How did this CultureWorks Saudi student manage to stay in Canada? It was simple: He was born in London, Ontario.


CultureWorks graduate Ahmad Noorwali is happy to stay put in Canada to pursue his university career in Windsor and London. Here, he debates the new smoking laws in France with Ceren from Turkey.

Ahmad Noorwali will be staying in Canada and university will be part of his future.

At the same time, the recent CultureWorks grad will miss his home town of Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian port city on the Red Sea. Jeddah is a modern commercial hub and gateway for pilgrimages to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Ahmad, 19, graduated in August, just after a dispute between the Saudi and Canadian governments led to the withdrawal of most of Saudi students going to school in Canada.

Ahmad’s reason for being allowed to stay behind is quite simple – he was born in Canada. In fact, he was born in London, Ontario. The date was July 20, 1999.

Ahmad has both Canadian and Saudi passports. His older brother, Anas, can also stay for the same reason. Anas was born in Vancouver four years earlier.

His father was finishing his medical studies at Western when Ahmad was born. Before that his father was at school in Vancouver.

How the deadline affected Ahmad and other students in Canada

A reported 8,000 Saudi students faced the Aug. 31 deadline to head home.

Another 1,000 Saudi medical trainees were given a reprieve. They were told in late August that they would be “allowed to continue in their present training programs until such time as an alternative assignment could be arranged.”

While Ahmad has discovered he can stay in Canada to complete his studies after studying English in Canada, he was not happy when he first heard the news that he would be headed back to Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad and his classmates celebrate the final day of the recent CultureWorks term.
Ahmad and his classmates celebrate the final day of the recent CultureWorks term.

“The first thing I thought was I am going back. All the work and effort I’ve put in the last six months was all gone. That’s the first thought that came to me,” Ahmad said.

“I was so sad, but at the same time I missed my home town (Jeddah). I felt like all the effort I had tried so much was failing. People, like my father for example, tried for so long to convince me to come to Canada.”

His father did win the battle with Ahmad. After all, the move to Canada for education purposes worked for his Dad.

“And after I came to Canada, everything just blew up. That’s a horrible feeling I had,” Ahmad said.

“Also my sister and my cousin – they are both doing their PhD—they finished four years of PhD and they have just their last year to write their thesis. They feel horrible. They can’t stay like I can because the government – the Saudi government – is paying for their tuition. But for me, I am paying for myself.”

Ahmad talks about the support he received from friends and teachers at our ESL school

Meanwhile, the personable Ahmad also had a great deal of support from the teachers and staff of our ESL school.

“Thankfully, from all the teachers and even (CW Principal Derek Martin) himself. He actually talked to me and all the teachers talked to me. They were all together with me, even my classmates.

Ahmad said his CultureWorks classmates and teachers -- including Principal Derek Martin -- were a big help in supporting him during the Saudi Arabia discussions.
Ahmad said his CultureWorks classmates and teachers — including Principal Derek Martin — were a big help in supporting him during the Saudi Arabia discussions.

“They were with me in the situation. Like even if I was a little bit sad or something, they made me happy. They made me feel better.”

Ahmad will make his home in Windsor this school year. He will be taking civil engineering at the University of Windsor before returning to London and the Western campus.

“And then business or risk management or marketing because I am not really that good at math and physics.”

Ahmad did not get acceptance or an offer for Western this year after he was late with his English proficiency proof.

“When I contacted them, they told me that they don’t give conditional acceptance for Canadians, because I am applying as a Canadian citizen.

“For international students, they are given conditional acceptance.”

In Ahmad Noorwali’s case, being Canadian-born worked out just fine.

Do you want to study English in Canada?

Discover how CultureWorks can help you reach your goals.

4 amusement parks to visit when studying English in Canada

studying English in Canada

Canada may be known for its cold winters, but summer here is also a wonderful experience. Festivals, Canada Day celebrations, and visits to local wildlife reserves are all a fun part of studying in Canada during the summer. These aren’t the only activities ESL students can look forward to. Canada also has several theme parks to visit!

For students who want to learn English and have fun at the same time, here are just some of the many places to explore.

1. Take a trip to East Park for many different activities

If you decide to study English as a second language in London, Ontario, you might want to visit East Park during your studies. This amazing amusement park has plenty of different activities and games to try. First, there are the indoor activities such as bumper cars, rock climbing, and even an arcade!

ESL students can enjoy arcade games and more at East Park!
ESL students can enjoy arcade games and more at East Park!

Then you have fantastic outdoor games such as go karting, which allow ESL students to drive around a racetrack with friends. Practising baseball at the batting cages can also be a wonderful activity to try. It’s a perfect way to enjoy local culture and have fun at the same time!

2. Canada’s Wonderland is a must-see for students studying English in Canada

Located near Toronto, Canada’s Wonderland is the biggest amusement park in the whole country. It’s also one of the most popular. This amusement park has several thrilling roller coasters, such as the Leviathan—the tallest roller coaster in Canada. Adventurous students can also try many other rides and roller coasters, including an inverted roller coaster called the Flight Deck, which is a very special experience!

See it for yourself in this short clip:

[youtube]This park is perfect for students who want an adventure, but even nervous ESL students can have fun too. Canada’s Wonderland also has plenty of more relaxing rides, including a beautiful antique carousel. This theme park even has a water park with a wave pool, slides, and more!

3. Calypso Water Park is perfect for a warm summer day

Summertime in Canada can get very hot, which is why many Canadians love to visit water parks during this time of year. For students learning English in Ottawa, visiting Calypso Water Park can be a wonderful activity to enjoy with friends.

This water park is the biggest water park in the country, and is home to some of Canada’s tallest and fastest waterslides. Students interested in studying English in Canada can slide down the mighty Adrenaline, spin around the vortex of the Black Hole, and brave the twists and turns of the Boomerango and Aqualoops! Wave pools, volleyball courts, and more also await students at this fun park.

4. Play some laser tag and more at Fun Haven

Trips and activities help students make new friends, enjoy local attractions, and also practice their English. It’s why top ESL schools such as CultureWorks plan many different activities for students.
Fun Haven is another fun amusement centre in Ottawa where students can have fun, relax, and practice English. For starters, students can work together to solve puzzles in Fun Haven’s escape rooms. Each escape room has a theme and a story, and it’s up to participants to solve the puzzle before the time runs out. Fun Haven also has other great activities such as laser tag and a special game called Laser Frenzy, which is a maze participants need to try to complete without touching any lasers.

For students who want to make memories that last a lifetime, these activities and parks offer a wonderful adventure!

Do you want to learn English with a fun and supportive ESL program?

Join CultureWorks, an English for academic purposes school in Canada!

4 easy ways to make progress every day in an intensive ESL program

studying English in Canada

Enrolling in an intensive English program is an important step to perfecting your English. Courses will help you learn important vocabulary and grammar, as well as help you improve your reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension.

English classes and fun activities will also give you plenty of opportunity to practice your English, allowing you to improve quickly. However, taking the time to study and practice English outside of class will also be an important part of your progress, and will help you improve even faster.

What are some of the best ways to make progress every day? Here are some tips we hope you find useful!

Use techniques that work with your learning style

It’s no secret that everyone is unique, and that every student will have different study techniques that work better for them. For example, one of your friends might learn best by writing down lessons, while you might prefer making rhymes and hearing lessons spoken out loud.

For this reason, it can be helpful to determine your learning style. There are many different types of learning styles, including the following:

  • Visual: Uses diagrams and other visual aids.
  • Physical: Uses movement and touch to learn.
  • Auditory: Uses song, rhymes, and music.
  • Verbal: Uses writing and reading.
  • Logical: Uses logic to understand lessons.
  • Social: Interacting with others helps with learning.
  • Solitary: Quiet study alone works best.

It’s also possible that you might have more than one learning style. For example, you might be a social learner, a visual learner, and an auditory learner all at the same time. By knowing your learning style or learning styles, and studying in ways that make the best use of them, you’ll be able to make the most of your intensive ESL program.

Set aside time each day for studying

Learning English takes time and plenty of practice. It can’t all be done in one day! Cramming all of your studying into one night each week isn’t the best way to practice your English, or learn lessons effectively. Instead of studying for several hours in one day, it’s better to practice for 20 to 30 minutes every day.

Studying a little bit each day will help you progress quickly
Studying a little bit each day will help you progress quickly

You could choose to wake up early and do your studying in the morning before your classes, or during a break in between activities. Some students even study best at night. The important thing is to choose a time that is easy to fit into your schedule at English as a second language school.

Incorporate English into your hobbies

Practicing each day can be a lot of fun when it’s something you enjoy. That’s why including English practice into your hobbies and interests can be a wonderful idea. For example, if you love playing video games, playing a favourite game in English can help you practice your language skills and have fun at the same time. If you enjoy cooking, try using a recipe written in English. Love sports? Try watching a game in English, or taking a fitness class in English. Even listening to English songs can be a wonderful way to practice your English each day while having fun at the same time.

Don’t worry if you miss a day of practice when studying English in Canada

It’s okay to spend a day relaxing every once in a while. Maybe you really wanted to spend an afternoon shopping with friends, or Skyping with family back home. Missing a day of study can happen from time to time.

When you do forget to study, it’s important to not be too disappointed. You also don’t want to punish yourself by studying extra hard the next day. By doing so, you could begin to associate these negative feelings with learning English, which can lead to even more days spent not studying.

Instead, if you miss a day of study, don’t worry. Remember that nobody is perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes. You might also want to remind yourself of all the progress you’ve already made. Even just enrolling in an ESL program is a big step towards improving your language skills.

Studying English in Canada can be a wonderful way to improve your English.

Find out how CultureWorks can help you reach your goals!