The Spirit of Halloween!

Halloween has always been a very big deal at EC Montreal! The entire month of October used to be filled with many activities meant to build anticipation for the main event; Halloween. The day would be filled with treats, parties, costume competitions and fashion show catwalk. Almost the entire student population would come to school wearing a costume and it would be terribly difficult to judge the best ones as there were so many creative ones!  Bars and night clubs around the city would also host fun Halloween parties for our students to enjoy! This year; Halloween was celebrated a little differently than previous years. We are still in the thick of the pandemic and there are many restrictions in place. Until further notice there are no social gatherings permitted.  As we are also still in the red zone; bars, restaurants and night clubs are closed. We were blown away this morning to see that so many of our students came to school wearing a Halloween costume! It made us so happy to see them filled with the Halloween spirit! We went around to all the classrooms distributing Halloween treats. They were so enthusiastic about celebrating from their desk! This enthusiasm and school spirit are a true testament to our team of teachers and school staff. They have managed to create a sense of family and community, despite our social distancing measures. Happy Halloween from our EC Montreal family! You can sign up and be part of our EC family! The borders are now open to International students holding study permits. You can also begin your language adventure from the comfort of your own home through our virtual English and French lessons. EC Montreal has found a way for us to stay connected and still remain physically distant on EC … Read more

October Teachers of the Month!

Today was an exciting day at EC Montreal! Not only did we celebrate Halloween, but we also announced our October teachers of the month! Every month, we ask our students to take the time to vote for their favorite EC Montreal teacher. At the end of the month we surprise the winning teachers in class. This month Katrina won as the favorite English teacher and Fatiha won for French! We went to their classrooms and surprised them with a Teacher of the Month certificate and gift. The students cheered for the winning teachers and posed for pictures! Every single EC Montreal teacher received votes and our students took the time to write the loveliest comments about their teacher. We are so proud of our entire team of teachers! They have truly been our heroes throughout this pandemic. They transitioned to online teaching and then to a blended learning format seamlessly. Despite what is happening outside of the classroom, our teachers have brough so much joy and laughter to the student experience in the classroom. Today is Halloween and even though we are not permitted to have any social gatherings with our students, they still came to school in costume today and they celebrated at their desks in the classroom. We were so touched by this beautiful school spirit and enthusiasm and we know that this is all thanks to the tone set by our incredible team of teachers! Congratulations to Katrina and Fatiha! Thank you for your passion and dedication to EC Montreal and your students! Some of our students took the time to write comments on our Facebook poll. We are delighted to share them with you: I learn very much!!! He’s only the best! She is a nice teacher She’s best teacher ever ? She is so kind … Read more

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday makes me really happy to share!  They are memories of EC Montreal’s annual Halloween celebrations that always included a party in the student lounge, a costume fashion show competition as well as the classroom challenge! The EC Montreal team always dressed in a matching theme.  Last year we celebrated the Day of the Dead by dressing up as Catrinas.  Our costumes were so colourful and fun. We would always begin the day by going to every classroom and distributing Halloween treats to all the students and teachers.  We would then judge the classroom challenge and count the number of students dressed up.  The class that had the most students in disguise would win a pizza lunch prize.  The runner up would win a box of Tim Hortons donuts to enjoy.  Sometimes the results were so tight that we had to choose the class that had the most elaborate costumes or the class that dressed in a theme. At the lunch break, we would decorate the student lounge and celebrate with a Halloween party.  We would have party food on every table in the lounge and would play dance music. The most exciting event of the day was the Halloween fashion show catwalk.  Everyone who was dressed up would have a chance to walk the red carpet in the student lounge.  By applause, we would announce the winners for most creative, funniest and scariest costumes.  We also had a teacher category and the would award the best teacher costume. It was always a day filled with so much fun and laughter.  We will miss these activities this year, however, we will still encourage our students and teachers to dress up in costume.  We could all use a little joy and happiness right now.  EC will give out … Read more

Safe Transfer Service Upon Arrival!

EC Montreal has started to welcome new students from abroad.  For now, students holding a study permit and have a quarantine plan in place, are considered essential travelers.  EC Montreal welcomed three new students into our city this week; two are from Colombia and one is from Japan.  All three students are currently undergoing the mandatory fourteen day quarantine.  When their quarantine period is over, they can start their lessons at EC Montreal. Two of these students purchased EC Montreal’s airport reception service.  EC Montreal has put measures in place to keep the airport reception drivers and students safe.  The vehicle has a plexiglass separating the driver from the students.  In addition, the driver wears a mask and a face shield.  The driver also has disinfectant spray, so the student can sanitize their hands upon arrival and spray the seat before entering the car.  The driver also has a package of disposable masks, in case the students wants a fresh mask to wear after a long flight. At the moment, greeters are not permitted to enter the airport.  The student must call the driver when they arrive so the driver can meet the student at the airport exit with the car.  The driver has an EC car flag installed on the window so students can easily identify the EC Montreal airport reception greeter. The greeter takes the time to speak to the student while they are driving to their homestay host and introduces the student to the hosts.  They also assist the students with their luggage and answers any questions they may have about Montreal or EC. While in quarantine, EC Montreal staff checks in with the students to see if they are doing well.  Students in quarantine can take their virtual English or French lessons so they can get … Read more

Recipe of the Week!

I have really been enjoying sharing some of my favorite recipes with the EC community. Like me, many people have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen as our outings are so limited. The recipes I choose tell a story of past EC Montreal experiences. The weather is getting colder and this time of year we craze hearty, comfort foods. A very traditional dish in Quebec is meat pie. In French it is called Tortiere. It is served often during the colder months and you will always find it on a holiday table during Christmas, Thanksgiving and at the sugar shack every spring! It is very easy to make and easier if you cut corners like me and use store bought pie crust. We hope you will give this recipe a try and get a taste of Quebec! For my version of meat pie, you will need the following ingredients: – Pillsbury pie dough – 1 cup of ground pork – 1 cup of ground beef – 1 small onion – 2 cloves of garlic – 1 cup of beef broth – 1 cup of mashed potatoes – 3 tablespoons of flour – Seasoned salt – Salt and pepper to taste – 2 tablespoons of olive oil Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil. Add the diced onion and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add the ground meat and mix until browned. Season the meat. Add the mashed potatoes and stir in until very well blended with the meat. In a bowl, mix together the beef broth and the flour. Mix until it forms a gravy like mixture. Add this mixture to the skillet. Mix it all well. Carefully roll out the pie dough into a pie dish. Pour the meat … Read more

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday image is that of EC Montreal’s annual Oktoberfest celebrations in the student lounge.  Every October, we make sure to include these festivities are part of our social events calendar.  Celebrating different cultural events has become an important addition to our activities at EC Montreal.  It has helped our students who have been missing home and in addition it has introduced our students with a variety of different traditions celebrated around the world! We know that Oktoberfest actually takes place in September, but here in Canada, bars and restaurants introduce a special Oktoberfest menu in October.  Our September calendar is usually action packed with our apple themed activities, Korean Thanksgiving, Saudi National Day, Mexican and Brazilian Independence day celebrations. We also came up with a cute name for our October themed calendar.  It is Haunted Oktoberfest!  It is a mix of Halloween and Oktoberfest events! For our Oktoberfest event, we decorate the student lounge with blue and white balloons; the symbolic colours of the Munich events in Germany.  We also have German flags on display.  We make sure to purchase German beer to give our students a small taste of the traditional beer.  We also have sausage grilling on our indoor grill as well as pretzels on every table in the student lounge. It is an opportunity to bring life and a party atmosphere to our students after class on a Wednesday afternoon.  Our students look forward to these events as they allow our students to interact with one another, make friends and practice their language skills. Sadly, these types of events are on hold until we overcome this pandemic hurdle.  We cannot wait to resume these type of activities that we miss so much! For now, we will encourage everyone to hold a virtual Happy Hour … Read more

Give the Gift of EC Virtual French!

Dacio Pasarell is an EC Montreal Virtual French student. He also happens to be the love of my life! He is my husband. We recently celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary and I surprised him with virtual French lessons. It was the best present I have ever given him! This is what Dacio wanted to share with all of you about his EC Virtual French experience: I have been working from home since March. I set up an office for myself in the basement and my wife, who happens to be the Center Director at EC Montreal, was working from the dining room table upstairs. Throughout the summer, we enjoyed our family time together. Eating our meals together in our backyard. Covid cases were on the decline and things were finally looking up. September came around and my wife returned to work and my girls started school. I remained at home in my office basement. In addition, the city of Montreal was moved to the red zone as the new rise in cases was becoming concerning.  I was starting to feel the pandemic fatigue that we have been hearing so much about. French is my third language. I get by with my basic French skills but always wanted to dedicate more time to improving my skills. My wife decided to surprise me with four weeks of EC Virtual French lessons for our wedding anniversary. I take the French lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I need to work late throughout the week to make up this time, but it has been well worth it. I have been really enjoying the lessons. My instructor, Essadia brings so much enthusiasm and joy to the lessons. She makes learning fun. It is only my second week and I already … Read more

Recipe of the Week!

It’s October and we are all looking forward to Halloween! Even though things are very different this year because of the pandemic, you can still see Halloween decoration in the shop windows, and many have decorated the outside of their homes with fall flowers, pumpkins and inflatable Halloween characters. At EC Montreal, every October, EC Montreal would introduce students to many Halloween activities to create anticipation and exciting to celebrate Halloween. For many of our students, it is their first time celebrating this holiday. As we get ready to celebrate Halloween, we are thinking about fall treats. Pumpkin spice seems to be the most popular flavor of the season! So, this week’s recipe is that of pumpkin thumbprint cookies. They are very easy to make and absolutely delicious. We hope you will give them a try. For my version of pumpkin thumbprint cookies, you will need the following ingredients: – 2.5 cups of flour – 1 tsp of pumpkin spice – 1 tsp of baking soda – ½ tsp of baking powder – 1 cup of butter – 2/3 cup of brown sugar – 1/3 cup of white sugar – 1 egg – 1 tsp of vanilla extract – 1 cup of pumpkin puree For the filling, you will need: – ½ cup of softened butter – 1 package of cream cheese – 2 cups of icing sugar – 1 tsp of vanilla extract Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray with cooking spray.  In a mixing bowl, blend together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and baking powder until well combined. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract and the pumpkin puree and mix well.  Add the flour mixture with the pumpkin mixture … Read more

Board Games to Help You Improve Your Language Skills!

These are difficult times.  We are currently experiencing the second wave of the virus and in Montreal, we have been moved to the red zone.  This means that the government has implemented stricter safety measures.  Dining halls have been closed as have bars, casinos and most tourist attractions.  These measures are to prevent social gatherings to stop the spread of the virus.  We hope these measures will work so we can resume all the activities we truly enjoy doing in Montreal.  We will encourage our EC Montreal students to respect these measures so they can remain healthy and safe. The EC Montreal school remains open.  Schools are considered essential services, so they have not been closed.  All of the safety measures EC Montreal has implemented are working to keep everyone safe.  When we reopened on August 31, we told our staff and our students that we could not get lazy with the new school procedures.  This extra effort was going to keep us safe.  The temperature checks, the daily health screening, the social distancing and mandatory mask requirement are just some of the measures we have put in place. We strongly encourage our students to choose outdoor activities during these times and how important it is for our physical and mental state to get fresh air and vitamin D!  The fall colours are beautiful and taking a walk around the neighbourhood and in local parks will provide the exercise and change of scenery necessary to keep our spirits up. We also encourage students to take place in virtual activities.  There are virtual happy hour events, trivia nights, netflix viewing parties and virtual workouts that can really help to pass the time and to stay connected. The government has made it very clear that everyone should remain in their own bubbles … Read more

Throwback Thursday!

This week’s Throwback Thursday are images of EC Montreal students getting ready to celebrate Halloween.  EC Montreal’s October calendar of events was named Haunted Oktoberfest!  Many of the Wednesday complimentary activities had a Halloween theme to get the students excited to celebrate their first Halloween in Canada!  Halloween is a very big deal in Canada.  It is not only for kids!  Everyone plans their costumes well in advance and many people find ways to celebrate with parties and other fun activities. At EC Montreal, the office team would always dress in themes.  Last year, we celebrated the Day of the Dead and we all dressed up as Catrinas and Catrins. Everyone looked amazing with the very colourful face paint and flowers.  The year before we were all hippies.  We have so many wonderful memories of us all dressed up as police officers, devils, angels, witches, chefs, cowboys and so many other wonderful costumes! The EC Montreal teachers would also get dressed up and encourage their students to come to school wearing costumes.  We would have prizes for the classes that had the most students dressed up. EC Montreal would host a Halloween party and fashion show every year on Halloween.  The party would have so many wonderful treats and dance music, so the students could celebrate all together in the student lounge.  We would create a runway and each student and staff wearing a costume would strut across the catwalk and everyone would cheer! All of EC Montreal’s activities leading up to Halloween were to build up our students’ excitement!  The activities would include pumpkin carving and decorating, horror movie showing, Halloween cupcake decorating and Halloween costume shopping! Sadly, we will not have any of these events at EC Montreal this year to discourage any type of social distancing, however, … Read more