Halifax Newcomers Celebrate Culture at All Nations Day

Embracing English as a Second Language
by Maritime
Categories: 2019, Events, News Archive

Nearly 40 students representing 17 countries will celebrate culture and language on All Nations Day at The Salvation Army Fairview Citadel in Halifax on Saturday, June 22 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Hosted by English as a Second Language (ESL) students from countries including China, South Korea, Columbia, Iran and Guatemala, cultural displays will be placed around the church to highlight the traditions of their countries and their cultural cuisine will be shared.

“We’re excited to celebrate language, culture, and the accomplishments of our students who have adopted English as a second language,” says ESL teacher, Paula Zwicker who started the language classes in 2017 as a labour of love to help the growing immigrant community in Fairview. She holds a Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults (CELTA). Paula adds, “We continue to experience rich learning from one another and are so grateful to The Salvation Army for supporting us and sharing their space for our classes.”

Over the past two years, more than 200 students have attended the weekly ESL classes and there’s currently a waiting list for both the beginner and intermediate classes. The classes take place every Saturday morning for 1.5 hours; beginner and intermediate level classes are offered. The first part of the classes involve English lessons focused on necessities like shopping for groceries, taking the bus, as well as reading and understanding Canadian currency. The second part of the class involves conversation and practice. Games like BINGO are also used to engage students as they practice language skills through conversation.

“The ESL classes were the first opportunity I had to learn English in Halifax; they continue to be a very important space in my learning process,” says Maria Restrepo who is from Columbia. “Given the diversity of our classmates, All Nations Day is a great opportunity to share culture, food, music, languages with people from all over the world, while also celebrating our new friendships and communities.”

The Salvation Army proudly supports newcomers who are settling into our communities by offering ESL classes in some areas, as well as the Atlantic Refugee and Immigration Services (ARIS) program, which provides assistance for newcomers with immigration and refugee applications. This program runs out of The Salvation Army Spryfield location in Halifax.