When the Queen’s School of English (QSoE) opened its doors in 1942, it was a summer program with 30 staff and students altogether. Only students from convents and monasteries in Quebec attended.
Since then, the program has instructed thousands of domestic and international English as an additional language learners.
Instructor Kelly Goode has been at the QSoE for 19 of its 70 years.
“I just love it so much,” she said. “[The students] are so motivated and open to new things and sharing things about their culture.”
The QSoE kicked off the anniversary celebrations with a barbeque on June 29, which was attended by current and former students and staff of the School.
On Oct. 4, the QSoE will open its doors to the public for an open house.
Goode said she thinks the anniversary events will increase awareness of the School at Queen’s and hopefully abroad.
“It would be great if an international student came in, learned more about the School, and then recommended the program to friends and relatives back home,” Goode said.
The open house will showcase the school’s history and programs. On the School’s website, tributes and photos from former students have been posted to honour the anniversary.
The instructional staff will also be hosting a “brown bag” session to introduce some of the courses and services that the School offers.
The QSoE, formerly known as the Queen’s Summer School of English, moved to Richardson Hall in the 1950s to accommodate growth and moved to its current Albert St. location in the 1990s.
By the 1960s, the School had an average of 100 students.
“We have about 90-100 students right now, but we’ve had up to 180 at certain times,” Goode said.
Now a part of the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s, the School offers Canadian English Experience programs in the summer and winter, as well as a 12-week English for Academic Purposes course and a 13-week Business Internship Program. Students are instructed in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Also included in tuition fees are trips to Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto and Niagara Falls, as well as guided excursions to sites in Kingston.
Goode said many students who come to QSoE intend to go to Queen’s after completing the program.
“We have activities just for the School of English students to get them familiar with campus so that after they’ve taken some courses with us they are ready to do their Queen’s program or graduate studies,” she said.
Students can stay on west campus for fall and winter semesters and main campus in the spring and summer. They can also choose to live with a ‘homestay family’ from the Kingston community.
Goode said the School has many students from Japan, Korea, China and Saudi Arabia.
“I think that the School of English helps to put ‘universe’ in university because we do have students here from all over the world,” she said, adding that she would like to see more students from other markets, including Europe and Latin America.
For some students, the School has provided more than instruction; it offers an “international family.”
That’s how Mohammed Alnakhli describes the friends he’s made at the QSoE. Alnakhli came to Queen’s after receiving a scholarship from the Saudi Arabian government that allowed him to study at a Canadian school.
“My favourite memories in [the] School of English are impossible to count,” Alnakhli, ArtSci ’12, said. “I have made many great international friends. We have shared happiness, sadness and stressful nights with our homework.”
He said he never felt homesick at the School because he was surrounded by such close friends.
“We were like a real family by the end of each session.”
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