IALC’s newest member, VanWest College, with schools in Vancouver and Kelowna, is the latest accredited Canadian language school to join the association. Today we spoke with Karen Kloeble, Managing Director of VanWest, to find out more about the schools, life in Canada and how they feel about joining the “IALC family”.
Q: Hello Karen, welcome to IALC! How does it feel to be part of this very exclusive group of quality language schools?
A: It’s absolutely wonderful! We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to meeting our colleagues and working under the IALC umbrella.
Q: How has 2011 been for the school so far and do you think this year will be worse, the same or better than last year?
A: So far, 2011 has been an interesting year. We have seen growth in our nationality base in both schools. All indications are that this year will be much better than last year.
Q: You were established in 1988. How have things changed at the school since then?
A: We have computers! Seriously, where teaching was originally teacher-centred and grammar-based, it is now student-centred and takes a more communicative approach. Also, students are more aware of what they want. They are looking beyond General English and seeking pathway and internship programs.
Q: What are your main aims for VanWest?
A: To build on our strong foundation and be aware and reactive to the changing needs of our students.
Q: From which countries do the majority of your come students from?
A: Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Brazil and Japan.
Q: What are the biggest attractions for students wishing to study English in Canada?
A: The biggest attractions would have to be the natural beauty of our country, clean air, friendly people and our dynamic, multi-cultural population.
Q: What would you say are the biggest challenges facing your school and language study in Canada?
A: Currently, the biggest challenge has got to be the high Canadian dollar. Unfortunately, we do not see this situation changing in the near future. This is followed closely by the difficulties we have experienced with students getting visas from Turkey and Mexico. Hopefully, this problem will be resolved.
Q: Moving on to find out more about you, which is your favourite city in the world and why?
A: Any city located near the ocean, where the sun is shining and the temperature is hot!
Q: Your favourite pastime?
A: Only one? I am lucky to have a job I love and look forward to every day. However, when not at work, I enjoy reading, movies, swimming and making (and drinking) wine.
Q: Your favourite meal?
A: Brunch! I love being able to relax, enjoy conversation and linger over a nice slow brunch.
Q: Your dream dinner guests?
A: This is tough! Well, Gordon Ramsey, of course, because he can cook! I would also like to sit down with Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey and, my personal favourite, George Clooney.
Q: Finally, what would you say are the main benefits of studying English in Canada?
A: I would say the main benefits are: the Canadian accent, the high level of personal safety and the availability of high quality and rigorously accredited language programs.
VanWest College has schools in Vancouver and Kelowna and has established a strong reputation for providing high quality English language programs. It offers a well-designed, challenging curriculum; dynamic, multicultural atmosphere; professional, caring staff and enjoyable cultural, recreational and social activities for students.