The Refugee ‘Welcome Kit’ Nods to a Kinder Canada—and a Harsher World · thewalrus.ca

This is a long and lovely essay about Canada’s greeting to refugees.  It was written before the inauguration and the dramatic rise in refugees walking or swimming across the Canadian border. The federal government has stayed pretty silent on how to handle the recent changes in policies, south of the Canadian border.

Parkas, art, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms embody an aspirational vision for our country

Source: The Refugee ‘Welcome Kit’ Nods to a Kinder Canada—and a Harsher World · thewalrus.ca

Foreign students to Canada will require new travel authorization | University Affairs

Canada Flag

Canada Flag

There is new paperwork that visitors to Canada will need to complete.  The government is hoping that people will apply online, in advance for the document which only costs $7 for 5 years.  If people don’t have the document, after the deadline in 2016, they may need to leave Canada very suddenly.

Move affects all students, faculty and visitors from formerly visa-exempt countries, except the U.S., starting next spring.

Source: Foreign students to Canada will require new travel authorization | University Affairs

Video

Entering a new country: Customs & Immigration, Student Writing & Videos

Palm Springs Airport, California

Palm Springs Airport, California

Travelling by air from one country to another usually means that you will need to understand some English.  English is the international language of transportation, and it is used on most international flights, as well as in the airports.  Here are some of the stories that my students wrote about their air travel.

 

A Trip that you took by airplane:

I’m from Brazil. I came to Edmonton. The date of the flight was March 17, 2015. I departed from Brazil at 11:00 A.M and arrived in Edmonton at 3:00 P.M the next day (March 18). I bought a one-way ticket, because I’m staying in Edmonton for a long time. I had connections from Belo Horizonte to São Paulo, São Paulo to Toronto, and then from Toronto to Edmonton. I used a travel agency to book my flights. After I made my reservations, I needed to request a new passport and a visa to stay in Canada. It took 45 days to release my visa for a four-year stay. I needed to go to a doctor for an exam and send my documents to the Canadian Embassy. My immigration interview was in Toronto. I needed a new check-in and to have a conversation about why I’m staying in Canada. My permission wasn’t possible for a long time because I don`t speak English. This is important for immigration.   The pre-flight instructions in Brazil were the same as in Canada. When I arrived at the airport, I needed to take my baggage to the check-in counter and get my boarding pass with my passport. After that, I went through security and I wasn’t allowed aerosol, dangerous materials, or smoking on the flight. For security, we had to turn off all electronic devices and put on our seatbelts before departing from the airport.

 

1/My last trip that I took by airplane was last week when I went to Vancouver.

My departure was from the International Airport of Edmonton. For this travel, I took WestJet airline, and it’s a Canadian company.

I arrived early at the airport because I like to take my time. My flight was on time. I took my luggage to the check-in counter and I got my boarding pass. I ate something in the departure lounge.

When I arrived in Vancouver Airport, I took a taxi to the city’s downtown. During my visit, I took a ferry to Victoria city. It’s a very beautiful and peaceful city!

2/I travel a lot, and for me it’s in America where the immigration staff control a lot. So when I travelled to San Francisco for a road trip in California, I spoke to a customs officer and immigration. I showed them my passport and I answered all the questions.

 

I’m from Harbin, China. I left China and came to Edmonton on April 27 by myself because my husband had to work in Edmonton. At that time, I couldn’t speak English. I could speak Chinese in Beijing International Airport and the steward on the flight could speak three languages. I felt ok about that. However, when I arrived in Vancouver, I had to visit the immigration officer who spoke English. They had to ask me some questions, but I didn’t understand. They showed me some papers and I had some answers in Chinese. I showed them my passport, immigration paper and answered the questions. Luckily I was allowed to enter Canada, and I could go to my next flight to Edmonton. A friendly guy did me a big favour. He helped me go through security and I arrived at the departure lounge. I saw my husband when I arrived in Edmonton. I had good luck on my trip. I met a lot of friendly and helpful people on my trip

My trip to Marrakech, Morocco: I went with my friends for a presentation project at the University Cadi Ayyad competition of International Marketing Days. On Sunday, I departed, and we met each other at the airport. I took the train to go the airport. Before that, I got up at 6:00 because my flight was at 9:30. I arrived at the airport, and I saw my friends so we took our suitcases to the check-in counter. Then we went through security and sat down in the departure lounge. After the announcement at our departure gate, we got up, and we passed by an agent, and showed him our boarding pass.

When we arrived in Marrakech, after showing our passports to the customs officers, the school delegation met us, and then we went to the hotel.

 

My flight

In December when I went to visit my boyfriend, I took some planes, and my flights were from Guadalajara City, Mexico.

In Guadalajara my flight took off at 7:45 pm and I had to arrive two hours before, so that I could take my luggage to the check-in counter and pass through security. When the hour arrived, I went to the gate where my plane was departing from. Then I showed my boarding pass to the agent and got on the plane. I had a good flight but that night was very long, because I didn’t sleep in a bed. I was in the airport all night, I had to take my luggage to the check-in counter at 3:30 am for my other flight.

 

3 weeks ago, I arrived at Edmonton International Airport from Spain.

The flight attendant gave me the immigration documents. I wrote them in French because I don’t know English. In the airport, the agent spoke English and he asked, “Do you speak English or French? I answered, “No. I don’t speak English or French”.

The agent asked why I was visiting Edmonton. I answered, “Because I’m visiting my boyfriend”.

How much time will you visit Edmonton? “I will return to Spain on September 2”.

What is your job in Spain? “I don’t have a job, I’m studying”.

I didn’t go to immigration at the airport.

 

My flight

On June 25, 2015 I arrived at the airport in Gdansk, about an hour before my flight at 1300 hours. I had a flight to Munich, Germany. In the airport I received a boarding pass and I went to the gate. In the plane, the flight attendants were very friendly. I really liked this flight. In Munich, I didn’t have enough time. I had to go to the gate very fast. My next flight was to Toronto. It was a very long flight, but I wasn’t bored because I read my book. In Toronto, it was very hard because I had a conversation with an officer. I had to go to pick up my suitcase because next flight was a domestic flight to Edmonton. It was very bad because I sat next to an awful girl. The girl coughed and bounced around all the time. It was late and I wanted to sleep. I was very tired and she gave me no rest! I was very angry. When I arrived in Edmonton I went to arrivals to pick up my luggage. My aunt was waiting there already. She drove me to my uncle’s home. My uncle couldn’t pick me up because he was at work, about 800 kilometers from Edmonton. It was very late and I went to sleep.

 


 

When you fly to a new country, you will have to go through several interviews, especially with Customs and Immigration Officers.  This is often very stressful since you may not understand the questions you are being asked.  Stay calm and pay attention.  Sometimes, another passenger or officer can help you to answer your interview questions.  These videos will help you know what to expect.

This video takes you through all of the steps when you are entering the United States.  It’s not an ESL video, so some of the words may not be familiar.  However, they are words that officers may use, so it’s useful to check words you don’t know.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see an audioscript.  Repeat sections that are confusing.

This is a video by a Brazilian ESL teacher.  She speaks slowly and clearly, and many of the questions and answers are written on the screen.  The only problem was that she pronounces the word “customs” like “costumes”, clothes that you might wear for Halloween.

Here’s a short and simple set of questions and answers.

Residents of fire-ravaged Edmonton condo complex forced to spend night at nearby rec centre

Residents of fire-ravaged Edmonton condo complex forced to spend night at nearby rec centre

In my upper-intermediate class, we study disasters, and there is a lot of useful vocabulary in the unit for following stories in the news.  If you watch the video and read the story, you’ll see that many of the residents of this buildings are immigrants, and now they are very worried about their documents, as well as where they will live and what they will do.  Possibly the fire was started by a barbecue or a cigarette that didn’t go out.  The city already issued a complete fire ban yesterday, because of the very dry conditions.  No open fires are permitted at this time.  It’s good to take

Possibly the fire was started by a barbecue or a cigarette that didn’t go out.  The city already issued a complete fire ban yesterday, because of the very dry conditions.  No open fires are permitted at this time.  It’s good to take time to learn about fire safety and what to do.  It’s probably a good idea to keep passports and important ID on your body, or very close to the exit of your home, so that you can get help quickly in an emergency.  If you see or smell a fire, CALL FOR HELP (911, all over Canada), before you do anything else.  Find your family, and leave the building quietly and carefully.  DO NOT RUN. Many people are crushed in fires, because other people push them at the exit to a building.

Talk to your family about a meeting place if there’s an emergency.  The area near the fire was blocked off for a long time, while firefighters were working.  Also, the speaker in the video talks about the fact that he had no insurance for any of his belongings, so he’ll probably have to replace everything he owns.

Residents of fire-ravaged Edmonton condo complex forced to spend night at nearby rec centre.

Editorial: Tweak our thinking on labour in wake of TFW changes

This is an interesting opinion about some things that may need to change in the Alberta workplace.  Alberta has the largest number of temporary foreignworkers, and is the most significantly affected by the changes in the TFW program.  Do you think that fast food restaurants will raise their wages, and their prices to hire Canadian workers, or will they reduce their hours or close their doors?  If you are affected by the policy changes, or if you need to write an opinion essay, this is good reading for you!

Editorial: Tweak our thinking on labour in wake of TFW changes

Editorial: Tweak our thinking on labour in wake of TFW changes.

Province roasted over list of temporary foreign workers that could call Canada home

Province roasted over list of temporary foreign workers that could call Canada home

Many immigrants have been working hard in Alberta as Temporary Foreign Workers, and many of them have decided that they want to make Canada their permanent home.  However, the rules for immigration keep changing, and it’s very confusing and stressful for those who have been waiting, and may need to leave the country.

Province roasted over list of temporary foreign workers that could call Canada home.

Alberta could see rise in illegal immigrants as thousands of TFWs face deadline to return home

Alberta could see rise in illegal immigrants as thousands of TFWs face deadline to return home

Alberta could see rise in illegal immigrants as thousands of TFWs face deadline to return home.

Changes last year in the Temporary Foreign Workers’ program mean that many Albertans are reaching the end of their visas, and many workers may need to leave in April/2015, or soon after.  It’s a stressful time, as many people say goodbye to their friends, family, and co-workers, and as others wait to see what their future will hold.

Meetup group to help Temporary Foreign Workers learn about language tests & requirement!

Edmonton IELTS/CELPIP Meetup FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY

Edmonton, AB
6 TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS

This is a group meeting for anyone interested in IELTS/CELPIP for Permanent Residency. I started this group to give all information to PR Seekers. This meeting group gives an …

Next Meetup

Let’s meet up at your local venue and discuss about IELTS/CE…

Friday, Jan 23, 2015, 6:00 PM
5 Attending

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Learn to get your best result on IELTS essay writing.

Many Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) have been living and working in Canada for a long time, and now they would like to become residents of Canada. However, the rules and regulations keep changing, and it can be difficult to qualify. This looks like a great chance to meet other people in the same situation, and learn more about how to stay in Canada!

Top stories of 2014 — #4: New rules for foreign workers

McDonald’s noted that prior to the new rules, only four per cent of its 85,000 employees nationwide were temporary foreign workers — but in Alberta, they made up 23 per cent of its employees.

Top stories of 2014 — #4: New rules for foreign workers

Top stories of 2014 — #4: New rules for foreign workers.

Here in Alberta, most of the students that I teach and tutor are here as temporary foreign workers, or as family members of a TFW.  Most of these people are leaving economic difficulties behind, and they generally hope to become Canadian residents.  However, employers often having them working 6-7 days/week, and many of these workers have almost no opportunity to use or improve English.  Obtaining permanent residency is a very big challenge, because workers must find time to improve their English enough to pass language proficiency tests.  2015 will almost certainly bring new rules for TFWs, and for Canadian residency.  What will those rules be?

Advice from English language learners

IMG_3500

In 1996, I lived in the USA for six months. I stayed with a host family, went to high school and was the only Brazilian in my neighbourhood. At the time I found it very hard to come to a new country and to have to deal with everyday situations, because my English background was not as good as I thought it was. Being immersed in an environment and being surrounded by people who are only speaking a foreign language, makes you improve your skills, whether you like it or not. It’s a matter of survival. So, when you least expect it, you are not only speaking the language, but also thinking in that language. People often say, once you are fluent, you can even dream, have conversations or interact in English. Although it is hard not to be able to speak your native language with anyone around you, it can be a very helpful situation.

 

This time around, I came to Canada with my husband and even though sometimes, we speak English to each other to improve ourselves, I find it much more difficult to be eloquent in the language. When we are tired, just not “in the mood” or want a sense of private talk, we tend to speak Portuguese with each other. It is comfortable, comes naturally, and it is easier to express yourself. As well, it is incredibly hard to be around a person that speaks your native language without doing so. Although having the company of someone from your country can be very comforting, it also can delay the process of enhancing your language skills. We see it happen all the time, families or friends that come together to a different country and keep the household with the original language. It can be even worse if one of the members isn’t working or studying at the time. Mostly the only people they interact with all day long are their spouse, or their friends from their home country. It is a much harder process to learn under these conditions.

 

Taking a class in English, any kind of class, can be helpful. Not only because you practice your speaking skills, but also because you mostly have to think in English. As you are taught the lessons and the procedures, you eventually absorb more than you realize from the language. Working in an environment where your colleagues are talking to each other and you have to do your share and explain yourself, gradually helps you to take your skills to another level. Part of the process of adapting to a different language is being able to understand the social aspects and conduct input in a conversation as well as the use of words in context that you could never be aware of if you don’t interact with people from that culture. So, get out, participate in as many activities as you can, try a hobby, or join a group. These are all effective ways to improve yourself. In summary, I’m trying to say that it is much easier to learn a new language if you can interact with others, especially native speakers.


 

 

I have been learning English for more than 3 years. At first, I just knew some vocabulary and grammar that was learned in middle school and high school but I had lots of difficulty in speaking and writing English. So, I thought that I needed to set a goal to improve my English. At that time, I just decided to immigrate to Canada for many good reasons. To apply for Canadian permanent residency, a good result on an English proficiency test was mandatory. It became my short-term goal. I think this was really effective for improving my English. In order to get the required score in the English test, I studied very hard. Despite all of the difficulties such as spending only a little time with my family, I was able to focus on studying English. Then, after about 1 year, I made it! It was hard and sometimes stressful, however, there was no doubt that my English skill improved significantly. So, I would say that you must find a strong reason why you need to learn English.

 

I was so happy that I could get the P. R. (Permanent Residency) permit, but I felt like learning English was too boring back then. I just put away all of my English books and did nothing relating to English until I came to Canada. Then, I was shocked for some time as I could not speak and understand English well!

 

So, I started to study English again, but I wanted to do it for fun at that time. Meanwhile, I purchased the Netflix program on my smart TV application for my daughter, as there are various kids’ cartoons.

 

But, after I logged in, I was really into those programs. There were new and old movies, dramas, documentaries and cartoons with English subtitles. By just pushing buttons on my remote control, I could study English for fun. I followed the story, listened to the dramas or movies and watched the subtitles at the same time. Sometimes I took notes when I read some new words and I read aloud along with the scripts. Now, it is my favourite way to enjoy learning English.

I know it is a long way to go for mastering English. However, I believe I can enjoy the long journey if I keep learning English with a strong goal and easy and fun methods.



How I upgraded my listening comprehension in a very pleasant way

 

The biggest problem with the English language that I ever had was the understanding of the spoken word. For me it sounded like a sequence of rrr-tones and often I couldn’t recognize where a word started or ended. Most of the time at school, we practiced English by studying texts, reading books or practising grammar. If we had to talk about a subject we could only learn from ourselves, which meant using very simple sentences with a strong accent. Although I was able to read texts or whole books, I had real problems understanding native speaking people. So I could better understand people who had the same strange accent as me.

 

Our teacher suggested that we watch BBC or CNN news, but in the beginning, this was a very frustrating method. The fast-spoken script, with lots of specialized terminology about special topics in these countries wasn’t the right method for me. But afterwards I discovered the perfect practise for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been really addicted to American TV-series or shows with a long storyline such as Breaking Bad, Lost, Friends, or Dexter. In Germany, I had to wait a really long time for the next season or episode. That’s because in Germany – in contrast to the most other European countries – all films and TV-shows are first synchronized. So while I’ve loved to spend my time with TV-shows and since I’m always waiting a long time for the next episode, I could just as well watch these shows in English. In contrast to the English news on TV, I could get these shows also with subtitles and stop the scene when it is necessary. This was the best possibility for me to practise understanding spoken English while having fun and reducing tension with this activity. I can really recommend this way of learning English.

 


 

Today I am going to write about my experience in learning English as a second language.

To continue my career in Canada, the requirement is an IELTS exam with a 7 score in all four disciplines. When I first took this exam, my score was 5.5, and this improved to 6.5. However jumping from 6.5 to 7 is a challenge for me, especially in writing. The question is why is it so challenging for me? The first reason is that I started out by writing an essay, not by learning about the different parts of essays and their purposes. The second reason is because I was trying on my own to improve, without taking any classes or getting help from a teacher.

 

My suggestion to people who have a weak language background is to attend classes from the beginning, to learn the different patterns of writing before starting to write anything. This will help significantly to improve your writing. To illustrate, in organized classes you will learn the meaning of writing and the purpose of writing. In my case, when I failed to understand on my own how to write an effective essay, it was a red flag for me. Then I started to take language classes, in which I learned what the purpose of writing is, and how to write various forms of writing for different audiences. In class I learned about writing step- by-step. That means writing is a process of several stages such as introduction, thesis statement, topic sentence, examples and conclusion. To understand all of this took me so long. It is my advice that you join proper classes to decrease the frustration of failure and to build your confidence.