Rebeka Coelho De Almeida Alves from Brazil shares her experience while attending the Higher Score® TOEFL course at EC Vancouver.
First of all, I’d like to thank my mom for this great exchange.
Coming to Canada wasn’t my first choice, but turned out to be the best one because of my friend Manu, who came here two years ago and was at the same home-stay (The best host family ever! Thank you for everything Foleys, and sorry about anything that might have happened).
Personally speaking, I don’t like the cold weather so much but I wanted to see snow at least once in my life and if you are like me, I advise you to come to Vancouver, which has the “warmest” Winter in Canada (If you wonder about going to Rio de Janeiro, you should know that here is the Canadian Rio).
About experiences, I can tell you that after six fast months here, I opened my mind and turned myself more to enculturation and also became resilient to change. EC had some importance in my way of life here and made my personal changes more comfortable at this time. I have friends from other ESL schools and I’ve had chances to go into some of these and exchange some experiences about how they teach their students and I suppose that EC has the best infrastructure and also the best team.
I took lessons with a plenty of teachers at EC and all of them are very helpful and make classes a good place to make friends, improve our English and to make us comfortable as if we were in our hometown.
In addition, everyone here has a special place in my heart and will stay in my mind for a really long time, since Sawako at the front desk, Aaron, my tutor Fernanda and, of course, the best teacher in my entire life, Tom, who made me improve my English skills, especially pronunciation and intonation.
Coming here in the second semester was the best choice. I could enjoy the end of summer, going to Lynn Canyon and climbing up Grouse Mountain during this season (Thanks Danilo, you were fundamental to why I didn’t give up) and now I can tell everyone “Yes, I climbed a mountain and saw bears on the top with an amazing sunset!”. I also went to ride a bike during the summer and fall in Stanley Park, also listening to music and enjoying this beautiful place a couple of times.
Here I could go camping in the USA as a Canadian with my indescribable family and celebrate Halloween like in the movies I watched when I was younger. I also enjoyed Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, my birthday with many new friends from as many continents as possible, Christmas with my host family and New Year’s Eve away from home made me realize how another culture is important in our development as a good person.
In conclusion, I would like to say something important to everyone. Don’t waste your time being at home and feeling homesick. Enjoy your time far away from home even if the weather isn’t really nice to go out or if you are missing your home, family and friends.
Make friends and join them as much as you can, it could be your last chance to see each other because they are probably from the other side of the world, go to new, big or small places, do outdoor activities, try new foods, hang out together, learn about new cultures and speak English as much as possible! You are not going to regret if you do these things and by the end of your exchange, yourself, your family, your boss and your friends will be really proud of you!