Dear Ai - Good advice for ESL Students. Do you have a question about learning English? Why not ask "Dear Ai"? <$BlogRSDURL$>

Friday, January 20, 2006

How did “Dear Ai” start? 

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About 3 years ago, a female Korean student was attacked in Stanley Park while she was jogging. Many international students were afraid to come to Canada because the mass media in their country portrayed Canada as a dangerous country. I didn’t want students to stop coming here because of the tragedy; I felt it was necessary to change the negative image of Canada. Having lived in Canada for over 7 years, I am confident that Canada offers the best education, and has friendly people who look forward to meeting others from diverse backgrounds.

Danger will come to you anywhere anytime. But once you know how to protect yourself, you are more confident and live happily and safely.

In 2002, I organized the first “Girls' Fair” with the intention of giving female students the knowledge they needed to live here safely and happily. This one-day event was focused on self-defense, safety, and safe-sex practices; moreover, I contacted fashion/make-up, health (Yoga and Shiatsu), esl/computer/arts schools and Universities, crafts instructors, non-profit organizations (MOZAIC, WAVAW), and Christmas craft people to attract an audience. All participants (both exhibitors and audience) were women, and entry was free. It resulted in over 40 exhibitors and over 200 female students came to the fair.

One of the exhibitors was ESL EGG, a monthly, free ESL informative newspaper. Since the Girls’ Fair was only a one-day event and I felt a strong demand to educate my students, Simon (the publisher) and Marlene (the editor) agreed to publish an advice column for ESL students to continue this ongoing spirit and awareness stemming from the Girls' Fair. Unfortunately, ESL Egg is now gone; however, I continue writing my “Dear Ai” column on my blog.

Write to "Dear Ai" at aiuchiyama@hotmail.com
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