Raimner was on a short break when he spoke to me on Skype. He was on a tight schedule – studying in the morning at Robertson College and then going to work in the afternoon, with most of his free time spent on classes with English Online. I had 30 minutes to speak to him before he leaves for work.
It is plain to see that Raimner is driven. He was at the top of his career as a software engineer back in Cuba when his family got the opportunity to immigrate. Having been part of the generation that lived through Cuba’s “Special Period” (this was around 1989 to 1991 when Cuba was hit with economic and political crises that led to food shortages and lack of basic commodities) he and his wife were determined to give their daughter a better future. “It was a hard time in our country, I remember that basic things were lacking. People were riding bikes every day to go their jobs. I put up with these years and although it started to get better around 1994, I don’t want her to experience what I had gone through. That was the main point to come,” he said.
A series of fortunate events
Raimner and his family arrived in Manitoba in 2016. They considered a lot of options prior to moving to Canada with places like Toronto, Quebec and Saskatchewan on their list. Raimner spoke to a lady who told them that there were fewer applicants to Manitoba, so they did.
Upon arriving, Raimner quickly learned that English was a necessity. “I had no English when I arrived. My wife had pretty good English so she was the one who started looking for a job and going through everything like going to Manitoba Start,” he said.
Eventually, Raimner did go to Manitoba Start and WELARC and was referred to MITT (Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology) where he started taking English classes. Then he started looking for jobs. Raimner looks back on this experience as one of his hardest challenges. “A lot of people were saying that there were lots of jobs to do but it was hard when you don’t have experience. They ask you for experience but because you’re new you don’t have experience – it’s kind of being trapped in a bubble that you don’t know how to get out of,” he said. Luckily, Raimner met a person who ran a renovation business. “He gave me an opportunity and I am so thankful to him. I was working within two years and it was so special for me. He hired me, taught me English and how to do renovations. I feel blessed because this guy appeared in my life out of nowhere,” Raimner said.
Meanwhile, he continued to persevere with his English studies. He was with MITT until it stopped their program for learners with benchmarks above 4. He then enrolled at the University of Manitoba’s paid programs in the evenings. It was through his wife that Raimner discovered English Online. “She told me, start with English Online. First, they gave me e-Tutor Sonya from Calgary. She was so good. I studied with her for a month and it was such a good experience. Then I applied to LINC Home Study. I have my instructor Jill right now and she’s amazing!” he said.
“In my opinion, learning English using EO is one of the most indispensable tools that we have to achieve our goals and establish ourselves in the Canadian society. I think EO is really good. I truly recommend EO because it’s fantastic – the flexibility that they provide you, the good teachers that they have. It’s a very good option so I truly recommend to everyone.”
Learning with English Online
“Before, I took some Coffee Chats with Blaine (amazing guy!) and also with Yuliana. I enjoyed the Coffee Chats but I felt like there was not enough feedback for me. So I applied to LINC,” Raimner said. He was paired with LINC Home Study instructor Jill Hart in January 2018.
“I can say a lot of things about Jill but the thing that I love about her is that she doesn’t hesitate to say that you are doing something wrong. She tells me what I need to improve on. She sends me videos and gives me exercises and then checks a lot of things – that’s what I love. I don’t get angry because that’s the way you learn. At first you do things wrong and then someone tells you that this is the right way to do it and then you learn from it, he said.
Raimner adds: “Aside from this, I like studying with EO because it is very flexible. Right now I’m under pressure because I have to go to school in the morning and work in the afternoon. Sometimes I call Jill and I say ‘I’m sorry, I can’t have a class today’. In her lovely manner she would say ‘it’s ok, let’s reschedule for another day’. That’s what I like, it’s so flexible. You can have your class after work or whenever you have time to do it,” he said.
“In my opinion, learning English using EO is one of the most indispensable tools that we have to achieve our goals and establish ourselves in the Canadian society. I think EO is really good. I truly recommend EO because it’s fantastic – the flexibility that they provide you, the good teachers that they have. It’s a very good option so I recommend it to everyone,” he said.
Busy but loving it
Life may be hectic for Raimner right now but the future looks bright for him and his family. “I have been improving my English – things are going slowly but surely. I’m looking to establish a career as a Network System Administrator and I’m really on it. I want to be working in an office like I used to in Cuba and providing all the knowledge that I have,” Raimner said.
Soon he will be embarking on another important milestone in his settlement journey. “I am working hard not only for my family but also to have a better society and improve our country, Canada. I have already applied for Canadian citizenship which is another step. A lot of things are going on in my life but I am happy. I like being busy like this,” he said.
Raimner continues: “Since birth, we have faced challenges all the time. First, we learn how to walk and at first it’s hard. Then we move on and try to learn how to ride a bike or how to speak, and later on maybe to fall in love. All of these are challenges and we go through the process of learning. I think immigration to Canada is just like one of these challenges in life. So I want to say ‘thank you’ to all the teachers that I had – Yuliana, Sonya, Blaine and especially to Jill. EO is a great tool, it gives you all the resources and the information to be ready for this challenge.”