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BlogPutting the 'Culture' in Culture, Language & Connections—How Diverse Environments Foster Learning

Putting the 'Culture' in Culture, Language & Connections—How Diverse Environments Foster Learning

Written by E-QIP on June 6, 2019

Why are you interested in learning a new language?

For many of our students, the answer to that question is necessity—for a job, higher education or to make life in a new city easier.

For other students, the motivation to learn is borne out of an interest in experiencing new cultures and understanding new ways of thinking. Most of the time, the students whose motivations are practical in nature come to feel this way, too.

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As our nameCulture, Language & Connections Montrealsuggests, we’re not just passionate about teaching languages and fostering connections through language, but also about culture; about embracing and learning from the different ways our students and staff have experienced the world. That passion is shared by our students, who often tell us their reason for choosing Montreal (and E-QIP) was the opportunity it provides to connect with people from a range of diverse backgrounds in a way that wasn’t possible at home.

Studies have shown that children benefit from various forms of diversity in their learning environments, and we believe the same is true for adults. Working with students from various backgrounds not only offers new perspectives, but also encourages students (whose native languages are often different) to communicate effectively in their target language(s) with their peers rather than revert back to their mother tongue during breaks.

It’s also good practice for other areas of life; diverse workplaces often achieve better results, and can provide a competitive advantage.

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Despite our small class sizes (with a maximum of eight students per group), on any given day, a E-QIP class might include students from several countries around the globe; at present, students taking courses in our French and English departments hail from over a dozen countries including Japan, Mexico, Canada, Korea, Brazil, Poland, the United States, Argentina, Thailand, Iran, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Italy, Morocco and France, among others. Our staff is also diverse, with English, French, Spanish and Japanese regularly spoken in our halls between teachers and staff members from various backgrounds.

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A typical week at E-QIP might include conversation-based classes about food in students’ home countries, community lunches in which students lead the E-QIP community in preparing Japanese sushi or Korean kimbap, a visit to one of Montreal’s famous festivals, and, of course, countless break-time chats between students who likely would never have met outside of the classrooms of E-QIP.

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Witnessing students’ growth and their various learning styles and approaches helps our teachers hone their skills, as well. As summer approaches (and brings with it an influx of new students), we can’t wait to see who’s going to grace the halls of E-QIP next (and discover what we might learn from them)!

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