Hello-February-Hearts-fb-coverHey everyone! Now that second semester is well underway, we want to welcome all of our new international and exchange students and wish you all the best during this busy midterm season!

Although this time of year can be a bit stressful with papers and exams, it’s also a time where students can take a break from classes and spend time with friends and family.

In case you aren’t familiar with Valentine’s Day, Family Day, Lunar New Year and Reading Week (all holidays coming up this month!), here’s a bit more information about each, plus some ideas for how you can celebrate!

Valentine’s Day – February 14

Valentine’s Day is a holiday about love. Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts (usually in the shape of a heart) or flowers with their special “valentine.” Valentine’s Day can be celebrated with anyone and everyone you love, including friends, family, or a partner/significant other. Most people send little cards with sweet notes like this with small heart-shaped candies to their friends. It’s a great chance to spread a bit of love and show people how much they matter to you.

Family Day – February 16

Family Day in Ontario is relatively new, having only been introduced in 2007. It’s statutory holiday, so don’t expect banks, schools, or government offices to be open. However, grocery stores, shops, and restaurants will all still be open. Ontarians use this holiday to spend time with their friends and family.

In London, the city hosts a series of events for the occasion. There’s free ice-skating at Victoria Park and Storybook Gardens. There’s also a Winter Village for families and young children at the Museum of Archaeology. Added bonus: the YMCA is open and FREE for all!

Lunar New Year- February 19

Also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, this holiday is celebrated around the world, primarily by those from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines. Based on the phases of the moon, Lunar New Year is never on the same day each year, but typically falls somewhere between January 21st and February 20th. Lunar New Year is celebrated with big family gatherings, gift giving, the eating of symbolic foods and display of festive decorations–all focused on bringing good luck for the new year and celebrating the coming of Spring.

Every year is also associated with one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, with each animal being represented once every 12 years. This year is the year of the ram (goat). You can figure out which is your Chinese zodiac animal and discover what famous people also share your sign here.

Reading Week – February 16 to 20

This week-long academic break is also known as Spring Break or February Break. It’s a mid-semester holiday from classes for university students and its purpose is to give students a chance to relax and re-charge before the busy-ness of midterms and final exams. The timing varies from university to university, so if you wanted to coordinate with friends from another university, the timing may not align. Many students use Reading Week as an opportunity to travel (Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Niagara Falls, Collingwood etc) or as a chance to catch up on some much-needed rest and relaxation. Whatever you choose to do- just don’t forget that it’s called “Reading Week” for a reason! Remember to fit in at least a bit of studying so that you’ll be ready to take on your midterms and projects after the break!
Valentine’s Day, Family Day, Lunar New Year and Reading Week Events

February 10–15Catch Jersey Boys at Budweiser Gardens 
February 10-21Check out the Print London: With Love Art Exhibit
February 12-14Watch Althouse’s Seussical and bring the kids!
February 14Spend Valentine’s testing your Canadian trivia skills
February 14Enjoy a classic Valentine’s day and take your sweetheart out to a dance
February 14Celebrate and learn more about Chinese New Year at White Oaks Mall
February 16Educate yourself on Radar and its impact on warfare this Family Day
February 16Learn about Canada’s First Nations at the Museum of Archeology
February 16–  Enjoy Family Day at a local recreation centre!
February 21Celebrate Lunar New Year at this year’s Dragon Gala

For a full listing of London events, click here.

Note: The IESC office will be open throughout Reading Week from 9:00 am- 4:00 pm daily.

To all of our IESC family- Happy Valentines Day, Happy Family Day, and Happy Reading Week! Also, for those celebrating- Happy Lunar New Year!!

We hope you enjoy the break and look forward to seeing you again soon!