ISSofBC Welcome Centre was the first stop among service provider organizations on the itinerary of a week-long study tour by 34 Swedish politicians and government officials working on issues related to the integration of immigrants in Sweden.
The group – whose members came from various cities and municipalities of Sweden – spent the afternoon of January 14 listening to presentations by ISSofBC’s key staff on Canada’s approach to settlement and integration and ISSofBC’s programs and services for newcomers.
They also toured the Welcome Centre, interacted with front-line staff in programs targeted towards groups with specific needs and had the opportunity to see for themselves some programs in action.
“The aim is to learn as much as possible in a week about the ‘Canadian model’ of migration and integration,” said Benny Carlson, a professor in economic history from Sweden’s University of Lund who coordinated the visit, adding, “a visit to the Welcome Centre is a top priority on the agenda.”
A particular highlight of the afternoon was the visitors’ stop in LINC programs of different training levels where they actively interacted with students in teacher-initiated activities. “My CLB-2 students really enjoyed stretching their small-talk skills talking to the Swedish delegates,” said LINC teacher Janet Massaro. “They were surprised that they could communicate outside of the classroom environment; they have greater confidence in themselves now.”
The Swedish officials also met with BC government officials and are visiting other immigrant-serving agencies while in town.