Being an Intern at EC Vancouver – by Minha

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With my graduation ahead, I had been thinking about my future and what I should do after graduation. One day, I had a thought that I wanted to practice my English, and I came to Canada with no definite plans in view. I had been spending my first month doing nothing special. One day, I got to be Student Ambassador in EC Vancouver by accident. What I had to do is welcome new students on Mondays, and introduce myself as the Student Ambassador, helping the students when they need someone to ask something about Vancouver, school or classes. My other task was making all students speak only English in school. Also, I organized several free activities for students to enjoy Vancouver life better. With these activities I could easily get along with people from many different countries all around the world. Most of all, I got many opportunities to make speeches in public, which made me not to be nervous any more, when I speak English.

Doing Student Ambassador, I believe I got close to some EC staffs. When my lessons that I registered were almost over, a staff in front desk, Craig, asked me if I am interested in doing internship in school due to the fact that they need a Korean student intern. I was glad, because I had no idea about what I should do after finishing school just in time and wanted to do something special which I can do only in Canada. It is great for improving my English to talk to my friends from other countries, especially to friends who speak better than me. However, we both are not native English speakers, which means we sometimes create our own English, use incorrect expressions, but we know what that means each other, because we are close friends. For these reasons, I thought it would be nice to meet many Canadians, so I can talk to them in correct English, learn their cultures. However, unfortunately, it is not easy to be engaged in serious conversation with Canadian, even though I am living here in Vancouver. First of all, to do it, I need to get close to them, but it is difficult to find the places to meet Canadian naturally (casually?). Second of all even if I found that sort of places, it would be hard to communicate well each other, so both would be frustrated, since I don’t speak English perfectly.

In this way, my internship was amazing. Most of people in EC Vancouver were very friendly warm-hearted to me, and they were patient with listening to me speaking slowly. I guess that is because they usually deal with foreigners in their work place. They seemed to be used to it. Actually, I had confidence to speak English at the beginning of my internship, because I had talked a lot to my friends from school and hadn’t felt frustrated in the conversation. However, talking to colleague was totally different. Most of them were native English speakers or people from other countries who have lived in Canada such a long time. They spoke too fast for me to get it. I remember I watched News and TV shows to practice listening in every evening after work.

What I had to do as an intern was counsel students on the front desk, answer the phone call, put information on the computer, administrate placement and exit exam things like that. It was not too difficult and I sometimes got free time, so I could talk about personal things with staffs in EC. Since some of them used to be an English teacher in the past, they understood all my awkward English, and even correct my mistakes. It was the best environment ever for who wants to learn English. Also, they invited me to party in their place, and one day, there was a barbeque party in Stanley Park. At that time I shared many personal things with co-workers while talking and doing some activities each other. It made me more comfortable to work together. Excepting English, there were other good things to work here. I could learn how Canadians work. It was totally different from Korean office such as relationships among workers, a pecking order. It seems more casual than Korean’s.

Honestly, I didn’t make elaborated plans about what to do here. So, my life in Canada might have been boring and meaningless. However, I am satisfied with what I have done here. It is because I chose EC Vancouver. I really appreciated EC Vancouver to offer this great experience for me. I think I was lucky and I will miss here so much.

Have a wonderful trip home Minha! Thank you for all of your help – we will miss you!