Great experience teaching overseas for local educator
August 4, 2017
There’s no place like sweet home.
After being away for almost 16 years studying and teaching in France and China, Dr. Candace Veecock-Boisedu is looking forward to settling in the Greater Toronto Area with her Reunion-born and French-raised husband and their three children once her current teaching contract expires in 2020.
Since September 2015, she has been an applied linguistics lecturer and senior tutor at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) which was the first Sino-foreign higher learning institution to open its doors in China.
With staff and students from 70 countries, the UNNC has an enrollment of nearly 6,500 with about 750 being international students.
“Going to China was an opportunity to see another part of the world and experience another culture,” said Veecock-Boisedu, the daughter of Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Ontario chapter founding chair June Veecock. “It’s also an opportunity to discover what it’s like to teach different types of students.”
Yearning from a very young age to learn a foreign language, she graduated magna cum laude with a specialised honours undergraduate degree and a Master’s in French Studies from York University. It was while at York that Veecock-Boisedu was selected in 2001 to go on a one-year exchange program to France to teach English.
“That was just a great experience,” she said. “I was always curious about French language and culture, so it was a discovery for me going there.”
After completing her Master’s at York, Veecock-Boisedu – who has Teaching English as a Foreign and Second Language certificates from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education -- returned to France in 2003 and settled in Bordeaux, the world’s major wine industry capital in the country’s southwest.
She taught linguistics, applied linguistics and English as a Second Language (ESL) at the Universite Bordeaux Montaigne and English for healthcare professionals in several areas, including podiatry, radiology and nursing at the Universite de Bordeaux.
With extensive experience teaching ESL in adult continuing education, Veecock-Boisedu also worked with young learners with cognitive and behavioural challenges and translated the play, ‘Eternity’, by playwright Jesus Carazo from French to English.
Specializing in English Linguistics and English Applied Linguistics with expertise in several areas, including semantics and pragmatics, it’s her desire to continue teaching once she returns home.
“I love the classroom experience,” said Veecock-Boisedu who completed high school at St. Brother Andre Catholic High School in Markham and Master’s in English Studies at the Universite Bordeaux Montaigne.
Before pursuing a teaching career, the UNNC faculty of humanities & social sciences member was a ballerina with Canada’s Ballet Jorgen.
“There weren’t too many Black ballerinas at the time and the main reason I joined this company was because they put diversity on Canadian stages,” said Veecock-Boisedu who studied American Sign Language at York University. “I spent five years with them before deciding to do something else and that’s when chose to attend York University.”
Four years ago, she enrolled in an adult ballet class for stretching and fun.
“I am too busy teaching and raising a family to be seriously involved in dance,” she said. “Last Christmas, my husband encouraged me to dance for my students which I did and they enjoyed it.”
Though enjoying their time in China, Veecock-Boisedu and her family – the children’s ages range from nine to three -- are looking forward to the next phase of their life.
“The plan has always being to come back here with the experience of seeing the world,” she said. “It’s so important to go outside of your community and comfort zone and do that…As a Canadian who has travelled the world, I can tell you that I am well received wherever I go. People around the world hold Canada in high esteem and I am so proud to call this country home. For me, this is clearly the best country in the world.”