June 2008 issue

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Breathtaking adventure in BC

Perched on the westernmost edge of Canada, British Columbia is brimming with a natural brilliance that simply has to be experienced first-hand. Nicola Hancox discovers this province’s natural wonders.

Its Latin motto “Splendor sine occasu”, meaning splendour without diminishment or beauty without end, certainly does this Canadian province some justice. Reflecting the region’s inherent beauty, visiting students, as well as native British Columbians, would agree this region is a scenic treat.

Nadine Dodd, Marketing Manager at Vancouver Community College in Vancouver, is one such advocate. “Wow! There is so much to do!” she asserts. “There are so many quaint, small historical towns up and down the coast as well as beaches, waterfalls and cosy havens to enjoy.”
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia is unique in that it offers spectacular sea views in the west and breathtaking mountain vistas in the east, so visitors really are encouraged to experience the great outdoors in all its forms.

Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia and combines stunning scenery with a buzzing city centre. Surrounded by water on three sides and a series of mountain ranges that includes the Rockies on the other, it’s easy to see why this metropolis is consistently rated one of the world’s best. According to Larry Rodney, Managing Director of Vancouver English Centre, students will never be stuck for something to do. “Vancouver has activities for everyone, from the outdoor enthusiast to the leisurely stroller,” he says and recommends that students hire a bike and explore Vancouver’s Stanley Park. “The seaside bicycle route is a 15 kilometre trek that begins at English Bay and continues around False Creek to the University of British Columbia.” Meanwhile, Dodd notes how visiting students like to visit local attractions such as Lynn Canyon Park, Kitsilano Beach and the Vancouver Aquarium.

However, with the 2010 Winter Olympics just around the corner, students might feel the urge to don some skis and take to the slopes. Vancouver is said to have some of the best downhill and cross-country ski facilities in North America and Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour are all nearby. Whistler Blackcomb – which receives an average of 402 inches of snow per year – lies just two hours north of Vancouver – and is considered a first class alpine ski resort. “Whistler is a very popular ski resort and ideal for people who are interested in skiing or snowboarding,” relates Rodney.

For those after something a little more cultural, Jacqueline Sinclair from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver suggests students take in an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery, listen to some jazz at the local community college or, for the more creative, compete in the Vancouver Poetry Slam at the Vancouver Poetry House.

Meanwhile, nightlife in downtown Vancouver is a thriving mix of laid back pubs and live music venues. Kathryn Stewart at Pacific Language Institute in Vancouver relates, “Nights are often spent in our entertainment district at various nightclubs – Aubar in particular is very popular with the international student crowd.”

However, a buzzing metropolis isn’t for everyone and Colin Boguski, International Marketing Manager at Langara College in Vancouver, explains that the great outdoors is within easy reach. “You can get out of the city in less than an hour and be in the wilderness without a person or car within earshot.”

From downtown Vancouver, students can enjoy a scenic ferry cruise or opt to fly by helicopter to the provincial capital, Victoria, which is located on Vancouver Island. Cynthia Cecil at Four Corners Language Institute in Victoria says that they often encourage students to get out into the open and says a trip to the west coast of the island – where students can experience the annual grey whale migration – is a must. She points out that a three-day hike on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail may also appeal to adventure seeking visitors. “The hiking trail follows the western shoreline of Vancouver Island,” notes Cecil, “and it offers spectacular views and wildlife such as eagles, whales and sea lions. Even a bear is not an unusual sight. Hikers must also be prepared for cougar encounters!”

Despite being the regional capital, Victoria offers a “safe, clean and friendly environment”, states Mako Kitamura, Marketing Assistant at Pan Pacific International English College in Victoria. Cecil agrees and notes that there’s a relaxed feel to life in the capital. “Victoria is renowned for its relaxed way of life and openness to cultural diversity.”

Also referred to as the City of Gardens, budding horticulturalists can enjoy a variety of garden tours all year round and Kitamura heartily recommends Butchard Gardens – a 55-acre plot with meandering paths, expansive lawns and glorious floral displays – and a tour of the grounds at Government House. Meanwhile, Cecil says tourist sites like the Royal Museum, The Victoria Government Parliament Buildings (best viewed at night when they are illuminated by over 3,300 light bulbs), Inner Harbour, Beacon Hill Park and the Wax Museum are well worth a visit.

For those keen to avoid the hustle and bustle of city life, Maple Ridge, a district municipality located east of Vancouver, is ideal. “Our small family-orientated community is surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes and meadowland,” says Kathren Clarke at School District #42 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, who notes that students can head into the open for fishing, canoeing, camping or beach combing.

The small community of Tatla Lake in the north of the province also gives students the opportunity to really get back to basics. Situated near the western edge of the Chilcotin Plateau, Marilyn Livingston at Eagle Lake Ranch ESL in Tatla Lake notes, “Time stands still in this western frontier,” and relates that a trip to the region is “an invitation to a cultural experience, a holiday and an opportunity to feed your sense of adventure”. Even the accommodation is authentically traditional, with students staying in an handcrafted Chilcotin log cabin.

Travel to the southeastern corner of the province and vacationers will discover the Kootenay region. Nestled in the very heart of Kootenay lies Cranbrook – considered the sunniest place in British Columbia. Cheryl Webber at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook claims that the area offers a unique way of life. “You can experience incredible scenery and outdoor activities year round,” she says. “The region features famous ski and hot spring resorts and mountain and forests for hiking, camping and observing wildlife.”

Meanwhile, Sandy Prentice, Principal at Kootenay Lake School in the Nelson district relates that there are many reasons why students might choose to journey to the area. Friendly local people are one attraction but she also enthuses about Nelson’s clean air and fresh water. “Students are flabbergasted when they see local citizens drink the water in the lake because it’s not polluted as it’s fed by fresh water mountain streams and the Kokanee Glacier,” she reveals.

Agent viewpoint

“British Columbia has a good climate and not so extreme temperatures, especially in Vancouver and Victoria. It’s a safe environment, well known and has been elected one of the top cities to live in the world. Everyone that goes falls in love with its beautiful scenery. Students enjoy being close to a large city with a safe environment.”
Maria Victoria Barros, NR Intercâmbio, Brazil

“It is easily accessible for Asian students (8-10 hour flight) in particular. In general Vancouver and Victoria are viewed as mid-sized cities that are safe and there’s a great mix of nature and urban amenities. Students enjoy outdoor activities in the winter and summer. The climate is moderate throughout the year. The cultural diversity and openness of locals to other cultures makes it easy for students to live here.”
Makiko Hayashi, Intrax International Institute, Canada

“There are several reasons why my students would like to choose British Columbia as a study destination. First, Vancouver is a popular place and well known. Compared to Ontario, BC is closer to Taiwan, shorter flight hours and route. Besides, they sometimes have friends and/or relatives that live there. It is a beautiful place with nice weather and fresh air. The tuition is reasonable and the education quality is excellent. They enjoy the outdoor activities, such as camping, canoeing, biking and sightseeing. They love the Rockies and Vancouver Island the most. The students also enjoy making friends from all over the world, not only Canadians, but also from different countries. They can experience the real cross-cultural life. British Columbia is not as cold as Alberta in winter and not as hot as Ontario in the summer.”
Sandy Yang, BCRO, Taiwan

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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.





English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
Quality English Ltd.  

Your World on

Malta Tourism

CEC Network  

Bond University  
Griffith University  
La Trobe University  
Language Studies
      International School
      University of
Universal English
      College (Global
      Village Sydney)  

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, France,
      Spain, UK)

Centre Linguista
Four Corners
      Language Institute  
IH Vancouver  
King George
      International College
Richmond School
      District #38  

Beijing International
      Education Institute.
Shanghai Jingan
      Neworld Training

Bell International
      (Malta, UK)
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language
      and Leisure  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Malvern House
      College London  
Oxford Intensive
      School of English 
      (Australia, England,
      France, Germany,
      Spain, USA)
Prime Education
Queen Ethelburga's
Scanbrit School of
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,

Alliance Française
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      de Montpellier  
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      de Strasbourg-
Alliance Française
Alliance Française
      du Val de Loire
Silc - Séjours
      (France, Spain, UK)
Université de
      Paris Sorbonne  

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  
      Kolleg E.V.  

Prime Speech
      Power Language

Swan Training

      Language School  
International School
      of Languages  


Cape Studies  

Idiomas Sí!  

EF Language
Colleges Ltd 
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Italy, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      UK, USA)

ALCC - American
ELS Educational
University of
      California San Diego
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)


      House Newcastle  
Kaplan Aspect
Professionals UK  
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)

International House
      Sevilla - Clic