Learn English in Canada

English learning in the Rocky Mountain Highs


High amidst Canada's Coastal Mountain range, nestled in an emerald valley where regal, snow-frocked mountains quietly stand and blue skies reign, perches Whistler Village. A home-from-home for sports enthusiasts, thrill seekers, and romantics the world over, Whistler Village. A home-from-home for sports enthusiasts, thrill seekers, and romantics the world over, Whistler is quickly becoming one of Canada's newest alternative English as a Second Language destination as well.

Once a secret jealously guarded by Canadians alone, Whistler, B.C. is a secret no more. Crowned 8 years consecutively the continent's premier ski resort, Whistler is today officially on the international map.

The little community of some 9,600 people welcomes thousands of visitors everyday, year-round, who come to indulge in North America's greatest skiing and take in the area's spectacular scenery and sights.


Whistler village itself looks similar to an old Bavarian town, complete with low-level hatch design buildings, cobblestone pedestrian-only plazas, and plenty of out-door cafes. No longer exclusively a winter destination, Whistler now boasts more tourism in the summer months than in the winter. From June through August, in the pedestrian thoroughfares are alive with activity for Canada's longest summer festival. Visitors can enjoy free of charge a carnival of art and entertainment; from musicians and minstrels to artists and acrobats, whose antic offer a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds to fill the senses. Fair weather sports enthusiasts enjoy a huge number of outdoor options, May through to September, including white water kayaking, rock climbing, para-gliding, mountain biking, hiking, camping, golfing, fly-fishing, western-style horse-back riding, and much more. The possibilities are only as limited as the imagination!


With the highest vertical drop of any North American resort, snow-boarders and skiers can enjoy snow year-round; ride Blackcomb glacier by morning, and windsurf Alta Lake the same afternoon. Boasting the continent's largest area of uninterrupted ski terrain, the world's fastest high-speed quad lifts, and pistes up to 11 km long, Whistler has earned the undisputed title of North America's No. 1 ski resort. Now given the distinctive honour of hosting the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (mid-April, 2000) the legend continues to grow, "Apres Skiers" with energy to burn can enjoy playing squash, ice-skating, swimming, weight training, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or doing an array of other activities.



Schools in the municipality exploit the richness of options and opportunities for their curricula, and have established themselves as the foremost Canadian experts in Study-Tours, ESL Wilderness Experiences, and combined ESL plus Snowboarding and Skiing programmes. By tailoring English lessons around student's own repertoires of interests and activities, English acquisition occurs naturally, quickly, and enjoyably. English is taught in vivo, through interactive programs designed to integrate international learners with native English speaking Canadians. One program for example, offered through the Whistler Language Institute (WLI), enables students to achieve Instructor's Certification at various levels, for either snowboarding or skiing. The curriculum is divided between an in-school component focusing on grammar, structure, fluency and relevant vocabulary, and a practical, boards/skis-on component, focusing on both personal abilities and instructional skills and techniques.

Through this and similar pioneering programs, and an unswerving commitment to academic excellence, WLI has achieved great respect and recognition the industry over. Whistler's public high school hosts an international program integrating Canadian students and international visiting students in the interest of mutual and reciprocal learning. Foreign students between 15 and 18 years receive top-quality professional ESL instruction combined with a choice of electives from the regular Canadian program, including art, drama, physical education, and music instruction. The examples set by such schools is indicative of tolerance, acceptance, and openness to learning and cultural exchange in general.


While there are many options, most students opt for the Home stay, or Residence programs. For the former, Students are encouraged to involve themselves in in family socialization and activities, and to use the opportunity as a window into the Canadian culture. Home stay is unique to any other kind of accommodation, and makes for a truly 'immersive' language experience. Residence is an excellent alternativ for more independently minded students who are preared to shop and cook for themselves.


With so much going for it, it's hardly surprising Whistler, B.C. is being discovered by greater numbers of international ESL learners seeking an alternative to the 'big city and bright lights' experience. Unlike most popular ESL destinations that tend to attract particular nationalities according to cultural peculiarities, Whistler attracts a particular kind of individual from countries the world over. It is an aspect of Whistler's ESL demographic make-up that no nationality dominates, and no particular culture overwhelms. The growing numbers of individuals that choose this mountain village to pursue their language goals and indulge their interests meet like people from every corner of the globe. Whistler is where the World comes to learn!

Getting There

Direct buses link Vancouver City's International airport and the Downtown bus terminal to Whistler Village, two hours away along the spectacular Sea-to-Sky Highway, an awe-inspiring introduction to the region. Meandering its way along the breathtaking sunshine coast, past cascading waterfalls, pristine parkland, and beautiful beachfront, Highway 99 is an experience in itself, not to be missed. Alternatively, trains depart from North Vancouver, leaving at 7.30a.m. every morning.

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