London International Academy
Agent Update - Summer 2016
What's new in London, CANADA?
The “Forest City” truly comes alive during the summer months. With the perfect blend of festivals and multi-cultural events, to sporting events and concerts there is something for everyone!
Check out some of the events happening in London this summer:
- July 1st - Canada Day Celebrations - dozens of events happening around the city to celebrate the 149th birthday of Canada and its people. Fireworks, musical performances and plenty of red and white.
- July 7-10th - Sunfest - a multi-cultural festival of food, culture, art and music. Join thousands of Londoners for a taste of international food and performances by world renowned performers.
- July 13-16th - Rock the Park - a musical festival in downtown London, featuring 16 different artists; a rock night, indie night and country music night.
- July 14-24th - Pride London - a festival of celebratory, cultural and educational events to affirm the lives of the LGBT community.
- July 15-17th - Home County Music & Art Festival - live musical performances by Canadian artists, crafts booths and gourmet foods.
- July 28-August 1st - Rib Fest - an array of ribs from vendors around the world to taste, fun exhibits, games and rides.
- August 1st - Emancipation Day Celebration - a day to celebrate the freedom of slavery. The event features soul food, games and music.
- August 20th - Pawlooza - a free festival dedicated to dogs and pet lovers! Join thousands of people and pups for games, shops and treats.
Located just 5 minutes from our downtown LIA campus, Ivy Hall is our girl's residence. Both Ivy Hall and King (boy's residence) offer 24-hour residence advisors and security, study rooms, dining hall, internet and laundry services.
We offer single, double, triple and quad accommodations to suit our students' needs.
If families prefer their student to live in homestay, LIA is pleased to arrange a homestay opportunity as well. We have a partnership with Canada Homestay Network, as well as our own network of carefully chosen homestay families.
Click here for a Virtual Tour guide of a shared room at Ivy Hall.
Student Profile: Jorge Alberto Bravo Perez
We sat down with Jorge Bravo Perez, a 17-year-old boy from Colombia who has been at LIA since the start of our Winter Semester. Read on to hear his thoughts on improving his English, his home stay experience and living through a Canadian winter!
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jorge Alberto Bravo Perez, I came from Colombia and I am 17 years old.
When did you first arrive in Canada?
I arrived in January. When I came here, I didn’t speak English like this now; but I am getting better and I am feeling good.
What were you feeling when you first arrived at LIA? Were you nervous?
When I came here I was so excited. I just continued studying and talking to teachers to practice my English. Everyone here is so friendly, it is like being part of a family and that’s one thing that helped me. I like that everyone here speaks other languages, like Chinese, so I have to speak English with them. I can’t speak Spanish and so I practice my English.
Tell me about your home stay?
I have the best home stay. When I came here I realized I have another family, it is like my other family. I love them, they are so friendly. I have been travelling with them and next month we will travel to a small house, close to Toronto on a lake, so that will be awesome.
What kind of advice would you give to someone back in Colombia who is considering coming to Canada, in order to have a successful experience?
You should go because it will be a really good experience, and you should come to LIA. I have friends who came here to Canada with other companies, and I visited them in Toronto and one different thing is that they study with Latin people, and they do their classes in Spanish, so they don’t practice their English. So that’s why I recommend to come to LIA because people are from around the world and you must speak English, because they don’t speak your language necessarily.
What are some of the things you like about this city? (London, Ontario)
I love this city because it’s so similar to my hometown. It’s a quiet city, you can walk around with no problems, everyone is friendly, everything is close. You can use the public transport and get around with no problems.
What are your favourite things to do for fun here in Canada?
I like playing soccer with Mr. Selles, it’s a lot of fun. I love going to the YMCA after school to work-out, and I also ride my bicycle to school because the weather is great.
You have gotten involved in volunteering and sports, can you tell me which specific things you have done here?
I like to volunteer because you can practice your English, it’s a really good experience because you interact with different people and socialize with people from the city and the school. I have volunteered with Linda from London Community Gardens; that was my first volunteering experience. I translated as she worked with Latin people. I have also volunteered at BMO sports centre, playing soccer with the children.
What kind of benefits do you think you will have when you move back to Colombia, now that you have improved your English skills?
Wherever you go, you can find people that speak English, so it’s a really great thing; that’s why we are here! I’m going to study medicine and the best books are in English. I want to be a doctor and get a specialization, in intensive care, the ICU. I like helping people. I am going to study medicine in Colombia and I have four options of schools.
How does the weather compare here to back in Colombia?
The weather is so different, but I liked the winter and the cold. I had the opportunity to be in this place when everything is white. I went snowboarding with the school and my home stay too, its so fun, I love snowboarding. And now I can say I am good at snowboarding. In Colombia, it only snows in the mountains.
What is your favourite food?
Canadian: I have asked some people what the typical Canadian food is, they told me there isn’t one but they gave me the advice to try poutine, and its good I liked it. I also like hamburgers.
Colombian: frijoles (beans with green plantain), Sancocho (soup with meat; chicken/fish, potatoes, cassava, green plantain), Ajiaco (chicken, potatoes, soup with gasca spice), tajades (fried ripe plantain)
Is there anything you want to add?
I am so happy here, and my advice is you should come. I’ve made a lot of good memories here, playing soccer, meeting new people, I have made friends from China who want to come to Colombia now, and they are all welcome. The first two months were hard, but I have made it through. Everything gets better, and once you can see how your English is going to improve, sure makes me feel good.
Global Scholarships at LIA
Every year, we allocate 20 credits valued at $2000 each, to distribute internationally to deserving students. Our next scholarship budget is ready and we are in search of great candidates to apply TODAY!
All scholarships are tuition-based only and can potentially grant up to 100% of the tuition.
London International Academy boasts excellent university acceptance rates and a strong record of accomplishments after completion of post-secondary education. Click here to check out our scholarships and turn a possible lead into a positive applicant.
Diversifying our student body helps all the students of the world be active and engaged global citizens.
We look forward to your application(s) today.
STEM at London International Academy
The 2015-2016 school year saw the official inauguration of the STEM program building on several years of successful extracurricular STEM related activities largely connected with 3D printing. There were several significant developments during the year a few of which are mentioned here.
Our 3D printing capabilities expanded strongly during the 2015-2016 school year. We now have two student-built 3D printers – a Prusa Mendel and a Prusa i3. The Prusa i3 was donated to the school by a student member of the Engineering Club who built the printer with friends on his own initiative. Students built and successfully tested the 3D printer in 5 days and now use it to make parts for other projects.
Among these projects is the Farmbot, a robot and database designed to automatically tend plants and help farmers or individuals make informed decisions to improve their agricultural results. This is a new technology that is currently under development and shared openly on the Internet. LIA students are building a Farmbot in order to further refine their skills in 3D printing, gain engineering experience and make connections with the wider community. This particular project has a lot of potential for future development because it connects to a broad range of STEM disciplines. Students have been gradually nearing completion of the physical assembly of the Farmbot and will soon start to work on the underlying computer and database systems.
In November, 2014, the students started LIA's first FRC robotics team. The team, the LIA Kungfu Engineers, attended a Quick Build event at Western University on January 9, 2016. Fourteen team members attended the FRC Regional Championships in Windsor in April, 2016. At one point, the team was ranked in the top half of the 52 team field. The LIA FRC robot delivered the STEM award to an outstanding student at the graduation ceremony on April 22. Several students planning to return to LIA are already making plans for next year's team.
A computer engineering technology course was designed and implemented with a view to advancing the standing of our STEM program. Unique features of this credit include the following:
- Blended online / in-class learning
- Flipped classroom
- Connection with hands on activities and technologies such as the FRC Robot, Farmbot, 3D printers, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, operating systems and webservers
- Partnership with and support from local organizations including London Innovation, the London Institute for Public Policy and the London Youth Advisory Council
- Real-world outcomes tied to the final evaluation. Students organized a technology and society symposium open to a wider audience, building on last year's successful coffee house
Teacher Profile: Maggie Hannan
Senior Director of Academic Affairs Maggie Hannan always thought she would become a Doctor. She completed her undergraduate degree with a Major in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry from the University of Waterloo; but then decided to get her teaching degree from Queens University.
She began her teaching career overseas, spending 5 years at an American school and then in New Zealand where she taught for 3 years at an International school, much like LIA.
What brought you here?
I loved teaching international kids, so when I came back to Canada I applied for a position at LIA, having worked at a similar school in another country I felt I was a good candidate for the school and had that experience.
I started teaching part-time; biology, one line of math. I was really in the right place at the right time when the Director of Academic Affairs position became open, I knew that I had a passion and a vision for education that was a great fit for the school.
How long have you been in your current role?
Since the 2012-2013 school year, so 3 years.
What do you think it is about LIA that sets it apart from other schools?
- The students: We have an amazing group of students who are really motivated to learn. That means the classroom atmosphere is not like other schools, we don’t have the classroom management and discipline problems that other schools have. The kids are engaged in the learning process, and that is different than most other schools. The kids want to be here, they want to learn.
- The staff: We also have an amazing teaching staff, and as a professional it’s a great place to work because I can learn from other teachers and we work as a collaborative team to make the teaching at the school better too. That is what draws teachers to the school, but the reason teachers stay is the idea that we are becoming more international and what that is going to look like in our classrooms. I had a German, two Colombians and Asian students in a really small classroom last year and that was the best class I ever taught here by a long margin. So for me, something good is really on the horizon, its going to be so much more diverse, and it really changes the atmosphere of the classroom when you get those other cultures mixed in. I am excited about the future growth of the international component of the school.
What is so great about LIA for our students?
They gain a global perspective that they wouldn’t get at a school that isn’t multicultural. Learning about other languages and other cultures builds tolerance and builds up a global awareness, and we live and work in a global society. It doesn’t matter where they get their future job, they’re not going to be working with people from one culture, they’re not even going to be doing business with people from one country. Whatever business they are in is going to have relationships with people, and they are already more prepared because they’ve gone to school and already learned about those cultural differences that set different places apart. How we communicate with people from different cultures is not the same, so they’re going to build a skill set and tolerance, a love of diversity and travel that they’re not going to get in a regular school.
What is it that you like about teaching in Canada?
The curriculum is much better than other countries. The Ontario Curriculum is a rigorous curriculum, it has a very high standard, but it’s very detailed, it doesn’t allow for the teacher to make a ton of judgment calls on what’s important and what’s not important; which means the standard of education is the same, no matter where you go. That is missing in a lot of curriculum's globally; but in Ontario, the regulation and level of detail in our curriculum allows it to be taught universally across the schools, and at high standard because there is no guess work involved.
What is your favourite subject to teach?
When I was a student, I loved biology, and I had to get Chemistry because it was a necessary evil; you had to have two teaching subjects, but the longer I’m in it, I actually really love teaching Chemistry too. But, I would say Biology is still my favourite to teach because I don’t think I have to work very hard to make it relevant. We’re talking about your body; everyone has one, whereas when you’re teaching something more abstract like math or physics, you have to work harder to make people see the real world connection. In science, you don’t have to work very hard to do that.
The other reason I would say Biology is probably my favourite is the kids that take the class are there because they love Biology. It’s not a requirement for everyone to graduate, so the students that I see are engaged in the learning process, so it makes the class a little more enjoyable for me to teach because I have kids who really want to know what we are talking about in class.
What is your teaching style?
I think I am a Socratic teacher, in that I do a lot of explaining and talking. But I think I make things more interesting and fun, because I always weave into that Socratic style, stories and experiences that I’ve had in my life that make what I’m saying more interesting and more fun. I’m not just reiterating facts from a textbook, so when we were talking about how bones grow and develop, I brought in my x-rays from my broken leg and told them the story of when I fell down the stairs.
In every lesson I try to weave something real world into the classroom. It brings to life what I’m talking about and the kids are engaged by that. I think that’s what makes my teaching style maybe a bit old school, but keeps it fun and relevant for the kids. For our students the Socratic learning method is what they are used to, what they’ve had in their past. But my goal is to make them thinkers and problem solvers and that’s very different.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?
I would be a genetic counsellor, someone who is like a teacher. They help people who have genetic disorders, or people whose babies are born with genetic disorders, understand how it was inherited, what the treatment plan is going to look like, what the life expectancy is going to look like and how to manage the disorder they have. In many ways it is sort of like a teaching role, but in the medical field.