July 2007 issue

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Living Canada

To learn English in Canada is to live and breathe the country, and to become acquainted with the people and its culture. Gillian Evans reports.

Canada is a country of rich variety, asserts Janet Stvan, Marketing Supervisor at Canadian International Student Services (CISS), which runs summer programmes in different locations throughout the country. “Canada has a wonderful combination of rural and urban settings, of wide open spaces, beautiful nature and wilderness, as well as vibrant, clean and safe cities,” she enthuses.

A busy city, yet close to nature, Vancouver offers students the best of both rural and urban experiences. Looking at the many attractions of Vancouver, Jenny Lee, Registrar at Modus International Language Institute in Vancouver, BC, highlights “the close proximity to summer outdoor activities such as hiking [in, for example] Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour [and] Lynn Valley; walking around Stanley Park; shopping on Robson Street; going to the beach; sailing; and visiting Granville Island”. Indeed, the proximity of nature to this city lends itself to a wide range of outdoor activities, some more sedentary than others. “The outdoor life – from the unique café culture to ecotourism adventures – [is a] pleasant [discovery] for students to make,” relates Raymond Loretan at Pacific Language Institute, which has centres in Vancouver and Toronto.

For a high-energy adventure experience, CISS offers English courses at the Panorama Adventure Camp, situated in the mountains on the border of British Columbia and Alberta. “Panorama is a nature-lover’s haven,” asserts Stvan. “The resort is surrounded by mountains offering the reward of breathtaking vistas for hikers of all levels, as well as the thrill of mountain biking trails of varying difficulties. Columbia River is perfect for canoeing or kayaking and students are often privy to wildlife sightings during their outings.” She adds, “Our entire programme is designed to offer students the chance to do things they might not normally do.”

Surrounded by water, Nova Scotia is also a province with great scenery and lots to do. “Our harbour and surrounding beaches provide opportunities for students to go sailing, fishing, surfing and body-boarding,” says Sheila Nunn at the East Coast School of Languages in Halifax, NS. What’s more, she adds, “We have the best lobster!” Halifax itself is a thriving student city, with six universities and colleges and a young population, which, according to Nunn, “makes it a ‘cool’ place to study”.

Another great study location is the French/English bilingual city of Ottawa in Ontario, says Nadia Ramseier at Non-Credit ESL Programs at Carleton University in the city. “As a global learning destination, Ottawa is an enviable city in which to pursue academic studies or professional development in both English and French,” she relates. “The region’s six universities and colleges, plus numerous technology institutes and professional schools create a highly integrated and flexible education and training delivery system.”

That is not to say that it is all academic work and no play in Ottawa, as there are lots of activities and events for students to join in with. “Ottawa is a city of festivals with art, music, theatre and sports festivals occurring throughout the year,” says Ramseier. “These events can be excellent opportunities for ESL students to integrate themselves into the fabric of the community, to meet new people and to practise their English in authentic situations.”

In summer, the city hosts the Dragonboat Festival, and Carleton University’s Intensive ESL Program entered its first team in the race last year. “The experience was a great success,” reports Ramseier. “Not only did students enjoy the paddling but they also enjoyed participating in the festival itself, a showcase of Asian culture including martial arts displays, ping pong demonstrations and, of course, dragonboat races.”

Like Ottawa, Montreal blends French with English but it also has a decidedly European feel, and a great atmosphere. As Stvan says, “The ‘joie de vivre’ that defines Montreal permeates the whole city from the cobbled streets in the old centre to the modern skyscrapers in the downtown.”

CISS’s summer programme in Montreal strives to “give students an appreciation not only of Canada, but also of the French-Canadian culture that exists within the country”, claims Stvan. Students are taken on excursions to Québec City and Ottawa. They get a chance to take part in ice skating and hockey, which are both popular pastimes among the locals, and learn about “sugaring off”, the process of creating maple syrup.

Another of Canada’s attractive cities is Toronto, which, according to Loretan at PLI “hosts many festivals and ‘big ticket’ concerts year-

round”. Stvan adds that, during the summer, in the city “nearly every week features an outdoor celebration or festival, from jazz to fireworks”. Canada’s financial centre and the capital of Ontario, Toronto is home to world-famous attractions such as the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.Being a multicultural city, Toronto also has a global range of restaurants. “Some people say you could spend a whole month just eating a different ethnic food each day,” relates Stvan.

According to Buffy St-Amand, International Education Officer at Bow Valley College in Calgary, AB, Calgary also boasts a good selection of international restaurants and markets, as well as lots of parks and green spaces. This, she adds, surprises some students. Close to Canada’s wide-open landscapes, Calgary is a great base from which to explore the Canadian Rockies and Lake Louise. Despite its rural location, however, Calgary is an urban city with plenty of attractions. St-Amand describes it as “a young, vibrant and booming city with great work opportunities for international students”.

For a taste of small-town Canada, Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island (PEI) beckons. Despite being Canada’s smallest province with a population of just 130,000, Helen Green at Study Abroad Canada in Charlottetown is keen to stress that PEI has “excellent theatres, music, entertainment and education”. What’s more, few international students venture to the province so “students have to speak English wherever they go,” she adds. Popular activities include deep sea fishing, canoeing, curling, ice skating and visiting the house featured in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables.

Canada has so much to offer that students cannot help but live the landscape, heritage and culture. As Stvan concludes, “We offer so much choice – why wouldn’t they want to discover Canada?”

Agent viewpoint

“Mexican students choose to study in Canada for many reasons: it’s just four-and-a-half hours by plane; they do not need a student visa if they go for less than six months; and they love Canadian people. We send students to Toronto, Montreal, Québec, Vancouver and Calgary for language programmes, but we send students to cities all over Canada for high school and work experience programmes. Toronto and Vancouver are the most popular cities and my students find them very attractive as they have everything: theatre, opera, cinemas, sports, concerts and skiing.”
Lucia Rosella Mellone, Cosmo Educación, Mexico

“I suppose it’s the blend of the familiar European-style culture with the ‘overseas’ exotic that attracts our clients to Canada. Vancouver has the reputation of being very cosmopolitan and beautifully situated. Toronto is considered to be somewhere in between Canada and USA in lifestyle. Montreal is for the insider who knows or who has heard how nice it is there – it is also the place to go to for learners of French. Halifax is still an ‘open secret’ or for those who like the out-of-the-ordinary. To be in a class and to communicate together with 10 different nationalities and cultures from virtually all over the world is quite an exciting experience for many.”
Wolfgang Bauer, Carl Duisberg Centren, Germany

“Canadian education is a high quality, affordable choice for international students. While there, they have excellent opportunities to visit the famous Niagara Falls, CN Tower, Canada’s Wonderland and the Museum of Hockey Fame. Teens and adults prefer to study in city centres and we send them to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. This year Calgary is also very popular. We have a lot of requests from students who’d like to study and work in the gas and oil industry. Montreal is popular because of the opportunity to study not only English but French as well. This city is very European in style and students like it very much because of the atmosphere. Vancouver is popular because of its mild climate and the closeness to the ocean.”
Galina Vladimirova, Insight-Lingua, Russia

 “We only promote Halifax to Japanese students who are either in Japan or other cities in Canada – I myself used to live in Halifax and had a really good time there. The things that surprise our students the most are the low number of Asian people compared to other major cities in Canada, the kindness of people in Nova Scotia and the amount of snow! In Nova Scotia, students can experience a lifestyle that’s totally different from theirs in Japan – the people, food, language and culture. Students who choose to come to Halifax are the kind of students who are serious about learning English and experiencing other cultures.”
Michitaka Mizutani, Halifax Support Centre, Japan

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The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Boa Lingua
CI - Central de Intercâmbio
Discover Canada
ESL - Séjours Linguistiques
TK Tours

Capls Canada
English Australia
Quality English

CareMed International Travel Insurance
Student Guard Insurance

Malta Tourism Authority

Alphe Conferences
CEC Network

English Australia
English Language Company

Academie Linguistique International
Algonquin College Ottawa
Bodwell College
Cowichan Valley School District #79
East Coast School of
      Languages (ECSL)
English Bay College
English Language Training College ELTC
Eurocentres Canada
Global Village
(Australia, Canada, USA)
Ilac - International Language Academy of Canada
International Language
      Schools of Canada (ILSC)
Intrax English Institute
Language Studies Canada
Lethbridge Community College
London Language Institute
Malaspina University College
National School of Languages
Pacific Language Institute
Richmond School District #38
Saint Mary's University
Saskatoon Catholic Schools
Stewart College of Languages
Study English in Canada
University Canada West
University of Toronto
Vancouver Community College
       International Education
Vancouver English Centre
Vanwest College
York University English
       Language Institute

American Intercontinental
       University, London
      (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, UK, USA)
Bell International
InTuition Languages
       (Australia, France, Germany,
       Ireland, Italy, South America,
       Spain, UK, USA)
Islington Centre for English
LAL Language and Leisure
      (England, Malta, South Africa, USA)
Liverpool International
      Language Academy
Malvern House College London
Millfield School
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's College
Sels College London
Southwark College
St Giles Colleges
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada, England,
      France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
      New Zealand, South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
Twin Group
University of Westminster
West London Business College

France Langue
French in Normandy
Home Language International
      (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil,
      Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic,
      Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France,
      Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland,
      Italy, Japan, Malta, NZ, Norway,
      Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain,
      Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA,
Institut Linguistique Adenet
SILC - Séjours Linguistiques
     (England, France, Spain)

Carl Duisberg Centren
      (England, Germany)
F+U Academy
      (Austria, Germany, Russia)
Humboldt Institut
inlingua Berlin
International House Berlin - Prolog
Lichtenberg Kolleg E.V

Atlantic Language Galway
Centre of English Studies

EC English Language Centre
      (England, Malta, South Africa)
inlingua Malta

Christchurch College of
      English Language
Languages International
Riccarton High School
Seafield School of English
University of Canterbury

EAC Language Centres
      and Activity Camps
      (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)

Cape Studies
Good Hope Studies

Babylon Idiomas
      (Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain)
      (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica,
      Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic,
      Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Spain)
International House Sevilla - CLIC
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispánico SL

EF Language Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador,
      England, France, Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain, USA)
      (Australia, Canada, England, France,
      Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta,
      New Zealand, Russia, South Africa,
      Spain, Switzerland, USA)

ALCC - American Language
      Communication Center
Kaplan Educational Centers
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Zoni Language Centers
      (Canada, USA)


Global Lifestyles
IH Vancouver

IH Newcastle
Tellus Group
Twin Group

Malta Tourism Authority