I love language and I love learning. Most of all, I love people. I love hearing people’s stories – where they come from and where they’re going. I love cultures that are different from my own. I am excited about this communal process we call “life” that stretches across oceans and around the globe. We are all the same. And, we are all so different. There is strength in those differences if we are willing to see it.
This love of people and love of culture has cultivated an interest in EAL education for me. I’ve worked at the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council for four summers running their day camp program for immigrant and refugee children. This job has changed my world in so many ways. It has changed the way I look at language and learning. It has opened my eyes to cultures and stories that I thought only existed in books. It has been humbling and exhilarating. For two months every year, this job consumes my life. Each year is different than the one before as I learn and grow, seeing what works and what doesn’t (books on CD put 6 year old Fanta to sleep…).
I have also been lucky to live in Swaziland, Africa for a semester last year. I lived on the grounds of an orphanage and I worked closely with two young boys that weren’t able to attend school due to the severity of their HIV. I taught them from the Swazi curriculum that was available to me and we also played a lot of Lego. Again, humbling and exhilarating.
There have been a lot of days where I’ve wondered to myself if I was in the right field. I am young, life is long, and I tend to be a little indecisive. But when I think about the impact these experiences have had on who I am as a person, I feel reassured. It is so exciting to see a child learn language. It is also exciting to see how you learn as they learn and realize that you are both in a constant state of becoming which never ends.
Language, learning, and people. These are the things I love.