Every summer, thousands of students from around the world come to Canada to study English, sightsee and shop as part of a mass movement of young people around the globe. With language acquisition as their primary goal, students combine learning and tourism in what has become a rite of passage for youth in many countries.
ILAC, the International Language Academy of Canada, is one of the most popular English language schools in Canada, and hosts international students year round from 70 different countries, including Brazil, Venezuela, Russia, Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia. With campuses in Toronto and Vancouver, ILAC is one of the most awarded language school in the world and has helped put Canada on the map in the international travel education industry.
At ILAC, students take English classes during the day and live with Canadian families called “homestay” in order to fully immerse themselves in Canadian culture. In the evenings and weekends they visit local tourist attractions such as The CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and of course, the Eaton Centre for shopping if they are in Toronto. At ILAC Vancouver, students participate in numerous outdoor activities such as kayaking, camping and hiking. Toronto and Vancouver are the most well-known study destinations in Canada.
International education is a $6.5 billion dollar industry in Canada, and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes are a natural starting point for most students. Many students stay on to complete ILAC’s Academic Pathway Program which prepares them for higher education in Canada. Currently ILAC is recognized by more than 40 universities and colleges across the country.
Andrea Muñoz is from Venezuela and originally came to visit Toronto as a tourist. She liked it so much that she decided to complete the pre-degree program at ILAC and in September will be going to St. Mary’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia to study Industrial Engineering.
“Canada is much safer than my country and the people here are friendly and nice,” she says. “I have more opportunities here than in I do in Venezuela.” Venezuela has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world, averaging one murder every hour in major cities like Caracas.
Luis Bracamonte is also from Venezuela, and has been accepted to Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax for a Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition. “Right now my country is having a hard time and my parents wanted me to stay in Canada,” says Luis. “I didn’t know about the opportunities to study university here until I came to ILAC and spoke with the academic pathway counsellor.”
“I expect to stay in Canada and get a job after I finish school,” says Luis Tavarez, who is from the Dominican Republic and is planning to go to Mount St. Vincent University to study Business Management. “I learned many things about Canadian culture at ILAC that will help me succeed in university, like for instance rules about plagiarism which are not so strict in my country.”
Other students are staying in Toronto to continue their formal education. Diego Castañeda is originally from Colombia, where he started his university degree. After coming to Canada to improve his English he decided to carry on his studies in Mechanical Engineering in Toronto. He completed the pre-degree program at ILAC and is starting at George Brown College in the fall.
“ILAC helps students transition from our country to this culture, so that we don’t experience the culture shock that many other immigrants and foreign students do,” he says. “There are more opportunities and areas of development in my field here, and if I want to go back to my country later I can get a better job because I will have English and Canadian credentials.”
Around the world, education is being recognized as the driver of economic, social, and personal development, which has led to an increase in student mobility to countries such as Canada. In its efforts to attract students from around the world, Canada competes with many other countries and is currently in the top four along with the UK, USA and Australia. This competition is expected to intensify as the benefits of attracting international students become more widely recognized and the global demand for international education grows. It is estimated that by 2025 the number of students studying outside of their home countries will have grown from 1.8 million to 7.2 million.
For more information about ILAC Academic Pathway Programs, visit http://www.ilac.com/programs/eup.php