Making Friends at QSoE

By: Alexander Brunner

alex blog 3My name is Alexander Brunner. I was born and raised in Switzerland. After finishing the Swiss public school, I did an apprenticeship as a car mechanic. While I was working, I realised that I wanted to go back to school. I wanted to get more education because my goal has always been to study psychology. After finishing my apprenticeship, I came to Canada to start learning English at Queen’s School of English.

I chose Queen’s to learn English because of several reasons. The main reason was because of the efforts that Queen’s makes to encourage social connections. Meeting new people, attending social events or just talking to strangers was always something I liked to do. Queen’s School of English gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. They organize social events nearly every day in which, for example, you play card games or you go to play pool or bowling and everything you do, you do with other students from QSoE.

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Additionally, they organize trips like going to Montreal, Toronto or Ottawa, which are also very fun to attend with your friends from QSoE. In general, you don’t have to worry about not making friends or being left behind in social activities. In fact, it is very difficult to not make friends at QSoE, simply because every student going to QSoE is in the same situation as you. Being in a new country where everything seems totally different than in your home country, having problems to communicate because of a language that you first need to learn and leaving all your friends behind brings every student at QSoE in the same situation. The good thing is that it brings students more together, as they need to help each other “survive” the first few weeks in this “strange” country and Queen’s School of English helps you to make the first contacts with students.

alex blog 6Let’s talk about how it is to learn English at Queen’s School of English. Back in Switzerland I was also learning English, so I thought it would not be a big difference learning English here or there. I was wrong. First, I thought the school that I attended in Switzerland for learning English was not bad. Now I realize how boring it was back there. At QSoE you will be surprised how easy it is to learn English. You do so many different activities to learn English, for example, you have discussions, you will learn vocabulary by talking about different topics that you are interested in, you will have debates, you will do different activities in teamwork or in bigger groups and a lot more. Every day will be a new experience. You will be surprised by how easy it is to learn English at QSoE. The teachers at QSoE always try to make your visit to Canada the best experience for you.

Queen’s School of English gave me what I needed and more. I made unbelievable progress with my English and had an amazing time with people from all over the world. I will never forget my experience at QSoE and I’m thankful for the opportunity that I got from QSoE.

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!

Traveling to QSoE

Since we know that traveling can be stressful, we have put together some tips to help with your travels to QSoE

YuairportBefore you arrive:

Pack accordingly! What you pack will depend on how many sessions you study at QSoE, because Kingston’s climate varies throughout the year. Please refer to our Weather in Kingston page for more information.

Here are some suggestions of items of clothing to bring by season:

Fall (September- December):
-Light jacket for the beginning and warm wool or down-filled coat towards the end
-A comfortable pair of shoes and boots
-Light gloves, scarf, hat

Winter (January-April):
-Warm winter coat and boots
-Hat, scarf, gloves
-Ice skates! (You can also rent these in Kingston)

Summer (May-August):
-Shorts, t-shirts, and swimming suit
-The beginning of the session can sometimes be cool so you should bring a light jacket
-Sandals, comfortable walking shoes
-Sunglasses and sunhat

Note: you can purchase everything you need here in Kingston.

When you arrive:

Items such as toiletries and school supplies can all be purchased in Kingston. Shoppers Drugmart is a popular pharmacy, located within walking distance of Queen’s University. There is also Drugsmart pharmacy on campus in the Queen’s Centre. Yuairport2

If you are living in residence and cooking your own food, groceries can be bought in the many supermarkets in and around campus. The Grocery Check-Out is located in the Queen’s Centre, but there is also a Metro grocery store a 5 minute walk from campus, and Food Basics approximately 20 minutes away.

Depending on how many sessions you are studying you may want to have a Canadian cell-phone. Many phone companies provide monthly or pay-as-you-go services without having to sign into a contract. The most popular companies are Rogers, Bell or Telus. These stores are located along the downtown Princess Street, walking distance from campus.

After you are here

If you are interested in travelling around Canada (to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and etc.), especially to nearby major cities, Megabus and Coach Canada offer discounted bus services. You can also travel by train with VIArail. Often these services have student discounts, and with Megabus, the earlier you purchase your ticket, the cheaper it is!

You can travel within Kingston by city bus (free with your Queen’s Student card) or by taxi.

We hope these tips have eased your travel worries! Do you have any travel tips of your own? Share them with us by commenting below!