China. Japan. Myanmar. Turkey. Afghanistan. Chad. Somalia. Korea. Vietnam. Congo. Sri Lanka. Sudan. Kenya. India. Iran. Iraq. Pakistan. Brazil. Ecuador. El Salvador.
Adult students from around the world celebrated at the Hamilton City Centre site of HWDSB`s Community and Continuing Education this month, as newcomers normally learning English here took a turn teaching others about their countries of origin.
For the first time, the CCE City Learning Centre hosted a multicultural celebration in which the adult students were able to present posters about their country, talk about what makes it unique, and share aspects of their culture such as food and dress.
“This was organized by teachers and gave students a chance to speak publicly in English and present about their cultures and foods, which is an encouraging thing to do when they are new to Canada,” explained Charmaine Routery, supervisor of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC).
LINC, which provides language instruction for newcomers to Canada, is offered at four CCE sites and is funded through the federal government`s Citizenship and Immigration Department. In addition, the provincially funded Adult Non-Credit ESL program is offered in conjunction with LINC. Both these programs aim to assist newcomers in their transition and language acquisition.
Many ESL students are refugee claimants who are trying to prove their eligibility at the risk of deportation. This is stressful, so opportunities like the cultural fair offer a great release.
At the City Centre event, some parents brought their own school-age children, while others acted out dramas. One student began an interesting discussion about how the discovery of oil and diamonds in his country has not reduced poverty due to an undemocratic government.
At the Mountain location, one student brought in an ancient copy of the Koran and some pieces of jewelry. With the help of a senior student acting as translator, he explained to Routery that these items were his family’s heirlooms, handed down to him from his mother. He said he was proud to be able to show them.
The celebration has been held at the CCE Parkway Learning Centre but this was its first time at City Centre. It also expanded to the CCE Mountain Learning Centre this year. City Centre is the largest of the LINC programs at the CCE Learning Centres, with about 250 students.
Next year, Routery hopes to find one central location where all five learning centres can bring their students together.
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