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School of Continuing Studies | University of Toronto

ELP Success Story – Louise Yang

The following is an interview that was done with Louise Yang who recently finished studying Academic English Level 60 at the English Language Program.

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

Originally I chose to take these courses in order to meet the requirements of the Museum Studies Program, which requires a grade of an A to be accepted into the program. Looking back, it was a welcoming beginning for my new life in Toronto. While preparing myself for the Museum Studies Program and improving my English skills I was able to meet many different people.

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

The people and the instructors stand out the most, in particular Terry and Yaseen, because they were very helpful and knowledgeable as well as interesting and humorous. There was help available to me even after I had finished my courses. I found the courses to be loveable because of the many interactions taking place during class and the funny settings that were set up to practice your English skills.

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

At first I did not feel encouraged enough to speak English, initially people did not understand me because of my accent. In the classroom I was very encouraged to speak English and to learn, because even though you are making many mistakes both the teacher and your classmates are there to help you improve your English skills. For example, Terry told me that you need to let people know your ideas and opinions and you shouldn’t let the language barrier get in your way of expressing yourself.

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

Yes, I volunteered twice at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation marathon and the waterfront marathon.  I was responsible to make sure everyone was lined up and where they should be. It is very interesting to see the behind the scenes of large fundraising events and how fundraising is conducted in Canada. It was also very uplifting to see everyone’s motivation.

Q: Did you participate in the University and College Application Support program? How did it help you?

Yes, I participated.  I had many of my documents edited before submitting them for my application. It was a very helpful service.

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 applied to three masters programs two at the University of Toronto (Museum Studies and East Asian Studies) and the other at Queen’s University (Cultural Studies). I was accepted to the Museum Studies program, which was my first choice. I was also accepted to the program at Queen’s University, but I have declined the offer because I have decided to enroll in the Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto.

Q: Did you attend any academic support sessions? Did these appointments help you?

Yes, I attended a number of one-on-one appointments. I found them very helpful. It was more efficient sitting down for a one on one appointment and being able to improve my own documents. Also during the one on one appointments I was able to clearly understand the requirements I needed to meet to apply to the Museum Studies program.  Additionally, it allowed me to understand why I needed to change specific parts of my application. Overall, I found that the individual communication was very effective.

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

Before applying to any program I would recommend doing as much research as you can on a prospective program. For example, meet current students, attend classes, and research the faculty; a lot of this information is on the faculty specific website. When you are completing your application, emphasize your unique qualities within your application; this will help you stand out to the admissions committee. 

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

It is hard to say right now, I guess we will find out next year. Even though it is tough not being a native English speaker, the classes at the English Language Program have boosted my confidence in being able to express myself and my opinions.

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 am not sure, but I know that I want to pursue many different career paths after graduation, so we will see.

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

My program begins in September, I am planning to travel and do volunteer work. I would like to travel and see different regions of China.  I am now also a long term volunteer for the Harbourfront Centre and I will continue to search for volunteer opportunities at the Volunteer Toronto website.

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

I think I will try a lot of different things before I settle down. I’ve had a dream to be a zookeeper since I was a child, but I am not sure if I am qualified since I do not have an education background in Zoology. Who knows? Maybe after my Museum Studies program I’ll pursue a Zoology education. Most likely, I will pursue careers relevant to my Museum Studies Program such as a curator career in different museums around the world.

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

English is a very important tool you can use to communicate, because of the different cultures present at this program you will always have something to talk about because of the different experiences and cultural backgrounds. The connections made here will allow you to know people around the world and even have potential private tour guides when travelling abroad.

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