Monthly Archives: January 2013

Work Incentives to Study in Canada

Canada is a young country that continues to grow exponentially as it develops its industries and natural resources, thus creating an employment demand which cannot be met by its current workforce.  The number of jobs available in Canada far exceeds its skilled and professional working age population.  Therefore Canada relies on International students to fill the gap.

Canada encourages its international students to stay and work.  Students, while studying in Canada and after their studies can consider working in Canada.  The following is only a sample of what Canada offers foreign students who study in Canada.

Study Permits:  A student who holds a study permit can work on and off campus during their studies.  They also have the option of working after they graduate.  This usually gives the international student the opportunity to fulfill the 3 years residency requirement necessary to obtain permanent residency.  See Immigration Canada’s policy on working while studying in Canada.

The Canadian Experience Class:  International student migration is essential to Canada’s economy.  If you go to study in Canada you can play an important role in the workforce in Canada.  Giving work opportunities to students who come to Canada to study is a priority of the federal and provincial governments.  If you are an international student studying in Canada, then you may qualify to become a permanent resident under the Canadian Experience Class.

The BC Jobs Plan:  The British Columbia provincial government, like other provinces in Canada, has developed an International Education Strategy to attract international students to its institutions.  The BC government anticipates significant shortages of skilled workers over the next number of years.  According to their statistics, it is estimated that there will be more than a million job openings in BC over the next ten years, but just 650,000 BC students are studying in their school system.  That means that students from British Columbia cannot fill the required jobs; there will be a definite shortfall in the needed workforce. The BC Jobs Plan is looking to international students to fill the gap for skilled workers.  They want international students to study in BC and then make BC their permanent home in Canada.  Graduating international students who come to BC to study will help meet the upcoming skills and professional needs and ensure that this province’s economy continues to grow.

College/University International Centres:   Some International Centres offer employment assistance to students who come to study at their institution.  Recognizing that these students may not be familiar with the Canadian work environment, they point the way or provide assistance to show the student how to do a CV or resume or do a job interview.  Some International Centres such as the one at the University of Alberta has an International Student Work Study Program which gives financial incentives to both the student and the campus employer to hire an international student to work in their department and give them the work experience they will need to get them into the workforce after graduation.

To get started on your studying in Canada experience and to help you migrate to Canada where you can both study and work, contact a Canadian International Student Recruitment consultancy firm in Pakistan.

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Recall a Better Way to Memorize

The list of vocabulary words in each of your short stories in English, or your numerous words and definitions in Science adds up to a very long list to learn.  Some vocabulary words are hard to spell, hard to pronounce and have hard definitions.  So how do you do it?  How do you remember the spelling and meanings for these words?

Many times I see students with their head bowed over their notes reading over and over again vocabulary words and their meanings.  How much of that they retain for the rest of their lives I don’t know but they probably don’t remember many of them after the exam, unless, of course, they have to use that word frequently over time.

Why do I believe that the student doesn’t remember very much from this study method?  When we memorize in this rote fashion, we do not put the information in our long-term memory “banks”.  It is retained in the short term memory “bank”.  That means as soon as the test is over, the words take a leave of absence.

Recall is a better way to memorize lists and definitions.  How do you use recall?  Take 10 of the words that you need to learn.  Read the words, spell them out, write them down, and learn the meanings.  Now close your text or copy.  Take a rough copy and write down the words and meanings to the 10 words you have been trying to remember.  Once completed compare what you did to what is written in your copy or text.  How many did you remember?  For those that you didn’t remember, repeat the exercise.  Do not go onto the next 10 until you have remembered all 10.  Once you have remembered all 10, learn the next 10 words/definitions.  Then repeat the process in your rough copy, but this time you should include all 20 words not just the last 10.  Repeat this until you have gone through your entire list.

Time consuming?  You bet!  But you will know your words.  Better still don’t wait until the last day to learn these words.  Make it part of your weekly study plan.  At the end of the week recap all your vocabulary words using the recall method.  By the time exam time comes around you will already know most of the words and their meanings.  You will simply have to review your vocabulary for the exam.

The long term benefit of this method is a life-long recall of these words.  That means that once the exam has finished and you have graduated and left school far behind, you will still remember the words.  Now that is learning.  That is life-long learning!

Pinglish vs. English

English in Pakistan has a flavour all of its own and is a strong contender to compete with Hinglish spoken just south of its border.  Having the third largest English speaking population in the world, Pakistan has a right to stand among the top contesters for recognition for its contribution to the English language

About 49% of Pakistan’s population speaks some form of English, but what do these forms look like?  Here is a small sample of this established version of the English language.

International English:  A few select elites speak English so well that you know that they have probably gone to LCAS, Lahore Grammar, and the American School or maybe even abroad.  These English medium schools are for the well-endowed and the calibre of English used and taught gives these students an international edge over other Pakistanis.

Thinking in Urdu/Punjabi, Speaking in English:  When you do a direct translation from one language to another, often something goes amiss.  What you say and what you think you are saying can be two different things.  Take for example the sentence “I am drinking a cigarette.”  The Urdu word for drinking has been transposed from Urdu to English and thus the incorrect expression.  No, you are not drinking your cigarette, at least I hope not – it could be more dangerous than the smoking!  What you want to say is “I am smoking a cigarette.”

Or how about “Please close the light” – again the word in Urdu for close has been literally translated and used instead of turn off.  What you want to say is “Please turn off the light.”

One of the most common products of this kind of English/Pinglish is the misuse or disuse of articles.  In Urdu and Punjabi articles are not used, but in English they are frequently used.  So it is not uncommon to read a sentence like this; “You must have heard lot of stories about people losing money in stock exchange. Does this mean that stock market is a total losing ground?” rather than as it should be; “You must have heard lots of stories about people losing money in the stock exhange.  Does this mean that the stock market is a total loosing ground?”

Pronouncing Pinglish not English: Here are a few of the more difficult sounds for Pakistanis to pronounce:

  • Because there is only one ‘vow’ sound in the Urdu alphabet, the v and w sounds for Pakistanis is difficult to pronounce.  The word what becomes vhat, the word were becomes vere and the word swerve is almost unpronounceable for Punjabi or Urdu speakers.  It comes out something like swerwe.
  • The diphthong th is another troublesome sound in the English language.  It usually comes out as a dh, so the becomes da or dha.

Using the Progressive for Simple Verbs:  The over use of the progressive is common in Pinglish.  Take these examples:

I am seeing the sky from here. (Pinglish)        I can see the sky from here. (Standard English)

I am having a car. (Pinglish)                           I have a car. (Standard English)

Word Order and Auxiliary Verbs:  I frequently hear these and so I will share some with you.

“What meaning?” is one I frequently hear.  Standard English would render this as “What does it mean?”

Why so many are being killed?  (Pinglish)      Why are so many being killed?  (Standard English)

Code Switching: Code switching is understood only by those that understand both Urdu and English well enough to understand what is being said.  Code switching is when both the local language and English are combined in to one thought, phrase, slogan etc.

If you only understand English, then this commercial slogan will throw you for a loop.  The first time I saw Timepey, I was sitting in the bank.  My first thought was that someone didn’t know how to spell pay and therefore it was a spelling error, but then what was Time Pay?  What did that mean?  Did it mean that the bank would make sure you got your salary on time?

So when in doubt, ask; and lo’ and behold I found out the spelling was indeed correct but the slogan had combined Urdu with English, so it means “On Time”.  Purely in Urdu it would read “Waqt pey” but this inoculation of English into the Urdu language has resulted in “Timepey”, or “On Time”.

Or take the slogan “Khamoshi ka boycott”.  Again this is only understood by a Pakistani.  Native English speakers are disqualified!  This code-switching means “Boycott silence”.

Certainly, Pinglish does have its place in the list of English language variants.  Linguists for some time have been interested in this reconstruction of the English language.  But will it ever gain international prominence in the world marketplace?  Probably not, so, if you want to make it big on the international market place, consider taking up some English language lessons from a centre where international English is spoken, or even try to find one where the English language instructor is a native English speaker.  It will be worth your while.

Acknowledgements to:  Pakistani English:  morphology and syntax by Ahmar Mahboob,  for the use of some of this material.

Can I Study in Canada for Free?

Everyone wants something for free and how much better can it get than to study in Canada for free? While it would be nice to study in Canada for free, only a select few have the achievement scores and other qualifying credentials to get a scholarship sufficient to study totally cost free; that means full tuition covered and if really blessed, living expenses too.

Canada does have a number of good scholarships for internationals students, some of which cover most if not all of your costs.  This is particularly true for graduate students who often find that their graduate study program isn’t as costly as their undergraduate one was.  That is because they can not only get departmental funding from the university where they study, but may also qualify for external funding or scholarships.

Scholarships for International Students

  • Sauvé Scholars:   This prestigious scholarship gives an international scholar a full year at McGill University and includes living expenses.  It is awarded annually to 14 outstanding international students from all over the world including Pakistan.
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships:  This graduate scholarship is for a world-class doctoral student who will be studying in Canada.  Candidates for the scholarship must have outstanding academic achievements in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering or health and demonstrate leadership skills.  The value of the scholarship is $50,000 each year for 3 years.
  • International Student Entrance Scholarships:  Each university, like Grant MacEwan University offers a number of entrance scholarships and others based on academic achievements.  Both international and national students are eligible.  These scholarships can range from full tuition coverage for the year to a couple thousand dollars.  Some colleges like Douglas College also offer International Student Entrance Scholarships among their other scholarships for which an international student may be eligible.  Depending on the university or college where you want to study, it is best to check out their scholarship listings to be well informed about available scholarships.
  • Other Scholarships:  This listing includes a number of Government of Canada scholarships and private foundation ones, etc.

Work Opportunities

While many international students may not meet scholarship eligibility requirements to get the best scholarships to cover all their study costs in Canada, there are other opportunities available in Canada whereby every student can afford his/her studies.  Unlike some countries, the Canadian government gives work privileges to incoming students who come to study.  To become aware of these opportunities you can visit an official Studying in Canada website to learn more about the details.

Do a Thorough Investigation

Although it is possible to study anywhere in the world for free, it is not always possible for the majority of international students.  You may certainly qualify for partial funding, but do be careful of the headline that offers you something absolutely free.  You may be disappointed by the misleading headlines or claims.  The other option is to contact a reputable Canadian international student representative in Pakistan who will guide you carefully through your study in Canada pursuit.

What Are the English Language Requirements for Studying in Canada?

A good level of proficiency in English is necessary if you plan on studying in Canada at a college or university.  Although there are a good number of English language certificates that can be obtained (TOEFL, CAE, CPE and MELAB, just to mention a few), all educational institutions and the Canadian government accept IELTS.  In fact for immigration purposes, the Canadian government requires IELTS for immigration, even after studying at a Canadian institution.

If you are planning on not taking the IELTS for studying in Canada, it is recommended that you reconsider your decision and take it.  If you have studied under the British Curriculum (GCE) and have received a grade of B or better you might be exempt.  Depending on the school or university where you have previously studied, some institutions in Canada will consider 3 or 4 years of study in an institution where the medium of instruction has been English.  There may be other exemptions, but they are very few for international students who want to study in Canada but are residents of a country where English is not the primary language.

What is the Minimum Band I Can Get?

The below chart gives a picture of what is generally required for IELTS scores for international students who want to study in Canada.  Remember this is the minimum and depending on the program, you might need a higher band such as a 7 or 7.5.  If you are planning on studying Nursing, Engineering or taking Graduate Studies and some Professional programs, etc you may need a Band 7 or higher to meet admission requirements.

The Advantages of Taking the IELTS Exam

  • The obvious – to meet university/college requirements for studying in Canada or other English speaking countries
  • Measure student readiness to study at a post-secondary level
  • Make student aware and prepare them for what it takes to study in an English speaking country such as Canada and in English medium institutions
    • Listening component – Everyone will be speaking English at an academic level – the majority of instructors in Canada will be native English speakers so they will neither repeat nor slow down for your lack of understanding.  There will be no catch-up time.  IELTS prepares you for this.
    • Reading component – During your study period in Canada you will be required to read lots, more books than you ever thought of.  Therefore you need to learn to speed read and still comprehend what you are reading.  IELTS teaches you how.
    • Speaking component – It is not only the instructors in Canada that will speak in English; you too need to speak English.  Many courses are not just lecture and study kinds.  Some will be participatory and if you cannot communicate well enough in English you will end up with poor grades.  IELTS helps you to develop your speaking abilities
    • Writing component – This is where most Pakistani students fail to do well.  Good essay writing with correct grammar is not stressed in all academic disciplines in Pakistan.  You will learn what is required to write a good academic, technical paper when you prepare for the IELTS exam.

Should I Take an IELTS Preparation Classes?

If possible take your preparation for the IELTS exam from a native English speaking instructor.  This is particularly important for the Speaking and Writing components, especially if you are planning on studying in Canada or another English speaking country.

You want to be able to communicate so a native English speaker can understand you, so it is best to learn your spoken English skills from a native speaker so you learn how they pronounce, enunciate and intone in English.  Also, if they understand you, you can rest assured that you will probably do very well in your IELTS speaking component.

The Writing component is also another area where you will want to learn from a native English speaker.  Especially if the instructor has a university background, you will find out what is really required to write an academic paper at an English language medium university.  You will also learn all the subtleties of the languages such as how to use articles, the correct usage of prepositions, etc.  If you are going to study in Canada, it is absolutely necessary to write grammatically correct.  Also you will find that this instructor will coach you to be a better writer rather than leaving you to the self-study method of learning.

Where do you find a Native English Speaking IELTS Instructor?

There are a number of native English speakers living in all of the major cities in Pakistan; some of which are engaged in English language training.  In Lahore you can contact Alberta Rose Education Centre (there may be others in the city).  The instructor knows what it takes to study in Canada.  She is a two-degree holder and is an accomplished IELTS instructor.  To properly prepare for the exam you should look at a minimum of 30 hours of class time as there is a lot to cover; this is especially true if you want a good band.

Important Guidelines for High School Students Who Want to Study in Canada

Are you contemplating studying in Canada for post-secondary studies?  Are you wondering if you qualify or what you need to do to qualify to study in a Canadian university or college?

Here is a general guideline as to what is accepted for admission requirements to study at most universities and colleges in Canada.

Intermediate Certificate:  If you have completed your Matric and Intermediate program and have a 1st division standing in the last 2 years, then you will most likely be eligible to study in Canada at one of its fine colleges or universities.  Some specialized degrees or programs or quota programs are very competitive and only students with the highest marks may qualify to study in these programs; but for the most part 1st division is enough.  Some degrees may ask for stress in one area; for example if you want to study Engineering you may require more than one Math and/or more Science courses.  Students generally should have a Math, English, 2 Sciences and 1 Arts course to qualify for most programs.

What is considered a Science course?  Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Calculus or Computing Science

What is considered an Arts course?  A course from the Humanities, Social Sciences or Fine Arts will be considered.  Another language may be considered under the Humanities category.

British Curriculum (GCE):  If you have grades of A or B in your O-Level and/or A-Level courses then you can meet the admission requirements to study at a college or university in Canada.  Some universities require a minimum of 2 subjects studied at the A-Level and the rest can be done at the O-Level.

Advanced Standing:  For those students who want to study in Canada, some Canadian institutions consider advanced standing for those who present excellent marks in specific areas of their A-Level courses.  They may be eligible for:

  • Advanced placement – able to take an advanced course in the specified area
  • Credit by Special Assessment – write an exam, pass and be exempt from taking the course.
  • Transfer credit – get credit in some courses in your program of study

English Language Requirements:  Students who want to study in Canada must demonstrate proficiency in English.  Outside of Quebec, all classes are conducted in English.  Unless you have obtained English language proficiency through the British Curriculum (GCE), you will most likely have to write the IELTS or TOEFL exam.  A Band of 6.5 may be considered by some colleges but if you want to attend a higher ranking university, then you must have a Band of 7 or greater on the IELTS.  For the TOEFL, many universities require at least 85 to 86 with no less than 21 on each section.

Make Sure You Qualify:  For further details about requirement and specific program eligibly, contact your Canadian international student representative in Pakistan.  It is recommended to check with a qualified consultant prior to completing your Intermediate studies to make sure that you have met all of the requirements for the program you want to study.

Even if you are only starting to study at the Matric or High School level and you know that you want to study in Canada; now is the time to make your inquiries to ensure you study the courses that will get you into your study area of choice.