The following blog post was written by Greg Danowski, Andrea Ferron, Celia Logan, and Fiona Lucchini, faculty members at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. This is the third story in our blog series on the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program at the Centre.
As mentioned in a previous post, a common thread through the levels of the EAP program is an assignment called community engagement which allows our learners to independently extend their learning beyond the classroom.
They can connect to as many communities as they wish, seeking out opportunities with set goals in mind. These goals include both skills development and career exploration. The 8 to 15 hours' worth of out-of-class activities may be educational, personal, or professional.
Examples of activities
- Volunteering at festival events such as The Children’s Festival, Beakerhead, Stampede, with BVC Students’ Association or Sodexo, with charitable foundations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
- Networking events with professional associations such as APEGGA, CARNA, etc.
- Workshops on interview and resume writing skills, starting up a small business, cooking on a budget, managing money with Momentum, etc.
- Club and organization activities with Toastmasters, Calgary Arts Development, etc.
- Meetups for biking, running, photography, and so on
- Calgary Public Library events such as conversation clubs, book clubs, networking events, career development workshops, etc.
- City of Calgary events, for example the Mayor’s Environmental Expo, recreational events, Pathway and River clean-up, etc.
- Program information gathering with career advisors
- Classroom observations – Student-for-a-day
- Information interviews with people in the field
“This experience gave me more confidence because I know now that I am ready to work in my area.”
We’ve heard so many amazing success stories that have grown out of these experiences.
- Sannia got involved with Habitat for Humanity and eventually helped build a home for her family and her neigbours’ families.
- Javier enrolled in a series of workshops with Momentum, and successfully started his own business. He now employs others.
- Cecilia attended a networking event, talked to the right person and ended up doing a summer internship in her field.
These stories prove that community engagement can lead to strong community ties, friendships, job opportunities, internships, starting your own business, starting career courses earlier than expected, and even…building your own home.