Imagine having a successful career, complete with all the skills, knowledge, confidence and reputation that come with it. Then imagine being told that you must start all over again because you cannot communicate at even the most basic level. This happens regularly to newcomers to Canada, who are faced with many such obstacles.
Now let me introduce you to a student who has found his recipe for success. Luis was an international student at RRC, in the Legal Assistant program. I met him recently at RRC’s Language Training Centre, located in the VIA Rail station downtown. Luis was visiting his former class at the LTC to share his experience of moving from language classes to an academic program. He confidently stood among the crowd of fervent English language learners and gave them this advice: “When you begin your program, you must do these three things – One, work hard. Two, work hard. Three, practice your English by making Canadian friends.” Brilliant! Here was a student who seemed confident that he was on the right pathway to success, who had concocted a recipe that was working very well for him. Not only that, but his success was so encouraging and exciting that he longed to share it with others.
Intrigued by Luis’ passion, I found out his story.
Luis left Mexico and moved to Winnipeg with his family. Even though he had skills and experience as a lawyer, he knew very little English. Knowing he had a long way to go, he started language classes at RRC’s Language Training Centre. Within one year of studies, Luis’ English communication skills had advanced to the level that was required for entrance into the Legal Assistant program. Luis was the only international student in this particular program, which he believes to be one of the most recognized in Manitoba, with a “high level of difficulty”. His goals are to continue studies in the Business Administration program. He has no worries about his ability to succeed and knows he’s on the path to continuing his career in Manitoba, despite his obstacles. He credits the LTC for giving students “all the tools that are necessary to be a successful student in the Canadian educational system, and . . . helping you to know and learn about a new culture and be part of it.”
Many of us can learn from the advice Luis gave that day, no matter what our obstacles are. Have you found your recipe for success? If so, have you gathered the ingredients? Then get busy cooking and, when you’re ready, celebrate and share your success!
Submitted by Carolyn Schmidt, Program Facilitator, RRC’s Language Training Centre