If you’ve ever tried learning a new language, you would agree that it can be quite challenging. And, when you add the extra layer of living in a new country and new culture, it’s even more challenging. Yet, as a newcomer, learning to speak the language becomes the key to your entire future. Language skills opens up doors to job opportunities, friendships and basic day-to-day social interactions, like at the grocery store, the bank or when someone on the street asks you for directions. When learning something new, especially a new language, it takes practice, and more practice.
This fall, volunteers through the Conversation Buddy Program visited English language classes and led conversation circles with adult English language learners. Over the eight week period, students got the opportunity to improve their conversational English skills through meaningful interaction and exchange.
The Conversation Buddy Program also builds bridges between newcomer immigrants and the wider community to help create a more welcoming Victoria. It provides newcomers greater insight into Canadian life and culture, while our volunteers are afforded the chance to learn about other cultures.
“I think for everybody involved it’s more than just practicing English, it’s really about exchanging cultures. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the diverse cultures that make up our Canadian society,” said volunteer Katlin Aarma.
And, here’s what some of the English language learners had to say:
- “I like the Conversation Buddy Program because I can improve my speaking skills. The volunteers are friendly and enthusiastic. I appreciate it. It’s good for everyone!”
- “The Conversation Buddy Program is very helpful because my English is improving and I enjoy talking with the volunteers about life in Canada.”
Thank you to our amazing ICA volunteers (Danny, Heather, Jon, Katlin, Lukman, Maureen, Smriti and Stacey) for making this opportunity possible!