Overview

Weizheng Shen joined the LINC program to improve her English with the long-term goals of finding employment in her pre-arrival profession as a nurse and participating more actively in Canadian society. She immigrated to Canada in 2014 with her husband and son to pursue a better future. Realizing soon after arriving that the goal of returning to nursing might take some time, Weizheng applied herself fully to improving her English skills. The last thing she expected was her LINC lessons would one day help save her life!

Services Applied
  • Settlement-focused English language learning
  • Introduction to community resources through field trips/guest speakers
  • Access to ISSofBC Settlement Services, Volunteer Community Connections program and Job Quest
  • Personal goal-setting through language learning classes

Challenges

Weizheng arrived in Canada in 2014, first landing in Ontario. She joined the Tri-Cities LINC program in February 2016, and despite being in Canada for almost two years, her language skills were at a very low beginner level. After 20 months in the LINC program, Weizheng successfully progressed to CLB 2. Although she is still shy using English outside the classroom, Weizheng has begun flourishing. She would love to return to nursing – her profession for 28 years in China – but realizes this is a long-term goal.

Solutions

Although Weizheng still needs to acquire substantial English language skills before she can pursue her nursing profession, she has been exposed to important settlement and community-related information while learning English in the LINC program. And by joining group conversations and other activities outside of her LINC classroom, Weizheng has been gaining confidence using English in everyday life, and recently volunteered at the ISSofBC tent during Canada Day festivities. The simultaneous acquisition of both English skills and settlement-related knowledge has been yielding immediate, practical benefits for Weizheng and her family, as a recent dramatic experience in the bear-populated Tri-Cities area where they reside showed.

Outcome

Weizheng, her husband and a family friend were hiking a trail at Port Moody’s Buntzen Lake when they encountered a threatening bear. They did not know what to do. Weizheng’s husband thought they should stay quiet. But Weizheng remembered the bear-safety lessons she learned in LINC class, and how they needed to look big and make noise to deter bears. Her teacher had suggested singing loudly to make noise. Although scared, Weizheng got herself and her companions to look larger, while singing O’Canada – a song she also learned in LINC class – at the top of her lungs. To their relief, the bear went from standing on his hind legs, to going back down on all fours, and retreating. Weizheng is convinced that without the bear-safety tips she learned in LINC class, the bear encounter situation would have ended badly. Through this experience, she saw for herself how LINC is more than an ESL training program.

“I like everything in my ISSofBC LINC class – my teacher and my classmates. I love to come to class everyday and learn new things. It is the best part of my day!”