Enter Your Photo to Win a Week of EC Virtual!

EC Montreal has launched a photo contest giving you a chance to win a free week of EC Virtual.  All you have to do is take a selfie of yourself practicing social distancing and post it on Instagram with the #ecvirtual and tagging ec.montreal.  EC Montreal will choose one winning photo per month. We want to see how creative you can be and how you are enjoying studying from home.  You can snap a photo of yourself having a virtual happy hour with your friends or taking an online class or fitness session. Have you ever wanted to take an online make up or hair styling class?  You can follow along and take a before and after picture as your submission.  There are so many wonderful images you can capture. There are cities around the world that are encouraging each other and sending messages of love by going out on their balconies and clapping, hitting pots and pans together, singing or playing their musical instruments.  Try to capture these magical and inspiring moments. We want to see that you are all staying home and keeping safe. The winning photo will be chosen by our EC Montreal team and the announcement will be made on Facebook and Instagram.  The student will get an additional week of EC Virtual where they can continue to improve their English or French skills. This contest is only available to current EC Montreal students.  We will also post the winning photo on Microsoft Teams where are students are taking their English and French online lessons. Good luck to all the contestants!

Recipe of the Week!

Spring is finally here!  This past weekend, in Montreal, we reached a high of 15 degrees!  The sky was blue and the sun was so warm on our skin.  It felt great to be outdoors.  We are lucky enough to have a backyard to enjoy so we enjoyed the weather and even ate our lunch outside for the first time this year! As the weather gets warmer, we crave to eat light and colourful meals, so to literally honour spring, our recipe of the week is Pasta Primavera, which means spring in Italian.  In French, spring is called Le Printemps.  It is a very easy dish to make and you don’t need many ingredients at all to prepare it.  It is also a very budget friendly dish and you can use your favourite vegetables.  Here is what you need to make my version of Pasta Primavera. 1 box of fusilli pasta 4 tablespoons of olive oil 1 red bell pepper, diced 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves 1 zucchini, thinly diced 12 or so halved mushrooms 1/2 bag of frozen peas 3 cloves of garlic, minced 1/4 cup of white wine Parmesan cheese Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add your pasta of choice and follow the cooking instructions on the box.  In a deep frying pan, add your 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Set your heat to medium/high.  When the oil is warm enough, add your onion and minced garlic.  Cook until translucent.  Add the rest of your vegetables and stir occasionally, until softened.  Add salt, black pepper, chilli flakes and dry basil.  Add the wine and simmer on low heat to marry all the ingredients. Once the pasta is cooked “al dente” drain it and add it to … Read more

Inspirational Quotes to Start the Week!

We cannot deny that these are extremely trying times.  We are stressed, worried and living in fear.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally, I am struggling with these fears.  I fear for the safety and health of my parents and loved ones.  I worry for my own health and protecting my family.  Every time I feel a little different, physically, I worry that might it be the virus, even though I have not been outside in five weeks.  Did my husband bring home a contaminated item from the grocery store?  How can we know that the food we are eating is safe?  These thoughts can drive us crazy.  We need to find ways to occupy our minds with positive, inspirational and calming thoughts and images. At EC Montreal, we are doing everything we can to keep our students happy and engaged on EC Virtual.  In addition to taking their French or English online lessons, they can stay connect with us on Microsoft Teams.  They can reach out to us if they are feeling worried and they can participate in any one of our virtual activities to keep them busy.  We have virtual lunches, workouts, movie viewing parties and happy hours to look forward to. We thought it would be nice to get this last week of April started with some inspirational quotes that we came across. These quotes are part of a column called The Wisdom Project by David Allan, editorial director of CNN Features. The series is on applying to one’s life the wisdom and philosophy found everywhere, from ancient texts to pop culture. They get repeated and recycled over the years, sometimes over the millennia, because they contain powerful jolts of easily accessible truth, insight and perspective. “Aphorisms live because they contain human truth,” Below are … Read more

We are Stronger Together!

On Sunday, April 26, there will be a very special event on television. It is a Canadian production called Stronger Together. It will be hosted by three very famous Canadian artists; Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Ryan Reynolds. There will be a star-studded lineup of Canadian artists paying tribute to the health care and essential workers during this pandemic. The show will take place at 6:30 p.m. across all CBC networks. There will be a mix of music, messages of hope and special broadcasts to show that we are all stronger together when it comes to controlling the spread of the covid-19 virus.  Viewers who are able are encouraged to show their support by donating to the Food Banks of Canada. Among the performing artists are: Amy Poehler, Andre de Grasse, Lavigne, Bad Child, Burton Cummings, Charlotte Cardin, Christine Sinclair, Cirque du Soleil, Command Sisters, Dallas Green, Dan Kanter, David Foster, Desiire, Donovan Woods, Fefe Dobson, Geddy Lee, Georges St-Pierre, Hamza Haq, Johnny Orlando, Josh Ramsay, Bieber, Kiefer Sutherland, Measha Brueggergosman, Mike Myers, Morgan Rielly, National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Olivia Lunny, Pascal Siakam, Robbie Robertson, Reynolds, Ryland James, Sam Roberts, Scott Helman, Serena Ryder, Serge Ibaka, Shawn Hook, Tika, the Tenors, Tyler Shaw, Walk off the Earth, and the cast of Schitt’s Creek including Annie Murphy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Dan Levy, Dustin Milligan, Emily Hampshire, Eugene Levy, Jenn Robertson, John Hemphill, Karen Robinson, Noah Reid, Rizwan Manji, and Sarah Levy. Immediately following the broadcast, you will be able to witness an ensemble performance of timely and treasured classics, sung by more than two dozen of Canada’s biggest international starts We will definitely be promoting this very special event to our EC Montreal students and will be sharing the details on Teams where our students access their English and French … Read more

A Graduate’s Success Story!

EC Montreal held its weekly certificate ceremony for our departing students today.  We feel it is important to hold these ceremonies virtually so we can say congratulations to our students face to face and give them a proper good bye.  It is so important for us to maintain a sense of community at EC despite offering our lessons on a virtual platform. Our student Yeison Estiven Forero Angel from Colombia was one of our graduates today.  He began his journey at EC Montreal last June 2019 and had been participating in EC Montreal’s Intensive Academic Year programme.  He began in our Elementary class and has successful completed his Intermediate level today.  He shared some very good news with us at the ceremony today.  Yeison has been admitted to a College right here in Montreal!  He will be commencing his college programme at CDI College next week!  He has been admitted in their Art and Desgin programme and will be studying 3D art and modelling.  This is a booming field in Montreal as this city has its own multi-media city and an outstanding amount of video game studies.  Second to Silicon Valley in California, Montreal has the second highest number of video game studios in the world!  So, if Yeison plans to immigrate to Quebec and graduates in his field of 3D Art, he will not have any trouble landing himself a job in the arts industry. The only thing Yeison is lacking is French!  He has made great progress in English, however, in order to immigrate to Quebec, you need to have a B2 level ability in French.  When Yeison completes his college programme, he plans to resume his studies at EC Montreal in French! CDI College is a reputable school!  They have campuses in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and … Read more

Throwback Thursdays!

The month of April has always been gastronomy month at EC Montreal.  As Montreal is the gastronomy capital of North America, we want to showcase this to our students.  We thought it would be fun to have a throwback Thursday, reminiscing all the wonderful activities we introduced our students to last April and every April before that.  The entire events calendar was dedicated to everything food!  The complimentary activities included a Taste of Montreal with a taste of Montreal specialities like poutine, smoked meat and bagels.  We would also include cupcake decorating activities, sushi making lessons, wine tasting and international potlucks. The weekly outings would also include many wonderful group dinners, neighborhood food tours and trips to local markets. We would take these opportunities to promote EC Montreal’s plus programme of English or French plus Gastronomy. When the time is right, we will be back together, learning, growing and sharing! Until then, see you on EC virtual! Stay connected. Stay united. We will get through this together.  We have started including a recipe of the week on our blog, virtual lunch sessions and will soon start presenting cooking segments on Instagram Live. We look forward to connecting with you on EC Virtual as you take your English or French online classes.    

Give the Gift of EC Virtual!

Mother’s day is coming up in a few weeks and it is a sad time for us who are separated by our parents as we are social distancing.  We still want to show our love and appreciation to our mothers.  They have done so much for us all our lives and continue to worry about us and care for us from a distance.  Shopping for the perfect gift will be a little challenging this year.  The only stores that are open are essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies.  As many of our parents are lonely and missing human contact, why not give them the gift of EC virtual.  You can give your mom the gift of language, the gift of community and the gift of love.  You can even do it together with your mom so you can meet in the virtual classes every day and learn a skill while having fun all at once! You can also learn how to speak French with EC virtual French.  You can tell your mom I love you in French! Were you planning a family vacation this summer?  Are you separated from your loved ones?  Why not travel virtually together with EC virtual?  You can take a language adventure together and learn together even though you are still physically apart.  Brush up on your French skills and make plans to travel to Montreal together next year?  Always wanted to go to Paris, get a head start on your French skills so you can learn how to order in a fancy restaurant, ask for directions and converse with the locals.  When the time is right, we will all start travelling again but you don’t have to put all your plans on hold. You can start your journey with EC virtual. Are you and … Read more

International Earth Day!

The planet is healing during this pandemic.  Many companies have been forced to shut down their operations.  Aerial views of cities and the planet show a huge reduction in pollution and an increase in air quality.  Many joke that this pandemic was Mother Nature sending us to our room because we have been behaving badly.  There are so many things everyone can be doing differently to help contribute to a cleaner, greener planet. Today is April 22 which is international Earth Day.  Today we stop to think about our planet and how we can be more respectful and considerate to help preserve it for future generations. Every year, on April 22, EC Montreal has an Earth Day event when we ask our students to jot down their commitments to the environment and place them on our tree in the student lounge. April 22, 2020 will mark 50 years of Earth Day.  The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event. The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a … Read more

Questions Answered by the IRCC!

We are living unprecedented and uncertain times.  At EC Montreal we want you to know that you are not alone.  We are all in this together and doing our best to cope and to press despite the current situation.  As you may know, EC Montreal is a proud member of Languages Canada.  Languages Canada is our accreditation body that ensures its members are compliant with all our standards and offering quality education and services in all areas; academic, accommodation, activities, pastoral care, marketing and administration. During this pandemic, we have been meeting regularly under the leadership of Languages Canada.  They have also been trying to answer questions from government and helping its members cope.  They recently contacted the IRCC and have received answers to our questions.  Please find them below. LC Question If a student’s school ends up closing completely, and the student chooses not to continue their studies but is unable to leave, what are their options? Note: we normally offer students in this situation a transfer to another member who is willing to take them, but normally they also have the option to return home. In this case, they may not have that option. IRCC Answer Should the school close permanently as a consequence of COVID-19, for the purpose of assessing if a student is enrolled and actively pursuing their studies, any time taken to transition to a new program, change status or leave Canada should not exceed 150 days from the date the school closed. If the student does not intend to enroll in a new program of study and is unable to leave the country, they must apply for a visitor record or a work permit, if they are eligible to apply from within Canada. LC Question Could you confirm that online studies undertaken from outside … Read more

Recipe of the Week!

Spring is here!  The sun is shining and the trees are starting to flower.  I have a lime tree at home and it is already bearing fruit!  We have at least ten limes that will be ready to be plucked off the plant in a few days.  I wanted to share a lime flavored and inspired dish to welcome spring and to help to brighten up our mood during this difficult time.  Lime seems to freshen up every dish with its strong, flowery flavor.  That punch of acidity really adds something special to many dishes.  Today’s recipe is also an easy one that everyone who is practicing social distancing and is in isolation can recreate easily. The dish is called corn succotash.  I use the bbq to grill the corn as it adds a really nice smokey flavor, however, this is not necessary.  You can boil corn on the cob or even use canned corn if that is all you have. This is what you will need for the dish: 6 whole corn on the cob or 4 cans of whole corn kernels 1 red bell pepper 1 bunch of green onion or chives 1 bunch of fresh cilantro 4 limes 3 tablespoons of olive oil salt and pepper to taste Grill or boil your corn on the cob until ready.  Wait until the corn is cool enough to handle.  Place your corn upright on a cutting board and cut off the kernels and place them into a bowl.  Dice the red pepper, green onion and cilantro and place into the same bowl.  Squeeze the juice of 4 limes and add to the bowl.  Drizzle approximately 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the boil.  Add your salt and pepper to your liking.  Give it a good repeated stir and let … Read more