When You Realize Just How Small the World Can Be

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am not sure that this is Today’s Perfect Moment, but it certainly deserves a bit of reflection.

I work at a private ESL school in Toronto.  Our clients come from all over the world to study English from 2 weeks to a year, occasionally even more.  I’ve met people from all over the world, and I’ve met people who have interesting family backgrounds that can be surprising.

Toronto itself is a very very multicultural place, so on the subway, in the shopping malls, and in the food courts, they get lost in the shuffle.  When I hear a person speaking another language, my first thought is that they are so lucky that they speak more than one language, rather than they are from a foreign country.  In most cases, I guess they were born here but speak their parents mother tongue at home.  This isn’t true for everyone, but I don’t bother to investigate the statistics of immigration.

All of that is background to a recent event in my class. A new student appeared and she either introduced herself, or she answered my questions about herself.  I couldn’t place the accent–generally I am pretty good at this, but this doesn’t apply to people in North America.  After asking her where she was from, she answered Slovakia.

This one was a new one for me. In almost twenty-five years at the school, this was the first Slovak student I have had.  We had a former teacher whose father or mother was a Slovak–the other was Czech–but no students.

For me this is a cause for a bit of celebration. I don’t get new countries often, so I felt pretty good about it.  I haven’t made any special tally of the different nationalities of my students, though sometimes I think I should.  What I am sure of is that there are quite a few countries whose citizens I haven’t met….yet.  Nonetheless, I am always glad when I can meet somebody new.  It shows me just how small the world can be and how similar we all are.

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About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, ESL, ethnic food, ethnicity, multiculturalism, students, teaching, travel, travel writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When You Realize Just How Small the World Can Be

  1. I knew a few teachers, and the cultural/language centre at the University of Victoria, who had maps and pins for students to show where they were from. Although I taught an international class it was pre-K which generally meant children did not yet harbour borders – they were all from ‘home’.

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