ESL Learner Flourishes in Creative Writing

ESL Learner Flourishes in Creative Writing

A notebook

“I would say to those who are new to English, once you have a grasp of the language, don’t be afraid to study creative writing. It’s a fun and engaging way to practice your language skills, and who knows what you might discover.”- Jiajie Hu, SCS learner

When Jiajie Hu came to Canada from China in 2006, his goal was to continue his career in advertising copywriting. “I wanted to continue my copywriting career in Canada, but needed to build my English skills. This can be a difficult career path for someone who has English as a second language,” says Jiajie. “I didn’t realize how hard the career transition would be, even with ESL training. I ended up returning to China for a few years, offering Chinese to English translation copywriting services. When I returned to Canada in 2012, I wanted to take my English skills to the next level. This is why I was drawn to the Creative Writing program at the School of Continuing Studies.”

According to Jiajie, reading classic novels helped him prepare for his studies at SCS. “I wanted to improve my English in a way that would still feel creative and exciting. I began reading, especially Hemmingway, who is a very popular author in China. Reading his work inspired me, and I realized I wanted to study creative writing for reasons beyond improving my English; I want to be a writer and tell my story,” reflects Jiajie, who will complete his Creative Writing Certificate this Spring. “SCS greatly improved my writing skills, but also really fuelled my creativity. I began writing my novel, a story about the immigrant experience; coming to Canada from China, and the challenges faced as a newcomer. My instructor and mentor, Elizabeth Ruth, encouraged me to keep writing my story, even when I hit roadblocks. She made me feel I can reach my goals. Being in a new country, learning in a new language…that meant a lot.”

Today, Jiajie is pursuing a new business venture: building an Artificial Intelligence company. But writing, and eventually completing his novel, remains a top priority. “I would say to those who are new to English, once you have a grasp of the language, don’t be afraid to study creative writing. It’s a fun and engaging way to practice your language skills, and who knows what you might discover,” smiles Jiajie. “I didn’t know I had a novel in me, but continuing education allowed me to uncover a creativity within myself, and I’m loving the process of telling that story.”


 

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