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From Syria to Strathmore: A Journey One Step at a Time

  • From Syria to Strathmore: A Journey One Step at a Time

The following blog post was written by Lynn Webb, Regional ELL Lead Instructor at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.

When Ahmed (name changed) heard that he and his wife, two children, sister, mother and father would be moving to Canada he had mixed feelings. He was sad to leave his home country. He was excited to move to Canada - maybe Toronto, maybe Vancouver. Strathmore was not something he imagined!

The Town of Strathmore has 12,000 people located 40 km east of Calgary. It is very different from where he lived in Syria and very far from where he expected to live in Canada. The people are friendly but the assimilation resources are few. Ahmed and his family have had to be positive, patient, and resilient in order to begin their new life here in Canada.  

Together with Settlement Services, the local Bow Valley College campus, and private sponsors, the Bow Valley College Regional ELL program is helping the family to learn English. I met with Ahmed and his wife and explained the available programs:

  1. SOLL (Settlement Oriented Language Learning) groups- a community volunteer helps with practical/settlement English
  2. LINC Home Study- online LINC classes with a weekly skype meeting with an instructor
  3. Language for Work - an online course about the culture of the Canadian workplace.
  4. Fit in Fast- an online program for immigrant professionals regarding Canadian workplace culture.

After meeting with Ahmed and his family, they began a SOLL group. They have been meeting weekly and their language is improving.  Ahmed and his sister are now also enrolled in LINC Home Study. They are all on track to become fluent in English and successful in Canada. 

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