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New to the Country? Sign Up for Free Taxpayer-Funded Language Classes

Sign Of IntegratingIf you are an immigrant living in Canada, no matter from which part of the world you came, your chance of successfully integrating into Canadian society can be greatly improved by following a few important guidelines. According to “Seven Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants” by Nick Noorani, some of the most important include:

  • Staying positive throughout the process
  • Integrating yourself into Canadian society
  • Venturing outside your own ethnic circle
  • Having a strong Plan B if things don’t work out
  • Learning one or both official languages

Noorani claims that many immigrants coming to Canada fail to embrace and learn either English or French, when they would have eagerly taken language classes if they had relocated to a different country. If anyone immigrating to Canada wants to become fully integrated into Canadian society, learning English or French is a must.

Take Lessons for Free

If your budget has been holding you back from learning English or French, there is a program that aims to tackle that problem. If you are new to the country and you have permanent resident status, you are likely eligible to take language classes that are paid for the Government. Classes are usually available for children, youth and adults and are always taught by qualified instructors. If you are serious about staying in Canada, learning all the ins and outs of at least one of the official languages makes a lot of sense.

A Variety of Classes

Not only are new resident language classes available free-of-charge, there are also different types of classes available to meet your specific needs. Some classes provide general language training for everyday living, some provide workplace-specific language training, some teach literacy and language and some provide language training for people with special needs.

Classes are available in a classroom setting, but are also available online or through printed materials for those who are not close to a language training facility. In some cases, the cost of transportation or child care may be covered while language training is taking place.

Why It’s Important

Learning English or French is important for new arrivals to the country because it gives them the ability to communicate, and communication is probably the key element when it comes to making a new life in a foreign country. Communication equals freedom, and freedom is one of the reasons many immigrants decide to move to Canada in the first place.

The ability to speak English or French makes virtually everything easier, including:

  • Finding employment
  • Starting and running a business
  • Grocery shopping
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Enrolling kids in school
  • Making new friends
  • Finding a house or apartment
  • Opening a bank account
  • Buying a car

Naturally, English is spoken in much of the country outside Quebec, but being able to carry on a conversation in either language will enable immigrants to communicate with all government offices no matter what province they live in.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

One recent statistic from 2011 shows that 63.5% of Canadians with a first language that was something other than French or English, spoke English as their language of choice while at home. That must mean the official languages are creeping in there, and the percentages will likely increase as more people come in and more recognize the importance of learning the language.

If you’ve just arrived or you’re waiting for relatives to arrive, take advantage of the free classes. There’s nothing to be afraid of and the transition will be a lot smoother.