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Educational Travel

Learning Holidays in Canada

Educational Travel Opportunities Abound in Vancouver

People who have gone abroad to study know that being a student in a foreign country really immerses you in the culture. But, study abroad often involves a year or at the least a semester. Most of us in the workforce cannot arrange for this much time away from our jobs. However, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has many study opportunities for people on 1- to 2-week vacations. And Vancouver is considered one of the world's most beautiful cities with an eclectic combination of sightseeing and entertainment options to occupy your free time.

Emily Carr Institute of Art

For those interested in arts and crafts, the Emily Carr Institute of Art offers one-week intensive classes in Drawing, Oil Painting, Watercolor, Fiber Arts, Design, and Bookmaking. The beginning, intermediate and advanced classes are small--never over sixteen students--thereby allowing for individual interaction with the instructor and other students. The instructors are all practicing artists as well as experienced teachers, and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge. They welcome beginners--especially those who feel untalented.

Tuition runs from $245 (please note that all dollar amounts referenced in the article are Canadian currency values) to $395 depending on the class you select. The classes are all listed under Continuing Education.

Emily Carr is located on Granville Island and easily accessible by car or bus from Fourth Street in Vancouver. The school is housed in an interesting warehouse-like building and has a library and dining facilities. An arts and crafts store is just across the street. Granville Island is an artist's colony so the college is surrounded by theatres, galleries, as well as arts and crafts shops.

The island is also a major tourist attraction, so you will also find interesting boutiques, bookstores, coffee shops, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget. The one drawback is parking. Free parking is limited to two hours and difficult to find. Paid parking is easily available but expensive.

University of British Columbia Writing Centre

Writers can attend 1-week intensive classes at the University of British Columbia Writing Centre located on the University of British Columbia campus off of West Tenth Street. You have a choice of Food and Travel Writing, Creative Writing, Article Writing, Memoirs, Novel, and Fiction Writing. All the classes are taught by published authors. The UBC experience is a little more expensive with classes running around $500.

UBC's Computers, Media and Technology Department offers 1- to 3-day workshops, 1-week boot camps, and a 3-week intensive class in various computer subjects.

Continuing Studies also offers summer institutes and workshops in other subjects such as career development, understanding wine, intercultural studies and immersion programs in a variety of foreign languages including French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, German, and Russian.

Simon Fraser

Simon Fraser's Summer Publishing Workshops attract students from around the world. The series of workshops extends through July and August with 1-day, 2-day, and immersion classes covering everything related with publishing, including: book publishing, magazines, editing, design, new media, writing computer classes, and writing for the web. You can sign up for individual workshops or for the entire series.

Langara College

Langara College offers very short but interesting classes in such subjects as personal investment, management skills, art, writing, art appreciation,
digital film production, holistic healing, and computers. Classes are take place during an evening, a day, or a weekend. For would-be writers, they offer the Zen Writer's Marathon, a 3-day class designed for students to produce a novel or screenplay. The class is based on the book authored by Natalie Goldberg, "Writing Down the Bones." Langara's tuition is very reasonable ranging from $50 to $135 Canadian.

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

If you have always had a yen for acting but have been to shy to try, the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (Van Arts) might have the learning vacation for you. They offer a 2-week intensive course in acting for beginners who desire to get an idea of what acting training is like. Typical participants range from beginners who have never acted before, people seeking a learning holiday in Vancouver, and students who want to try out before enrolling in a career program. Tuition is $950 for American and international students.

Van Arts also offers a 1-week intensive course in digital photography and a 2-week intensive course in 2D animation and 3D animation. The digital photography is $495. The animation classes are more expensive.

Another two week intensive in beginning acting is available at the Vancouver Academy of Arts.

Both of these colleges offer career training for film and TV during the school year. So the summer workshops are also an opportunity for serious students to break into professional training.

Harbour Dance Centre

For dancers or would-be dancers, the Harbour Dance Centre offers a 2-week intensive course for adults (age 14 and up) and a 1-week intensive for juniors.

Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University offers a unique adventure for families. They have a 2-day learning experience for grandchildren and grandparents or a favorite adult. The two share activities and earn a “degree” in an offered major such as aquaculture or anthropology. Tuition is $99 per person and includes materials, a T-shirt, and an evening barbeque. Participants can stay together in a dorm on campus and participate in free evening recreational events. The cost is $26 person per night and each grandkid shares a room with his grandparent or a favorite adult.

All of these course descriptions can be viewed on line at the Continuing Studies site for each college or university. See the side bar below for websites, addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers. You can also register online.

Accommodations in Vancouver

Although hotels in Vancouver tend to be expensive, in the summer, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University turn their dorms into hostels. UBC has two residences with available rooms. One is the Pacific Spirit Hostel in the Place Vanier residence. These are dormitory rooms with bed, desk, chair, chest and closet. There is a community bath, kitchen and lounge on each floor. The bath on one floor will be for women and the next floor for men. Bed linens are furnished but guests need to bring their own towels. Room rate for a single is $33 per night and parking is extra. You receive a 10% discount if you have a hostel card.

UBC also has the Walter Gage residence with available rooms in suites sharing a bath. These are slightly more expensive. Walter Gage furnishes linens and towels. There are laundry rooms in both residences and the desk takes telephone messages and posts them on a board. Internet access is available in the residences and on campus. There are also several pleasant Internet cafes just a short walk from the campus.

Simon Fraser has the Simon Hotel in addition to dorm rooms and town houses for groups. The single rooms with shared bath rent for $37 per night. The townhouses are $175 per night however they accommodate four people. The hotel room with a queen bed is $91 per night.

People of all ages, from a variety of countries, stay at these facilities so you are sure to meet someone interesting. Although you will have time to take in all of the tourist sights, the opportunity to attend class and live on campus will provide a vacation experience you would never have as a tourist.

Kayaking or Sailing Trips to Hollyhock

One can also enjoy kayaking or sailing trips to Hollyhock—the Ultimate Learning Vacation

Hollyhock bills itself as an "Island Getaway Health Retreat" and it is certainly all of that. However, Hollyhock also offers weekly classes that revolve around four main themes: Health, Arts and Culture, Business Leadership and Social Changes, and “Wisdom Teachings.”

Some examples of specific classes that fall within these themes are: Digital Photography, Songwriting, Rhythm and Dance Odyssey, Vijnana Yoga, Writing Start to Finish, The Art of Leadership, and The Zero Mile Diet.

Hollyhock is located on Cortes Island, in the bay off of Vancouver Island. It is accessible by plane from Seattle or Vancouver and by ferry from Vancouver.

People can attend classes and study in pure luxury if they stay at Hollyhock. Daily rates include the use of outdoor ocean-view hot tubs, organic vegetarian buffets with wild, fresh seafood served weekly, morning yoga/meditation/movement, naturalist guided walks, the use of their library, wireless Internet access, a 24-hour beverage bar stocked with juice, coffee and various teas, some evening performances, and a shuttle to and from the docks and seaplane.

When classes are over for the day, you can book a bodywork session choosing from sea stone massage, acupressure massage, deep massage, facials and wraps, cranio sacral treatments or reflexology.

Accommodations include singles and twins with private or shared baths, doubles with private or shared baths, dorm rooms and tents. If choosing tents, one pays for the site but must furnish the tent, bedding and towels.

The Hollyhock website is and offers a complete listing of programs with information about the instructors, detailed instructions for registering, getting there, and away and prices.

For More Information on Learning Holidays in Canada

Emily Carr University of Art and Design
1399 Johnston St.
Granville Island
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Phone: 604-844-3810. Fax: 604-630-4535.
Office Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Closed Friday.

University of British Columbia
UBC Writing Centre
Ponderosa Annex C, Room 101D, 2021 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada

UBC Continuing Studies
Computers, Media & Technology
800 Robson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 3B7 Canada
Phone: 604-822-1420. Fax: 604-822-1499.

Simon Fraser University
Summer Publishing Workshops
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver BC V6B 5K3 Canada
Phone: 778-782-5000
Fax: 778-782-5060

Langara College Continuing Studies
100 West 49th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 2Z6 Canada
Phone: 604-323-5322
Fax: 604-323-5899

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VANARTS)
626 West Pender, Suite 500
Vancouver BC V6B 1V9 Canada
Phone: Toll free US & Canada 1-800-396-2787
Local and International 1-604-682-2787
Fax: 1-604-684-2789

Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts (VADA)
604-21 Water Street
Vancouver, BC, V6B 1A1 Canada
Phone: Toll free 1-866-231-8232
Local and international 604-633-1525

Harbour Dance Centre
927 Granville St.
Vancouver BC V6Z 1L3 Canada
Phone: 604-684-9542
Fax: 604-684-3253

Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo BC V9R 555 Canada
Phone: 250-753-3245
Jazz Workshop

Housing in Vancouver

University of British Columbia
Conferences and Accommodations at UBC
Reservations Office
5961 Student Union Blvd
Vancouver, BC V6T 2C9 Canada
Phone: 604-822-1000
Toll free 1-888-822-1030
Fax: 604-822-1001

Simon Fraser University
SFU Conference & Guest Accommodations
Residence Administration
Building A
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby BC V5A 156
Phone: 778-782-4503

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