Subtitle: Waldorf Language Immersion in a Culturally Rich Environment
For students wishing an English language immersion experience,Guest Posting Island Oak Waldorf School on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, offers a unique opportunity. Island Oak, one hour north of the historic capital city of Victoria, is located in the resplendent Cowichan Valley. The word Cowichan, derived from the Quw’utsun First Nations word “Khowutzun,” means “warm lands” or “land warmed by the sun” in recognition of the area’s mild climate. The valley is a peaceful, culturally rich community in which exchange and boarding students can further their Waldorf education, immersed in the English language.
Axel (last name), a boarding student, and Yakob (last name), an exchange student, are both attending Island Oak from Germany during one-half of the 2008/2009 school year. Both students have found the experience to be valuable. “It is a great opportunity to Scuba diving in Komodo improve one’s skills in the English language,” says Yakob. “Everyone helps you learn English and they don’t make a big deal around it.” Axel adds that he found his classmates happy to help when asked. “If they know you want them to help you, then everyone helps,” he says. Both found the Island Oak students to be welcoming and friendly.
The two students also lauded the faculty for making learning enjoyable. “You learn, but the lessons are fun,” says Axel. “You can enter into the class more.” They note that the small class sizes at Island Oak make the educational experience a more personal one, giving each student the opportunity to receive individual attention. This intimacy provides space to work out problems and offers opportunities for the students and faculty to make decisions together. “There is a respect for the students’ ability to make decisions about life,” says Yakob, appreciatively.
Another consideration for foreign study is the opportunity to try out a different environment to help one make a decision about where to attend university. Axel is a self-described “city man” but wanted to try a change from city life and has enjoyed seeing deer and raccoon up close. “The nature is amazing,” he says. The Island enjoys an abundance of wildlife, including black bears, Roosevelt elk, bald eagles and, in the surrounding oceans, killer whales (orca), sea lions, sea otters and porpoises. Interestingly, there are no skunks, grizzly bears or poisonous snakes on Vancouver Island.