Meet Our Instructor: Winter ’17

Amie Pilgrim amie

What is your professional/educational background?

I completed my degree in Second Language Teaching and Psychology at the University of Ottawa in 2006. I then spent three years teaching English in Okinawa, Japan. I have since completed my Education degree in Primary, Junior and Intermediate.

What compelled you to become an ESL teacher?

I always knew I wanted to teach English, but it was an instant match when I discovered the program at Ottawa U. I loved the opportunities to meet people from around the world and give them an enriching and mutually beneficial educational experience.

How long have you been teaching at QSoE? Where did you teach prior to QSoE?

I have only been at the QSoE since the summer of 2016 when I started with the QBridge Program! Prior to that I was on maternity leave from the Limestone District School Board.

What do you love about teaching, or QSoE?

As a lifelong learner, I find that my work at the School of English allows me many opportunities to grow not only as a teacher, but as a global citizen. I believe that teaching goes beyond the classroom and that my students take the lessons and the experiences, and they too grow… You never truly know how far your reach is with teaching at the School of English.

What is your favourite aspect of your job?

Meeting and working with so many people from all over the world. Students, staff … other teachers… they all bring so much passion and creativity to QSoE. Every session is a new and exciting adventure, as well as an opportunity to connect with others and bring out the best in myself.

What do you like to do in your free time? amie 3

Nowadays, I spend a lot of time with my family; my son, Coulson, is a year and half now. My husband and I play softball every summer, and I am an avid photographer in my free time! We also try to make a point of getting out in nature a few times each season for a hike.

Which countries have you visited? What do you enjoy about being in other countries (could give a specific example from one country visited)?

I loved my time in Japan. I have so many friends that I have kept in touch with from the three years spent there. I loved experiencing the culture through karate classes, cooking school, travel, food and various Okinawan art experiences including pottery.

I have also travelled to South Korea, UAE, Qatar, France, England, and Switzerland.

amie 2Name a country you would love to visit – why do you want to visit this place?

My husband and I are really hoping to make it to Costa Rica some day! We love hiking and being in nature. I am also planning to take my family to Japan in 2020 for the Olympics and to show off where I lived in Okinawa years ago!

What are 1 or 2 things you love/find unique/admire about Canada?

I love the nature and picturesque landscapes. We often go hiking at Frontenac Park, Lemoines Point and various trails around town.

What is one thing you think is really cool about Kingston?

I have a huge soft spot in my heart for the Frontenac County Schools Museum up in Barriefield! I was a summer student there for a couple years, and now I volunteer as their social media and newsletter person. Truly a little gem when it comes to cultural heritage in and around Kingston.


Marion Edith Dubin Scholarship in English Winner: Akiho Yatsuda!

Akiho Yatsuda is the Summer 2016 winner of the Marion Edith Dubin Scholarship in English! Akiho, from Chikushi Jogakuen University in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka, Japan, is currently in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program at the Queen’s School of English. She arrived last Fall, and will be finishing the program in August of this year. We had a chance to sit down with her recently to talk about her experience here:

What were her first impressions of Canada? She recounts her first glimpses of Toronto from the airplane, and compared her view of Toronto to the large cities in Japan. “I’d heard Toronto was a big city, but I didn’t think it was!”

What does she like about Kingston? “I really like Kingston because there is a lot of nature. There are lots of trees, a lake and lots of green space.”

“Kingstonians are also very kind,” she says. She recounts many instances of being lost and fellow Kingstonians helping her with directions.

What experience has she enjoyed the most since she has been here? Her best experiences so far have been ice skating behind City Hall in the winter, and also watching the Kingston Frontenacs hockey team play at the K-Rock Centre. “It was my first time seeing a hockey game. The players were all hitting each other, but it was very exciting!”

She enjoyed her recent winter term when she became friends with classmates who were from all over the world — Brazil, Quebec, Saudi Arabia, China and Libia. “Each person had different opinions, and they all were very motivated to study English.”

Akiho received the highest mark in her class. How did she do it? “The secret is to sit as close to the teacher as possible. If I sit near the teacher I get more opportunities to speak.”

What does she like about the Queen’s School of English? “The teachers in the School of English are really great. They teach very academic English and they have lots of experience. They also give you lots of one-on-one attention.”

What advice does she have to give to students? “Do your best every day. Don’t be lazy. Try to keep doing something every day/month. Always think about your motivation for coming here. I think about my parents and the opportunity they gave me to study here.”

What career goals does she have? Akiho has one more year to complete at university, but would like to work in Japan in communications and perhaps with international students. “I would like to help people using English.”

For more information on Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries or Financial Assistance at the School of English click here.

My Favourite Things about QSoE

By: Chizuru Noma

I have been Kingston since September 2015. I really enjoy studying at QSoE. There are three main reasons why I love studying at QSoE:

  1. Chizuru Blog 1Socio-Cultural Activities

Queen’s School of English offers a lot of activities including sports, cards games and baking. There are many classes at Queen’s School of English, so it can be difficult to meet people in other classes. However, attending the activities has helped me to make a lot of friends outside of my class.

One of my friends has organized a special activity for Friday afternoons. Each Friday, we go to a restaurant that serves food from a different country. So far, we have been to Chinese, Korean, German, Spanish, and Indian restaurants. If one of my classmates came from the restaurant’s country, they teach us about the foods from their country.

  1. Location

Chizuru Blog 2Kingston is very centrally located. I can go to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, and New York by bus or train. I live in the countryside in Japan, and like being able to go to big cities such as Osaka, Nagoya by train. I like big cities for shopping, sightseeing and events. However, I prefer to live and study in a small city. Therefore, Kingston is perfect for me!

  1. Local People

Generally, the people who live in Kingston are very friendly and kind in comparison to Chizuru Blog 4people who live in big cities. For example, when I went to a skating rink in Kingston, some local people taught me how to skate. I had never tried skating before coming to Canada, so I was not very good at it. An old man, students, and children helped me learn how to skate, even though they didn’t know me before.

I am really enjoying my life in Kingston because of the reasons above. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by good friends and good people.

My Break Week Trip

By: Yumi Kojio

During break week (February 22 to 26) I went to New York City. I would like to share details a1bout my trip. I travelled to New York City by bus. It took about 12 hours to get there. Luckily, I was able to go to NYC for a reasonable cost.

On my first day in NYC, I watched a Broadway musical: Finding Never Land. This was the third time I went to a musical performance. I was very impressed by the beautiful voices and powerful performances of the actors and actresses. If I go to NYC again, I would like to watch another show!

2The next day, I visited the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center. I climbed all of the way up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, the view was not very nice because of the rain. However, I still thought it was an enjoyable experience. After going to the Statue of Liberty, I went to see the memorial grounds at the World Trade Center. I was surprised to see how many Japanese people passed away in the 9/11 attacks; there were a lot more than I had expected.  When I learned about their deaths, I felt like I should try to learn more about historic world events.

3On my last day in NYC, I went to Central Park and ate some famous NYC foods. My favorite food from the trip was lobster. You should try it!

I am very grateful that I was able to travel to NYC! In Kington, it is easy to travel to wonderful places, such as Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, U.S. and so on. If you study English at QSoE, you will have the opportunity to visit all of these amazing cities!

Where to Visit in Kingston: Take Two

Students from our Intermediate Level I EAP classes share their recommendations of places to visit in Kingston.

Wolfe Island
By: Kaya

ImageNight views have the power to make people happy. There are many good places to see night views in Kingston, my favorite place is Wolfe Island. When I went there with my friends, we saw a perfect sunset, which was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. While I was looking at that sunset, I felt something nostalgic. I think it is true that sunsets make people feel close to nature. It means it relaxes us. Seeing that sunset was very comforting. We were also able to see a lot of stars on Wolfe Island as well. I assume that stars make us tend to think about the future. I have not decided what I want to be, so I will go there to get some ideas about my future. It was good place to think.

Bellevue House
By: Akihiro

ImageIf you are interested in Canada’s history I recommend that you visit Bellevue House, which was the home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. This is such an interesting place. There is a Visitor’s Center next to the house where you can watch a video about Macdonald’s life. If you pay about three dollars, you can enter the house. When you go inside there are staff dressed in old-fashioned costumes who explain to you about the house. Then, you can see Macdonald’s and his family’s rooms and you will learn about their lifestyle by reading guides. If you go outside, you will see the staff working in a garden. The scene reminded me of the flavor of the 19th century.  Overall, Bellevue House is such an interesting place in Kingston.

Lake Ontario Park
By: Nassr

ImageLake Ontario Park is one of the most beautiful places in Kingston, especially during the summer. It’s very quiet and clean. It has recently been modified from the old one. So if you like hanging out, walking, or relaxing, you can do that beside a wonderful view of the lake. Also you can invite your friends to sit under the beautiful trees talking, laughing, and making a barbecue. As well, you can swim at the amazing beach. Furthermore, if you have a family, it’s a favourable site for kids. They love to splash in the water fountain, play in the sand, swim in the lake, or happily ride their bikes along the paths crossing the park. Indeed, Lake Ontario Park is a great place to have fun during the summer. Do not miss it!

Favourite Restaurants
By: Yu

ImageThere are a lot of restaurants in downtown Kingston. I think the best one is Spin Dessert Cafe. This restaurant has many kinds of desserts such as cakes, crepes, waffles, ice-cream and so on. All the portions are huge! The inside of the restaurant is also pretty. I would also recommend Silver Wok. You can eat Chinese food there, which is very delicious, reasonable and quite big portions (see picture). I love this restaurant! Of course, I also enjoy eating at chain restaurants like McDonald’s and Tim Horton’s, but I prefer eating at these fancier places!