Natalie Zhayvoronok: A Better Career, and a Better Future

2014-2015 Issue 2


Natalie Zhayvoronok had a double-major in Translation and Education when she arrived in Montreal from her native Ukraine in the summer of 2010. She was planning to continue her career as an ESL teacher, but instead discovered that she couldn’t simply pick up where she left off.

“I was told that I could not teach full-time in Quebec, and that I had to take courses at McGill’s Faculty of Education,” says Zhayvoronok. Not yet ready to pursue a full-time degree, she decided instead on the School of Continuing Studies’ Certificate of Proficiency in English, studying part-time while working full time. “I’m so happy I did it,” she says. “Continuing Studies was my hope for a better career, and a better future.” The certificate helped her polish her language skills, and she still recommends it to “friends, acquaintances, and anyone who compliments my English!”

One of the advantages of pursuing the certificate was being surrounded by “very good and kind-hearted teachers.” Devaki Cynthia Groulx and Anna-Maria Panunto were just two of the many instructors who “helped me and encouraged me to keep studying. I asked questions and they gave me advice and recommendations on how to become a teacher in Canada and Quebec.”

She still kept in touch with them, even after she put her Certificate on hold to begin her Bachelor of Education TESL in McGill’s Faculty of Education. “When I started my degree I only had two English courses left. They allowed me to finish it, so I received my certificate in 2013, and I’m now studying full-time for my degree.”

She’ll graduate with the class of 2016, exactly five years after she first arrived in Canada. So where does she hope she’ll be in another five years?

“I came to Canada to be an ESL teacher, so I will be teaching English. To adult learners, to immigrants; I remember how hard it was for me, so I want to help anyone who needs help.”

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