July 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
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Course Guide
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Market Analysis

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Toronto stands out

An exciting city that is firmly on the world map, Toronto is popular with student travellers keen to experience the city’s vibrant cultural and music scene. Bethan Norris takes a look behind the scenes of this Canadian city.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and with many music and cultural events on offer it exerts a natural attraction to international students. “Toronto is the cultural and sports capital of Canada,” James Rice from Connect Language asserts. “It is the fourth largest city in North America... and the third largest theatre centre in the world after London and New York. Toronto is also known as Hollywood North as many TV shows and movies are made here.”

And for students looking for entertainment outside school hours, Nao Yamamoto of Cornerstone Academic College highlights the city’s global fame for music, “Lots of major and independent artists come to Toronto and there are two big music festivals in March and June – Canadian Music Week and NXNE.”

Becky Smith at the University of Toronto pinpoints other cultural events, “from Buskerfest to the Toronto International Film Festival, where the world’s movie stars such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend film screenings. Community festivals such as Caribana, the annual Turkish festival, Chinese New Year celebrations and the Greek food festival – known as the Taste of Danforth – are all cultural highlights.”

Toronto’s large multicultural population has made a stamp on the city, and Laura Wood at the Rotman School of Management says this “allows our students to maintain some of the comforts of their home culture as they integrate into the Canadian way of life”. She adds, “With Canada’s three-year post graduation work permit, international students often choose Toronto because of all it has to offer both during the programme and beyond.”

The multicultural population has also influenced the city’s food offerings, “from various ethnic restaurants to entire neighbourhoods that feature the flavour of a particular culture, including local festivals [such as] Chinatown, Greektown and Little India”, enthuses Janet Stvan from Canadian International Student Services, Toronto. She adds that the city’s cleanliness and security are attractive features, and “Toronto’s downtown is alive with activity day and night. Once the business day ends, the restaurants, pubs and nightclubs come alive. Our programmes are located close to Toronto’s Eaton Centre, Bloor Street, Yonge Street and Dundas Square – all of which are famous for the shopping, dining and entertainment.”

The city’s language institutions are generally keen for students to experience popular attractions by providing an array of excursions and tours. Stvan says, “We always include the main highlights such as the CN Tower, a Blue Jays baseball game, visits to Toronto Island for a day at the beach and also opportunities for shopping. Another very popular event is the Toronto Island boat cruise party that gives incredible views of the city from the Lake Ontario harbour.”

Kasia Jucha from Kaplan PLI agrees that most students make a beeline for the CN Tower. “Everyone wants to... stand on the glass floor and see the amazing view of our city. For all those adrenaline junkies, the new CN Tower EdgeWalk will satisfy!”

Other trips may involve overnight stays, as Yamamoto explains. “Popular trips... [to] French Canada, Niagara Falls and New York are arranged every month.” Smith at the University of Toronto adds that they offer camping trips in Northern Ontario. “These hugely popular trips give students the chance to experience Canada’s natural beauty and its wilderness,” she says. “Depending on the time of year, activities on these trips range from canoeing and kayaking, to snow-shoeing and broomball [a ball game played on an ice rink].”

Popular outdoor activities in Toronto change with the seasons. Arslan Mahmood from Seneca College says Toronto offers “plenty of space to roller blade [and] bike during the summer and ice rinks to skate during the winter”, adding that Toronto hosts many winter events, encouraging students to experience the Canadian winter. “[There is an] ice sculpturing show, a Christmas tree lighting festival and much more.”

Paul Santos from York University English Language Institute says they encourage international students to get to know faculty students through a component of the ESL programme, giving them “a chance [to]... find out what life is like in Toronto and see the differences from back home”.

At the University of Toronto too, course organisers have developed interesting ways to ensure overseas student integration. “Through our volunteer experience programme, students have a great opportunity to experience the rich volunteer culture of the city, meet native speakers and put their English into practice by working for various organisations and charities,” says Smith. “Recently our volunteers have helped at local marathons, homeless shelters and senior homes, sold lottery tickets at NBA and NHL games and ushered famous movie stars to their seats at the Toronto International Film Festival.”

And according to Omnicom School of Language’s Linda Pagliarol, “Full language immersion is key. Our students have opportunities to meet local people while practising English in homestay families and on the way to school.”

Internship opportunities are also plentiful in Toronto, as Sara Alsayyed at York University highlights. Some of the university’s courses require students to take placements in the community, “whether it is an internship with local government, fieldwork in the Oak Ridges Moraine, a teaching placement in a school or a learning partnership with local business”.

Travel is also easy from Toronto, and Bradley Hider from Hansa Language Centre lists Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Quebec and Washington, DC as popular.“Everyone is welcome in the city,” says Hider. “Torontonians respect differences in race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.”

Advisor viewpoint

“Toronto is a very attractive destination for Mexican students who like to go on summer camps where they can enjoy the warm weather. The most popular attractions are Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto Island Park and the University of Toronto. Adapting to the traditions of Toronto is easy for students because it is a multicultural city.” Gabriela Rivera Ríos, Consultoraterra, Mexico

“In spite of the distance and the travel costs, Toronto is very popular among our students. They like the different style of life, which is definitely more relaxed, the level of their IT systems and tools and above all the schools the students attend. Students love the shopping centres of course, visiting interesting sites or just walking around downtown. Rowing on the lake is a popular attraction along with the tower, Niagara Falls, and Wonderland Centre. The local people are very friendly and welcoming. The younger students appreciate it most. The students’ parents feel less anxious both for the security of the place and for the lower life cost. The students can get a three-week stay for the same price of a two-week one in Europe.” Gabriella D’Urso, ATW Rome, Italy

“Toronto is very popular but here we are used to offering Vancouver most of the time. Students like the good reputation of Canada and the fact that it is close to the USA. Popular attractions include the museums, night activities and visiting nearby cities. The CN Tower and Niagara are particular favourites. The local people are very friendly and when I visited I liked them a lot.” Giuliana Bonvin, Atlante Intercâmbio, Brazil

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






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Study Gold Coast  

Bow Valley College  
Braemar College  
Centennial College  
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Connect School of Languages  
Georgian College  
Hansa Language Centre of Toronto  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
Omnicom School of Languages  
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Cambridge Esol  

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TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
Active Language Learning  

Centre of English Studies  
Clare Language Centre  
English Language Academy ELA  
Galway Cultural Institute  
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Language College Ireland  
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Malta Tourism Authority  
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CNN International Language School  

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MDL Cebu Language School  
Paradise English  
International House - Sevilla CLIC  

Xul Comunicación Social  
EF International Language Centers  

Eurocentres International  
Malta Tourism Authority  

California State University San Marcos  

ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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