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School of Continuing Studies | University of Toronto

ELP Success Story – Dilraba Anayatova

Q: What courses have you taken at the English Language Program?

Initially, I was enrolled in Academic English Level 60. After completing Level 60 I enrolled in and completed two Advanced Academic English courses.

Q: Why did you choose to take these courses? What was your motivation for studying at ELP?

First of all, Level 60 is the language requirement to apply to the University of Toronto which meant that I wouldn’t have to take other English proficiency tests. I decided to continue with Advanced Academic Skill because it focused on preparing me for university. By practicing writing academic research papers and literature reviews I believe that it is a great preparation course for any Masters level university program.

Q: What experiences from the English Language Program stand out to you the most?

There are a lot of positive memories. After two days of being enrolled in Level 60, my classmates and I went sightseeing in Toronto. It was a very busy three months, while studying I wanted to see as many places as I could.

Q: What challenges did you experience when you first arrived in Toronto? How did you overcome these challenges?

The biggest challenge for me was that I didn’t know anyone; as a result my classmates became my family. I also didn’t know the city which was both challenging and exciting. It was also the first country I visited where English is the only language spoken, and my first time away from home for a longer period of time.

Q: Did you volunteer during your time at the ELP? How many hours?

Yes I volunteered a lot! I arrived in the summer so I was able to volunteer at a lot of different festivals like Dusk Dances, Big on Bloor and Island Girl. I also volunteered at marathons like the Waterfront marathon, as well as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Run for the Cure. Another great experience was volunteering in various soup kitchens like the Scott Mission. With my teacher, my class and I went to TESOL which is a teacher’s conference, where I presented in front of an audience. I was also able to volunteer in an elementary school where we helped classrooms with their Halloween activities like carving pumpkins. I enjoyed Halloween because of the wide range of people that celebrate this holiday; both young and old.

Q: Were you part of any clubs during your time at the ELP? Did you learn additional skills beyond the Academic English classroom?

I participated in many volunteer opportunities which taught me many different skills but I also participated in various clubs. I participated in softball; it was the first time I played and I really enjoyed playing. While I am at the English Language Program I also participated in Brazillian “forró” dance classes twice a week at the Centre for International Experience. In the music club we also sang a bunch of Russian songs which was a lot of fun.

Q: Did you participate in University and College Application Support (UCAS)? How did it help you?

Yes, I participated in the UCAS. The staff were very kind and helped me a lot with my CV and letter of intent. UCAS offered me a lot of great advice regarding the content and formatting issues. They also sat down with me and helped me understand the confusing program requirements and application procedure.

Q: What programs are you applying to and do you have prior education in this field? Have you had a response from the schools you’ve already applied to? Were you accepted?

I have been accepted into the Master of Education specializing in Language and Literacies Education at University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). I was also accepted to the Department of applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies at Carleton University.  

Q: What advice would you give to students that are currently going through the application process?

The most important piece of advice that I would give would be to carefully explore everything that a program has to offer. Do not choose more than ten programs. Make sure to keep a checklist of the different document requirements and deadlines for each program and school. Most importantly, stay positive; for me it was very hard because at first I got two rejections from U of T and McGill. Since then I keep a photo of a positive and inspiring quote as my phone background to keep me motivated!

Q: Do you feel that the ELP has prepared you to succeed at an English speaking university/college?

Yes, I definitely feel prepared. The Advanced Academic skills helped me because they really focus on the tasks that will be required of you in university.

Q: Do you intend on staying in the country of your school after you finish your degree? Or do you intend to return home?

I have to return home because my scholarship requires me to work for 5 years in Kazakhstan after I graduate from the Master’s program. Kazakhstan is a very young country (24 years in 2015), every year a group of students are sent abroad to study at the most prestigious universities and gain experience that can later be used in Kazakhstan.

Q: What are you going to do until you start school?

I miss my family so maybe I will go to see my family until September.

Q: What does your future hold? What are you going to do 10 years from now?

I am thinking about pursuing a career in an education institute as a researcher. Specifically, I am interested in education policy.

Q: Do you have any last comments about the English Language Program?

I have made a lot of friends here. It was an unforgettable experience for me. I feel very lucky to be here because the program provides both English language knowledge as well as an amazing social experience. There is a lot of effort to engage international students both socially and academically through the many activities available to every student. I am so happy that I came here through the English Language Program; I have explored and learned a lot and tried a lot of things that many international students wouldn’t have the chance to do.

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