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#LifeatEP March: Celebrating diversity at English Path

Welcome to #LifeatEP March! This month at English Path, we're celebrating diversity! Diversity is not just about ticking boxes; it's a core value that shapes our workplace culture. To us, diversity means that we appreciate and respect the unique differences that each of us brings to our workplace. We value the different backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints of our team members, which makes our work environment lively and exciting. This month, we want to shine a light on the diverse and talented people who make up our team and recognise their invaluable contributions. Join us in celebrating, recognising and honouring diversity this month at English Path.

The power of collaboration

One of the key pillars of English Path is cross-cultural collaboration. We believe that when people from different cultural backgrounds come together, magic happens. Our team members come from all corners of the globe, bringing with them unique perspectives and experiences. This diversity of thought allows us to approach challenges from multiple angles and develop more effective solutions. By working together, we can learn from each other and grow both personally and professionally. Cross-cultural collaboration sparks creativity, promotes innovation and develops empathy. 

English Path staff testimonials

By celebrating our differences and embracing collaboration, we can create a more inclusive and successful world for everyone. Hear from our talented English Path staff members below, where they share their personal experiences and the impact of diversity on their work. 

Susan Vilhena

Centre and Academic Manager – English Path Toronto

I was born in Toronto but spent the first four years of my life in Portugal, making Portuguese my first language. I returned to Toronto to start school and my grandparents also came to live with us. Throughout my childhood, I spoke English at school and Portuguese at home. Plus, growing up in Canada, children had to learn French at school. Speaking these languages daily set the foundation for my love of languages.

Growing up in Toronto, renowned for its multiculturalism, I was surrounded by people speaking different languages – at the mall, grocery shopping, attending city festivals, or using public transport. Everywhere you look in Toronto, a different language is spoken. My parents raised me to be polite and respectful, which was also the Canadian way of life. As a result, I learned to be tolerant and accepting from an early age, which made me appreciate the diversity around me.

Being multilingual allowed me to work in different industries for the first 15 years of my career. During that time, many of my coworkers were originally from other countries and spoke English with different accents. I quickly learned that accents don't matter. Can you understand me? Can I understand you? If the answer is yes, then that's all that matters.

Accepting others for who they are and treating people with respect regardless of background was echoed in my classroom with my students when I became an ESL teacher. Today, as a Centre and Academic Manager, I continue to uphold these principles, treating everyone with respect regardless of their background.

Dorian Grey

Assistant Admissions Manager

Hello, I’m an Assistant Admissions Manager at English Path school located in Canary Wharf, where I help students from all over the world achieve their English language goals. Since 2013, I have been working in this industry, and I love what I do.

My teaching journey also led me to teach English in China and Japan, where I immersed myself in the rich and diverse cultures and perspectives of my students and colleagues. I enjoy working in a multicultural environment, as it challenges me to learn and grow every day.

I’m proud of my Black British heritage and my Jamaican roots. I grew up in London, a city that celebrates diversity and inclusion in every aspect of life. I also love to share my culture and traditions with others, as well as learn from theirs. I believe that diversity is a source of strength and inspiration.

London is also one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities in the world. I’m amazed by the history, art, and architecture of this city, as well as the opportunities and challenges it presents. I like to discover new places and meet new people, as well as enjoy the culinary and entertainment options that London has to offer.

Mary Ellen Wright

Global Head of Academics

At the age of 14, I participated in an 'Intercambio' with a secondary school in La Rioja, Spain. It was a transformative experience for me and laid the foundations for my cultural awareness journey and passion for learning languages. Immersed in Spanish culture, language and 'calimochos', during several summers, I gained invaluable insights into the nuances of language, customs, and perspectives.

I went on to study Italian and Spanish at University. I spent a year of my degree in Barcelona as a British Council English Language Assistant, deepening my cultural understanding, gaining teaching experience and meeting other 'auxiliaries' from all over the world. This life-changing experience led to me doing my CELTA once I had graduated and then, later, also the DELTA. I made the decision to teach English and embarked on teaching and 'DoSing' in the UK, Italy, Australia, and Spain.

I have no doubt that engaging with students and colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds not only honed my language skills but also deepened my understanding of intercultural communication and collaboration. It allowed me to appreciate the beauty of cultural diversity, navigate cross-cultural challenges with empathy, and foster inclusive environments where everyone's voices are valued.

This firsthand experience highlighted the importance of embracing cultural differences as catalysts for growth, both personally and professionally, enriching my work at English Path by fostering a more dynamic and inclusive organisational culture.

Kathleen Law

Global Head of Admissions

I was born and raised in the vibrant international city of Hong Kong, where both Chinese and English are official languages. My journey into languages kicked off at 16 when I travelled to Seoul, South Korea. I didn't understand a single word, which made me curious and prompted me to learn Korean upon returning to Hong Kong.  

With an interest in learning foreign languages, I earned my bachelor's degree at the University of Hong Kong, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, majoring in Korean studies with a minor in Spanish. My academic pursuits extended beyond the classroom as I delved into immersive experiences, such as a month-long English learning program in a language school in London, a semester exchange in the United States while I was at university and an eight-month intensive language program in Seoul, South Korea after my graduation.  I moved to London in 2021. I understand that moving abroad, learning a new language, and adapting to a new environment is not easy, so I want to use my experience and language skills to help students achieve their goals. I started my journey as a Student Services Officer at EP Canary Wharf to help with all their enquiries, and today, I am the Global Head of Admissions, assisting both agents and students at English Path. 

Romina Borderas

Global Head of Young Learners

To me, diversity is like a collage of experiences, cultures, and perspectives that I've encountered throughout my life journey. From leaving my home country 17 years ago to living in four different countries, each with its own unique culture, traditions, and beliefs, I've had the privilege of connecting with people from all walks of life. My career has taken me on many adventures, allowing me to immerse myself in diverse lifestyles and travel extensively. These experiences have taught me the true beauty of diversity and how mutual respect and understanding can create a more harmonious world. Diversity, for me, is a celebration of humanity's collective richness, where each person adds their unique thread to the vibrant fabric of our global community. 

Samantha Chavez

Student Services Assistant

Diversity is about celebrating and embracing the richness of various cultures. I’m proudly Ecuadorian, and meeting people from different backgrounds here at English Path Dubai is always fascinating. The curiosity of getting to know different cultures led me to broaden my social circle and create connections with lovely people. 

Allen Lofaro

Director of Operations – Europe

Reflecting on my journey at English Path, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the enriching experience of being part of such a diverse and collaborative team. From day one, the atmosphere has been one of inclusivity and openness, fostering an environment where each team member's unique background is not only recognised but celebrated. 

Navigating the landscape of cross-cultural collaboration has been both enlightening and rewarding. It has allowed me to learn from colleagues with different perspectives, values, and approaches, ultimately contributing to my personal and professional growth. The exchange of ideas and the blending of diverse talents have not only enhanced our team's creativity but have also significantly impacted the quality of our work. 

Advocating diversity has not been without its challenges, but the collective commitment to fostering understanding and unity has made these experiences invaluable. Together, we continue to build a workplace culture that thrives on the strength of our differences and the power of collaboration. 

As I reflect on my identity, I find immense pride in being Maltese—a connection to a small but culturally rich archipelago nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean. My Maltese heritage is not just a part of my ancestors. It's a tapestry woven with the threads of history, tradition, and the resilient spirit of the Maltese people. 

One of the unique aspects of my ethnic background is the Maltese language, a linguistic gem that encapsulates the island's diverse history. Its Semitic roots, influenced by Italian and Sicilian, mirror the mosaic of cultures that have shaped Malta over centuries. Speaking Maltese is not just a communication tool. It's a connection to the island's rich past and a testament to the resilience of its people. 

Nadia Aleo

Social Media Executive

I was born and raised on the beautiful southern Italian island of Sicily. Growing up in a close-knit community, cultural diversity wasn't particularly prevalent. However, with an English mother and an Italian father, I was fortunate to experience a blend of cultures within my own family. 

My journey into multiculturalism truly began when I moved to the UK for my undergraduate studies. It was there that I found myself immersed in a vibrant mix of nationalities and traditions, which sparked a deep curiosity and appreciation in me. This passion led me to pursue my master's degree in China. 

Living as an international student in China was an eye-opening experience that changed not only me as a person but also my worldview. Despite the challenges, I cherished every moment of cultural exchange and personal growth. However, the unforeseen challenges posed by the global pandemic eventually led me back to Europe. 

My time as an international student is what made me want to share the transformative power of cross-cultural experiences with others. That's why I am proud to be a part of English Path, where I have the privilege of helping individuals embark on their own language-learning journey. By fostering understanding and embracing diversity, I believe we can build a more interconnected and compassionate world. 

Frequently asked questions about celebrating diversity at English Path

A1. Diversity means appreciating and including people from different cultures and backgrounds. This includes things like race, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, and abilities. 

A2. By learning English in a diverse environment, you’ll be able to: 

  • Develop greater understanding and respect for others. 
  • Learn about different cultures and viewpoints. 
  • Improve your communication skills by interacting with people who speak differently. 

A3. You can celebrate diversity in your classroom by: 

  • Being open to learning about other cultures. 
  • Being respectful of others' opinions and beliefs. 
  • Sharing your own culture and experiences with your classmates. 

A4. Diversity is really important because it helps society in many ways. When people from different backgrounds come together, they bring with them different ideas and talents. It can lead to new and innovative ways of doing things. It also helps us solve problems better because we get to hear different perspectives.  

A5. Diversity allows us to learn about new traditions, customs, and ways of life. This makes us more open-minded and appreciative of our differences. It also helps build stronger communities. When people from different backgrounds work together, they build trust and understanding. This helps us be more resilient in the face of challenges. So, it’s really important that we celebrate and embrace diversity in all its forms.