultureWorks Fun List:

Taste of Danforth

When & Where:  Aug. 9th – Aug 11th, Danforth Ave, Toronto (Map on site)

What: There is Food, Food, and More Food – but there is also much more. There is loads of free entertainment on our Celebrity, Danforth Showcase, and Greek Stages.

Information: http://www.tasteofthedanforth.com

Toronto Busker Fest

When & Where: August 22nd to 25th, Yonge St., Toronto

What:  Free and fantastic entertainers on the street, ranging from clowns, to singer, painters, to stunt men.

Information: http://www.torontobuskerfest.com

Kensington Market (Pedestrian Sundays)

When & Where: Aug. 25th, Sept. 29th. Kensington Market is located in downtown Toronto on several streets south of College St., west of Spadina Ave., north of Dundas St. and east of Bellevue Ave.

What: A car-free street festival in one of Toronto’s coolest markets.  Music, food, dance, artisan markets, theatre…and many surprises.  If you like to people watch, this is the place for you!

Information: http://www.pskensington.ca

www.toronto.com
www.toronto.com

London CultureWorks Fun List:

Fanshawe Agricultural Fair

When & Where: Aug. 17 & 18, Fanshawe Pioneer Village, 1424 Clarke Side Road, London ON

What: Threshing, exhibits, rare breeds display and musical entertainment are but a few of the many sights and sounds of a 19th century rural fair.

Information: http://www.fanshawepioneervillage.ca

Festa Italiana

When & Where: Aug. 23-25

What: It is a three-day celebration of Italian culture, food, music and dance.  The sights, sounds and tastes of the culture of Italy are enjoyed the heart of London’s beautiful Covent Garden Market making it a true “Taste of Italy in Downtown London”.

Information: http://www.festaitaliana.ca

Argyle Art in the Park

When & Where: Aug. 24

What: Interactive arts demonstrations, live music, food, kids craft centre, an arts & crafts show & sale AND a movie showing in the park at dusk!

Information:  www.facebook.com/argyleartinthepark

Summer, like life, is what you make it.  You’re in Canada,  and I know you came to make some memories.  So get out there and enjoy yourself!  Send some pictures while you’re at it. 😉