ELP learner, Juan Luis Muniz, describes his experience at the ELP
Could you briefly describe yourself, your goals, previous education, past work experience, home country, etc.?
I am from Jaral del Progreso in Mexico. I am 21 years old and I am a student majoring in electrical engineering in El Instituto Tecnológico Superior del Sur de Guanajuato (ITSUR). A little bit of myself, I am a friendly person who loves to explore new places and make new friends. I am a curious about how things work around me. My previous work experience includes assisting my father with his business during the summer months in Mexico.
What course are you taking at the English Language Program (ELP)?
I am currently enrolled in the English for Effective Communications program-Intermediate level.
Why did you choose Toronto, Canada as the place to study?
My university and the state of Guanajuato where I am from offered this opportunity and I have always heard that Toronto, Canada is a diverse and a multicultural city that is why I chose to come here.
Describe the moment you decided you will take this step and you were headed to Toronto, Ontario? What did you feel like?
I was very excited and happy because of this great opportunity to learn English at the University of Toronto English Language Program. Plus, I was excited to gain leadership skills, explore myself while exploring Toronto. I also felt a little bit sad because I was going to stay away from my family for two months. I encouraged myself by saying, “This is my moment and chance to improve my English and explore a new country.”
I encouraged myself by saying, “This is my moment and chance to improve my English and explore a new country.”
What do you think is a characteristic or a skill that you have developed?
A skill that I have developed is to be brave, positive and try new and different activities. Plus, I have learned that my family will always support and encourage me even when I am away.
If you can describe your experience here at the ELP with one ice cream flavour, what would it be? And why?
Okay, I will say the flavour of Lemon because it is my favourite flavour and my experience here at the ELP has been incredible.
What activity outside of class did you most enjoy and why?
My favourite activity is for sure the Niagara Falls. It was such a beautiful scene and I enjoyed the nature a lot. It was an exciting opportunity to go there with ELP friends. I have always wanted to visit the Niagara Falls as it represents a major Canadian tourist attraction.
The people I have met at the ELP have influenced my learning experience as they supported and encouraged me to speak English through conversations during the ELP activities after class. Plus, I have made life-long friends with other ELP students from different countries.
What was the role of the people you met (ELP staff, ELP students and instructors) in your experience of learning English?
The people I met at the ELP have influenced my learning experience as they supported and encouraged me to speak English through conversations during the ELP activities after class. Plus, I have made life-long friends with other ELP learners from different countries. The Cultural Assistants established a friendly and encouraging environment that improved the quality of my English learning experience.
Did you volunteer while studying at the ELP? How many hours did you spend volunteering?
Yes! I did volunteer with the ELP. I volunteered for 18 hours in different places. I still remember my first time volunteering. It was at Black Creek Pioneer Village where I helped with setting up the event, assisting the public with directions.
Our students give up a lot of their time volunteering so I always like to ask this question, what do you take away from volunteering; or, why volunteer?
Every volunteering opportunity teaches you something different. What I like about volunteering is being able to practice English with native speakers. Plus, volunteering is very rewarding as you can help others no matter of the language barriers or difficulties you might have expressing yourself.
Do you have advice for current or future learners at the ELP?
I advise learners not to stay in your comfort zone with others who speak the same language as you do. Plus, I encourage them to try new activities and meet new people as this is your chance to enjoy the experience. I would like to share a quote that I have found online with all the ELP learners: “Your time is like a river and we can’t touch the same water twice.”
Anything else that you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to say that I am a proud Mexican and I am very grateful for the opportunity offered to me from the state of Guanajuato and my university to learn English at the University of Toronto English Language Program. Plus, I am so thankful for all the people who I have met here including the ELP instructors, students and the Cultural Assistants.