An unforgettable time at International House Vancouver

I had the opportunity to study for about 6 months at IH Vancouver and I attended a school program called Demi Pair. Half a day I was in the language school and for a few hours per day I helped my host family where I was staying.

In my first two weeks I attended a general English class. My teacher and the students were so fun and I was incredibly impressed by the atmosphere in this school. Everybody is just so friendly and helpful and on top of that the school provides a widely ranged activity program. Therefore, going to school was always a pleasure for me, even in the morning. You meet so many people from all over the world and gain friends for life.

However, my main purpose was to pass the CAE Cambridge Exam and fortunately IH Vancouver offers a preparation course. Even though it is all about the focus on the exam what includes much grammar, vocabulary and homework, it helped me a lot to improve my English skills. Not only that, but it might have been the best way to get prepared for the actual exam. With originally previous exams and lots of exercises we got to know the strategies and techniques to pass successfully the test. Besides, the simulation of the speaking test was definitely helpful and gave us an impression of what we might have to expect. But don’t get me wrong. Much grammar does not mean that it was a boring time. It was at least as much fun as all the other classes and I will never forget my time there.

I received my exam results last week and I can proudly say that I have passed it! All the hard work was worth it.
Many thanks to my teachers Tina, Sharon, Uma, Veronica and Fey. It was an amazing time and experience here and you are without doubt part of it!

Thank you and all the best.

Arne – Germany

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Interview with Christina Margraf

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Christina Margraf, International House Pacific’s Chief Operating Officer, and got to talk to her about her role at IH Pacific and what she thinks of Vancouver.

Ms. Margraf, a native of Germany, oversees the operation of the three IH Pacific schools, Vancouver, Whistler, and San Diego. Before coming to IH Vancouver, she worked at IH World as the Business Development Manager. As for the future of IH Pacific, there are plans to continue structuring as the company grows and the possible introduction of a 50+ program. IH Pacific is continually innovating and offers students programs of excellent quality and activities that introduce them to local culture.

Ms. Margraf, a master of four languages (English, German, Italian, and Spanish), finds Vancouver a quiet, laid-back city with friendly people and great outdoor opportunities compared to other cities.

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My Week At International House Vancouver

This week, February 4 to 8, I have had the amazing opportunity to be one of the new faces at International House Vancouver. Through my school’s Career Preparation Program, I was placed as a student intern at IH Vancouver and, after almost a week, I love it here. I was placed at an ESL school, because of my love of languages and language development and my plans to become an ESL teacher.


When I received my placement, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was surprised by how welcoming and enthusiastic everyone at IH Vancouver was. From the office staff to the teachers and students, you can’t help but feel comfortable in this professional environment. On the first day, as returning students hurried to class and new students anxiously awaited their test, there was a sense of organized chaos. This sense of organization and professionalism has continued throughout the week at a high level.


During my time here, I was able to sit in on a few classes and thought that they were all informative and interactive. Whether it was a junior English lesson or a class for students learning to teach English, all of the teachers were dedicated and offered unique lesson plans. The students had to use newly-learned skills in fun, inventive ways. These classes were an amazing, educational experience for me, as I was able to see what an ESL class is like and how the class operates, which reinforced my aspiration to become an ESL teacher abroad after I graduate.


The teachers here are amazing, as well as the students. While being in the classes, all of the students have been welcoming and very willing to speak English. They all take responsibility for their learning and participate in class. Even in the hallways between classes and with the staff, they all try their hardest to speak in English, even if another language is more convenient. It was inspiring to see so many dedicated students, especially knowing from personal experience how hard it is to communicate in a foreign country.


I have had an amazing week thanks to all of the staff and students and have gained useful experience in teaching English, organization, and lesson planning. This week has been my first step to my teaching future.


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Tuesday January 8th 6:30 p.m.

Thinking about teaching English as a Second Language?

Find out about local and overseas teaching opportunities.

What course do you need to become certified? How long does it take?

Hosted by: Footprints Recruiting ( &

International House Career College (

2nd Floor 1215 West Broadway (Broadway and Alder) Free Underground parking.

Email:  or call: (604) 739-9836.

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IH Vancouver – 2013 Consumer Choice Award Winner

IH Vancouver is pleased to announce that we have won the 2013 Consumer Choice Award in the category of School – Language School for the city of Vancouver and surrounding areas.

We are very proud to be selected us as the top-ranked language course provider. This award is a credit to our outstanding teachers and administration staff who will continue to provide excellent courses and services to our students from Vancouver and around the world.

The award motivates us to maintain our high standards and to continue to provide the best language learning environment in Vancouver.

Each year across Canada, Consumer Choice Award gathers the opinions, perceptions and expectations through the responses of thousands of consumers and businesses. Established in 1987, the selection process has been perfected with a third party research firm to ensure that only the most outstanding service providers are the winners within an industry.


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A Canadian Thanksgiving

It is the middle of autumn in Vancouver. I asked a few people about their countries’ seasonal activities in October. Some Brazilian students said, “It is now spring in Brazil. The seasons in Brazil happen at a different time than Vancouver. Brazil is so big, different cities have their own climate. However, in general, autumn in Brazil is the same as in Vancouver. It is warm and we can see beautiful coloured leaves.”

A native of Turkey said, “My hometown in autumn is warmer than in Vancouver. I am sure that autumn in Vancouver is the season in which the rain begins.”

That is right! Vancouver has a lot of rain. Fortunately, this summer’s rainfall was substantially less than usual. My hometown, Tokyo, is warmer than Vancouver as well. My country is humid, so it is hot until September.

I also asked Frank, a staff member at IH, about autumn activities and typical food in Canada. He said, “I enjoy picking mushrooms. There are good spots where I can find a lot of tasty mushrooms. The location is top secret, but it is not far from here.

It is said that Ontario and Toronto are famous cities for seeing the leaves change colour. However, you can see wonderfully beautiful autumn leaves in Vancouver as well. Pumpkin and turkey are autumn foods. They are popular for Thanksgiving and Halloween.”

At Thanksgiving people celebrate what they have. Most people make a large meal and eat it with their family and friends.Katie, a IH teacher, carried out a project linked with Thanksgiving, to collect food (non-perishable food. ex; canned meat, fish, dried food and so on) from all the classes and donate it to the Greater Food Bank Society of Vancouver, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food to people who need support (the home-less, single mothers etc…). Katie’s class decided to add a prize to their project. The class which gathers the most cans of food will be invited to a pumpkin pie party!

I interviewed Katie about the project.

“Why did you decide to do this project?”

“Thanksgiving Day is the day to be thankful for having food. I think that it is a good opportunity to think about food. By giving food to people who need it, they can also celebrate Thanksgiving. I also want my students to know about Canadian culture and the economy. The project will be a great way to not only learn English, but also learn about the challenges that some people have in Canada.”

“Did your students know about food banks before you introduced the project to them?” I asked.

“Half of them told me that similar organizations exist in their country. Others had not heard of them, but they seemed interested after I explained it,” Katie said.

“Your students visited other classes and gave presentations about the project using posters that they made. How long did the presentations take to prepare?”

“Approximately, three days. It was a bit of a rush. I was so impressed to see their efforts and talent. Some students are good at drawing and they all had unique ideas.”

“They seemed very nervous while they were presenting to other classes.”

“Yes, they were so nervous. The first time, I separated them into two groups to go to other classes. Then the second time, I made pairs and assigned classes for them to go and remind the students about donations. Going to the same classes and talking about the same topic is a good way for them to practice speaking English in front of people. The project is still in progress. It makes the students want to participate and be good team members. I hope that they will have a sense of achievement and confidence from everything they have done in this project.

“The project will give them some unforgettable memories of their time at IH. The project will be successful!”

I hope so!

Yoshiko Fusegawa (IH Vancouver intern)

Katie's Class' Food Bank Presentation

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Eduardo Camargos – IH Vancouver Student of the Month

IH Vancouver Student of the month

Eduardo Campargos

Every month, a hard-working student is selected to be ‘Student of the Month’. They are chosen based on their dedication, focus and improvement in their classes. This month, we have the honour of awarding Eduardo Camargos for his diligence and significant improvement throughout his three months here.


Interview with Eduardo Camargos ‘Student of the Month’

JM: “How do you feel being Student of the Month?”

EC: “I feel really good and pleased. It was a big surprise for me! It gives me a very positive feeling, and it encouraged me to keep studying.”

JM:  “What did you do to receive Student of the Month?”

EC:: “Every time I come to IH, I attempt everything and study a lot. I always come to class and try my best! I try to help other students by giving examples, and I focus!”

JM: “Why are you learning English?”

EC: “I am learning English for my business degree. It’s very important to know English for my profession.”

JM: “How did you like your time at IH?”

EC: “The teachers and staff were very kind and helpful, I loved it! They care about you a lot; I had a very happy time here at IH. The structure of the school is really nice.”

JM: “How was your experience in Canada?”

EC: “I had an amazing experience. I learned a lot about Canadian culture and saw beautiful places like Stanley Park and Whistler. There are very kind, helpful people here and I got to experience lots of new things like skiing. It’s very cold though!”

JM: “What is the biggest difference between your home and here?”

EC: “The culture and the weather are very different. Also, the security here is much better than in Brazil, and people seem to live a less stressful life here. Public transport here is much better and the environment is very nice.”

JM: “What is your work background?”

EC: “I am a financial manager. I was working for a company and will look for a new job in Brazil. I have two MBA’s and graduated in business administration.”

JM: “What are your future plans and what do you plan to do with the information you learned here at IH?”

EC: “My future plans are to keep studying English. I will take what I learned here into my business, and improve my vocabulary.  I plan to speak English in Brazil, and use my English to get a better job. English will help me start my PhD, which I will start next year.

JM: “How will learning English improve your life?”

EC: “I can find a better job, make new friends, learn about a new culture and be a part of new opportunities. It opened many doors for me to a new world!

JM: “This is a very important question. What advice can you offer other students?”

EC: “It’s important to have a good balance between fun, going out and studying. Students should focus in class and attend all classes! A good balance between social life and learning is necessary.”

JM: “Would you recommend your friends to come to International House Vancouver?”

EC: “Yes of course! I will give good advice and recommendations to everyone I know back home. IH really satisfied what I was looking for— knowledgeable teachers, great staff and good work material.”

JM: “Thank you very much for your time Eduardo. You are an inspirational student.”

EC: “It was my pleasure.”


Jessica McNeil February  2012

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My Week at International House Vancouver

Jessica McNeil from Windermere Secondary

This week, January 30 to February 3, 2012 I have had the pleasure of working at International House through my high school’s Career Prep program, as an intern. I was placed here due to my love of languages and aspiration to be a teacher.

At first I was timid to work here because it’s unlike any work experience I’ve ever had. As the hours progressed, I was happy to meet kind staff and students who were quick to welcome me. My nervousness disappeared as I was shown the place and introduced to the daily routine. I was awed by the student’s responsibility, as they would frequently ask questions and try their best to speak in English. I have been in the same situation when I went to Quebec for five weeks. I know it’s challenging to live in a new place, and to get accustomed to a new way of life and speech, so the students’ effort is inspiring.

International House is filled with dedicated teachers, who make learning amusing and advantageous for the students. The students’ passion to succeed is a reflection on the hard-working teachers and staff who make IH a positive and educational place to be. Sitting behind the desk and hearing the students laugh in class brightens my day, because I can’t wait until it’s my turn to inspire students- rewarding them and myself. The office staff were so inclusive and generous. They each brought a smile to my face on several occasions, and it was such a delight to get to know and work with them.

Another remarkable moment for me here was going to Grouse Mountain with the Brazilian class. I had the chance to learn about a new culture, make new friends, and to help them with their English. I found the differences hilarious; such as the imitated sounds of animals in Canada versus the imitated sounds of animals in Brazil. Interviewing our ‘Student of the Month’, Eduardo Camargos, surprised me at how quickly someone from an entirely different background can learn a new language and excel. Every day at IH is a new learning experience.


Through this work experience, I have learned what it’s like to be a teacher and a secretary here at IH—both are time consuming, yet beneficial jobs. It has brought me one step closer to grasping my dream and making a difference in children’s lives, as I have seen the staff do here. I am thankful for this career molding experience, it has taught me a great deal and I have met very wonderful people.


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Back to the IH Pacific Blog

Back to our blog

Greetings to all of our old readers and welcome to our new ones. We have been busy with preparations for our schools, IH Whistler, IH Vancouver and IH San Diego and have not been updating our blog recently. But we are back and ready to report on everything exciting happening in our schools, updates, etc.

Stay tuned for lots of upcoming news as we finish off 2011 and look forward, with anticipation, to up and coming events in 2012.

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IH Student Spotlight Part 4 of 4

Continued from last week, this is the last post of the IH Student Spotlight:

Sun Young M.

Sun Young really enjoys spending time here in Vancouver, and one of her favourite things to do is to go downtown with her friends after class. That is not to say that all of Sun Young’s free time revolves around “hanging out.” In class, her favourite things are the group activities that help her build confidence in speaking English aloud. Sun Young also works as a volunteer. She is also optimistic that within three months she will significantly improve her skills in English proficiency. Other than her focus on school, Sun Young plans to go to the Rocky Mountains and Vancouver Island.

Each of these young adults willingly shared with me their own experiences and expectations and after interviewing them, my own experience at International House was further enriched. Apart from the disheartening rainy weather, all four students felt as though their expectations of Vancouver were met. Some of the students said that their favourite part of IH was the diversity of all these different people coming together for a common purpose, to learn English.

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