Confidence and comradery thanks to LINC program

by Zunera Buttar, Marketing Lead, Caledon Community Services

Headaches, slippery roads, lousy hair days…little obstacles that can lead to cancelled plans. For Mirella, nothing can stop her from attending LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes in Caledon. Mirella is nine months pregnant and recovering from the flu, but she is still energetic and active within the classroom. “I do feel very sick and tired, but I refuse to stop coming here. Maybe I’ll give birth here in this classroom,” she laughs.

Before coming to Canada, Mirella had a busy life back home in her native Beirut, Lebanon. Her calendar was packed with days spent teaching French and evenings busy with friends. After getting married, she moved to Canada and settled down in Caledon Village. As you’d expect, the move took some time to adjust to, as it was a significant change to her lifestyle back home. Majority of her days were spent on her own, and her calendar was uncharacteristically empty. While Mirella’s husband was at work, she didn’t have the confidence to go out alone and attempt communicating with strangers.

However, things really began to change once Mirella started attending LINC classes. “My confidence in public was at a zero, but after my second week here I started talking in public and going out. It’s like magic! I don’t know how I got this confidence,” Mirella beams.

With 11 years of teaching English as a second language under her belt, instructor Suma Balagopal says her classroom is very unique because the setting is often described as an “extended family” by most students. “I think we are able to create an environment where they feel safe to make mistakes, and then gifted the wings to take flight and pursue their plans in Canada as they make this land their home.”

After giving birth, Mirella wants to come back to complete one more semester at LINC. Mirella eventually wants to become a French teacher here in Canada. With her new found confidence, she is well on her way to making her dreams come true!

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