We spoke to Puja one afternoon while she was looking after her children. She’s a full-time mom with two very active toddlers but she’s excited to be interviewed. Mixed with the tiny voices of her little ones, she told her settlement story in her halting but confident English.
The language barrier
Come to think of it, this interview would not have been possible a few years ago.
Puja’s husband had already been living in Edmonton, Alberta when she joined him in 2015. After several months, the couple moved to Winnipeg in search of better job opportunities. The young wife and mother remembers that she was entirely dependent on her husband in those first months due to the language barrier. She knew Gujarati (one of the languages spoken in India) and barely knew English. “I was scared to talk to people,” Puja said.
One of her husband’s friends advised her to inquire from Manitoba Start about English classes. Because she had kids to take care of, Puja was referred to English Online right after taking her language test at WELARC. “First, I attended Coffee Chats with Blaine (English Online e-Facilitator) to help with my English,” Puja said. Later on, Blaine suggested LINC Home Study so that she could get formal English instruction and a certificate at the end of the course. Puja is intending to apply for Canadian citizenship and the certificate may be used as a proof of English language proficiency. She started LINC Home Study with English Online in November 2016.
“I like learning online because everything is comfortable for me. I want to care for my babies. I don’t have to go outside especially in winter time. In Winnipeg, it’s very hard to go outside. With English Online you can learn from home, it’s free and you can learn even if you only have one day in a week that is free”
Not scared of anything
Asked about her progress in her English studies, Puja said “When I first came to Canada, when my husband tells me, ‘go there and ask something’. I say ‘no I cannot go, you can ask.’ But now I can go and ask. I’m very confident and not scared (of anything) anymore.”
“I like learning online because everything is comfortable for me. I want to care for my babies. I don’t have to go outside especially in winter time. In Winnipeg, it’s very hard to go outside. With English Online you can learn from home, it’s free and you can learn even if you only have one day in a week that is free,” she added.
From barely no English, Puja can now carry on conversations and find out things for herself. She has even shared her online learning experience with her friends. “I have other friends who are like me, who have kids and they want to improve their English and they can’t go to class in school. I tell them ‘no, I’m also at home and I learn English. You can also do this and you can benefit,’” she said. She has since convinced two of her friends who are now also attending online English classes.
“Learning with English Online is good for everybody. They provide good information, the teachers are nice,” Puja ends the interview with a smile.