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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