Schools are Essential Services!

The Quebec government declared yesterday evening that Montreal and Quebec City have entered the red zone of the pandemic, which is the highest of alerts.  They announced that there will be new health measures put in place to keep the population safe.  The measures include not making any visits or accepting any visitors into your home, with some exceptions.  As of October 1, 2020, all bars, dining halls, museums, libraries, casinos and cinemas will be closed.  Restaurants will only be allowed to offer take out.  These safety measures will be put in place for 28 days.  The government is confident that if everyone does their part to remain socially distant, wear a mask and keep sanitizing their hands and living space, we can help to stop the second wave of the virus from getting out of control. Shopping malls, businesses and schools will remain open.  Schools, especially, are considered essential services.  This is good news for us at EC Montreal.  We can remain open and continue to deliver in person lessons. We are so proud of our EC Montreal team of staff, teachers and students.  Since we reopened on August 31, everyone has been very respectful of all of our safety measures.  They have also been extremely considerate of those around them.  We have seen some students even wipe their desks clean before leaving for the day. We were recently chatting about schools remaining open and we patted ourselves on the back saying there is actually no safer place to be right now than the EC Montreal school!  Students must take the stairs up to the school, avoiding small spaces like the elevators.  Everyone must complete a daily health screening form and anyone with symptoms is not permitted inside.  We take every person’s temperature and do not allow anyone with … Read more

Recipe of the Week!

We are delighted to share the last of our apple recipes. This is the last week of September and we have dedicated the entire month to apples. It is apple season in Quebec and the ideal time to get apples straight from the farm or fruit market. We have so many apples that we don’t know what to do with them! This week’s apple recipe is for my cinnamon and apple strata. It is super easy to make, and you can substitute many of the ingredients. For this recipe you will need the following ingredients: – 2 or 3 firm apples, peeled and diced – 2 tablespoons of salted butter – 2 tablespoons of brown sugar – 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon – 4 eggs – ½ cup of cream – 4 tablespoons of cream cheese – 1 loaf of bread cubed, you can use bagels, croissant or any stale bread you have leftover – ¼ cup of chopped nuts, I like to use walnuts Grease a square baking dish. Place apples, butter, sugar and cinnamon in a skillet over medium heat. Heat until the sugar bubbles. Remove from heat and set it aside. In a mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, cream and cream cheese and blend it all together until it is smooth. Place the bread, cooked apple mixture and nuts in the greased baking dish. Pour the egg mixture on top and place in the refrigerator for a few hours. Bake in a 350-degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. This dish can be served for breakfast, brunch or even as a dessert if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and fresh fruits. We hope you will give this last apple recipe a try and let us know if you enjoyed it! As … Read more

Discover Montreal’s Little Italy!

We are living some very unusual times.  The province of Quebec has officially announced that we are in the midst of the second wave of the virus.  They have placed the emergency level in the orange zone.  Being safe and making wise decisions is more important than ever at this time.  You can still enjoy Montreal by choosing tourist attractions and neighbourhoods that you know will be safe and you can practice social distancing. We have already recommend Old Montreal, Mount-Royal and Montreal’s Botanical Gardens to our EC Montreal students because they are mainly outdoor spaces where you can stay physically distant from others.  Another recommendation we can make is Little Italy.  You can easily access Little Italy by public transportation.  You can take the blue line to the station de Castelneau or you can take the orange line to Jean-Talon or Belanger. Little Italy has the largest outdoor market in Montreal!  It is called the Jean-Talon market.  There, you can find fruit and vegetable farm vendors as well as cheeses, baked goods, game meats, seafood, flowers and so much more!  You can stroll through the different stands and even get free samples!  If you are hungry for lunch, you can get freshly prepared meals and enjoy your meal at one of the many picnic tables they have set up.  The market has installed safety measures during this time.  Face masks are mandatory and there are arrows on the floor to indicate which direction you should walk in to avoid close contact with other people.  There are also hand sanitizing stations throughout the market. Little Italy has many wonderful coffee shops and gelato stands.  You can enjoy an authentic Italian coffee like espresso or cappuccinos.  You can have a seat on one of the outdoor patios and watch the world … Read more

Gaby Fieger From Germany: “I learned a lot, more than I expected…”

Gaby Fieger is a student from Germany who studied French in our Full-Immersion programme in 2011 and again in 2014.  When we sent Gaby a Birthday message on her birthday in August, she immediately responded to inquire about our virtual French lessons. She signed up for both group and private French lessons.  It was so great to reconnect with Gaby and welcome her back to the EC Montreal family!  Sadly, Friday was her last day.  She promises to resume her studies in the next couple of months.  For now, this is what she would like to share with everyone about her EC virtual experience: Due to the current situation, it was not possible to visit a foreign country to improve my French.  So, I was thinking about an online course.  I was happy as EC Montreal sent me an offer for that.  In the past, I made two times very good experiences at EC in Montreal.  So, it was no question for me to use that possibility to improve my French.  I am really satisfied.  The classes were very small, the interaction between the teacher and the students were very good even though we were not together in a classroom.  The teacher adjusted the lessons very well to the current situation.  I also took private lessons.  The teacher always responded to my personal needs.  As long as possible, I will continue with the online courses. I loved…the small groups. I enjoyed Sharzad’s humor and Sharzad and Djamel’s patience. I learned…a lot, more than I’ve expected; vocabulary, grammar, culture. I will continue to… to improve my French. I will always remember…EC Montréal, on-site (2011 and 2014) and online (2020). I promise to…improve my French and come back to EC Montréal, sometime, somehow! EC Montreal has found a way for us to … Read more

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday are images of EC Montreal staff and students celebrating Saudi National Day in the student lounge.  September 23 is Saudi National Day.  We celebrated this day with our students annually.  We would ask our Saudi students to help us plan an event by sharing their culture and traditions with everyone.  Our Saudi students were so enthusiastic to participate.  Many of them brought in teas, dates, dried fruit, nuts, pastries and other traditional treats.  They brought in their flags and dressed in their Saudi attire. They were so proud to share their culture with their friends and classmates and were very appreciate of EC Montreal giving them the opportunity to celebrate. The world truly does come to us at EC Montreal.  We love learning about our students through their customs, traditions and foods.  At EC Montreal we do our best to create these opportunities for our students to get together and make connections.  It is one of the things our students comment on the most in their final week questionnaire.  They write that they now have friends from all over the world or that they learned so much about other countries through this international experience. EC Montreal has a very active alum community and it truly warms our hearts to see students, years after their time at EC Montreal, still good friends, visiting each other in their cities, travelling together, attending each other’s weddings and other special events.  We were a part of this journey and friendship.  It is a very special thing and one of the reasons why we love what we do! Next week, EC Montreal will honour our Korean community by acknowledging Korean Thanksgiving.  Although our social events have been suspended until further notice due to the pandemic, we will still find a way … Read more

“Fall” in love with Montreal!

We welcomed the fall season this week and what a beautiful start to autumn.  The sun has been shining all week and the trees are starting to turn all different shades of red, orange and gold.  It is the perfect time of year to take long walks through one of our beautiful neighbourhood parks in Montreal.  Did you know that there are over one thousand parks on the island of Montreal?  No matter the season, people like to enjoy the parks.  They use them to exercise, picnic, sunbath, hang out and people watch.  During the fall you can see children running into large piles of leaves.  During the winter months, most have skating rinks to enjoy and well, really tolerate the season. More and more of our EC Montreal students have been using Montreal’s Bixi bikes to cycle to school. They say that they prefer to ride their bikes when it is cooler as you can get really overheated under the hot summer sun.  Did you know that Montreal has bicycle paths all over the city.  You can take a bike ride around the island of Montreal and safely on a designated bicycle path.  Montreal is one of the most bicycle friendly cities.  They encourage everyone to consider cycling as part of their daily commute, so much so that every one of our four universities in Montreal has a bike path leading right to it!  Did you know that Montreal was the founder of the Bixi bike system?  You can rent a bike from one stand conveniently with the use of your credit card and return it to any bike stand on the island of Montreal.  There are two of these Bixi bike stands close to EC Montreal so our students can definitely bike ride to school.  In addition, Ste-Catherine … Read more

Recipe of the Week!

In keeping with September’s theme of an apple a day, I am happy to share another apple recipe with all of you. I recently visited Quinn Farm where my family and I visited the pumpkin patch for our annual pumpkin picking. We had already been apple picking but noticed that the farm had so many apples to pick. There were many different varieties too! We couldn’t resist and filled up a large bag. That means more baking and cooking with apples for me! We had a wonderful day at the farm. It was such a lovely way to enjoy the last days of summer. The sun was shining, and it felt so great to be outside. This week, I decided to share a savoury dish made with apples. One meat that pairs very well with apples is pork. You often see a roasted pork with an apple in its mouth. These two flavors go very well together. I always make sure to choose easy recipes, so our EC Montreal students, even with limited ingredients and kitchen appliances can still give them a try. This recipe is a one pan pork and apples dinner. For my version of this recipe you will need the following ingredients: – 4 bone-in pork chops – ¾ cup of chicken broth – 1 teaspoon of mustard – 1 teaspoon of sage (fresh or dry) – 2 teaspoons of rosemary (fresh or dry) – ½ teaspoon of thyme (fresh or dry) – ½ teaspoon of salt – ¼ teaspoon of black pepper – 2 large apples, thinly sliced – 1 large red onion, thinly sliced – Olive oil – Additional salt and pepper to taste Choose a large skillet or pan as the entire meal is made from within this one pan. Season your pork chops … Read more

Finished High School? What’s Next?

Are you finished high school or your graduation is this year?  What’s next for you?  Are you going right to college or university or are you taking a gap year?  We have found in our experience at EC Montreal that many students need to take some time before their post secondary studies to acquire the necessary language skills required for admissions.  Others simply don’t know what major to choose and sadly some students did not get into their university of choice and are waiting to apply again. We have been receiving more and more requests to accept younger students who are in this situation.  We did some market research and have discovered that many students need assistance with their post secondary application and studies.  EC Montreal has developed a new programme to meet this particular demand.  It is called the Young Achievers Programme.  It is a course designed specifically for students ages 15 to 18.  In addition to improving their English or French skills through our language courses, students will be introduced to different fields of study through the project-based weekly themes.  We will introduce our students to the world of healthcare, business, fashion, art, technology, politics, media and so much more!  Our students, who are undecided about their future, will be exposed to so many different professions. In addition, we will introduce our students to many of our Canadian pathway partners.  We will hold regular webinars for our students to attend.  Our pathway manager will also speak to our students about the many different options available if they choose to pursue their studies in Canada. The Young Achievers programme will include a 4 lesson per week special focus class.  The class could be an exam preparation course, an educational outing or an admissions writing course so students can learn … Read more

Last Days of Summer…

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and although we are looking forward to one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, we are sad to say farewell to summer.  This weekend, we enjoyed the last days of summer.  Although it was a little cool, luckily, the sun was shining all weekend long and it made spending time outdoors extremely enjoyable. There are always a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy in Montreal.  One of our favourite things to do is to hike up to the top of Mount-Royal and get a panoramic view of the city.  This time of year, most of the leaves on the trees are still green but you can see spots of the changing leaves too.  The trees are bursting with hues of orange, yellow and red.  It is a lot more comfortable to spend time outside exercising as you don’t get over-heated. Old Montreal also has a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy.  You can take a stroll along the Old Port, walk down the beautiful cobblestone streets and have a drink, brunch or an early dinner on a patio.  I say early dinner, because when the sun starts to set, you can really feel the cold and you need to head back indoors. Most EC Montreal students spend their time downtown Montreal.  They know all the great places to eat, drink or shop along Montreal’s popular Ste-Catherine street.  It is a perfect place to spend the day.  However, if you are looking for something completely different to do, we recommend you make your way to the West Island and visit a little town called Ste-Anne de Bellevue.  It is located along the river and has a main street with wonderful shops and restaurants and on the other side there is a boardwalk … Read more

Consider This!

The Canadian International borders are still closed because of the pandemic.  EC Montreal is eager to start welcoming students back to our beautiful center.  With the mandatory quarantine plan and the safety measures the federal and provincial governments have put in place, we can say that they are taking the health of our population very seriously. EC Montreal has also made safety its top priority.  We have made the school as safe as possible with mandatory daily health screening questionnaires, temperature checks, social distancing inside the classroom and safe entrance and exit routes for our students.  We thoroughly clean at the end of each lesson and we make sure students stay within their classroom at all times.  Masks are mandatory inside the school, including the classrooms, on public transportation and all public indoor spaces. The most important safety measure is our blended learning schedule and timetable.  In order to limit our physical time at the center and on public transportation, we have designed the schedule in a way that allows students to study face-to-face only three days per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and take online lessons on Tuesdays and Thursday.  The timetable also allows us to avoid public transportation during rush hour. This decision to have a blended learning format has opened up so many wonderful possibilities for our students.  Consider this; students can begin their journey inside the EC Montreal classroom from the comfort of their own home in their own country.  While students are waiting for the borders to reopen to experience a full immersion programme, students can start learning right away by joining our English or French online classes that are being taught on Microsoft Teams.  Not only will they get a taste of the language, they will also get a taste of the destination … Read more