Waimakariri - English classes for migrants
(caption for the above picture): from left - Audrey Dragovich - a volunteer from the Person to Person Trust talking to Gloria Soriano; Louise Pompei and Humberto Soriano are also seen
An English class for migrants in Waimakariri district has attracted six students from Colombia, Thailand, Japan and France. Recent work by the Waimakariri District Council’s community team in organizing get together for our migrants resulted in the class where ESOL teacher Jude Archer provides tuition. Meeting weekly on a Thursday morning upstairs in the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre the class practise and improve their conversation skills.
Oiy Morris is a Thai who three years ago married a Scot who regularly travels to Thailand from his Kaiapoi home and is enthusiastic about the class in an effort to improve her English.
"At the moment my husband can understand me but my mother in law still has difficulty, so I want to improve my English so she can understand me, because then everyone else will be able to," says Oiy.
Oiy keeps in touch with events at home through meeting other Thais at the Thai Temple on Marshland Road once a month.
Gloria Soriano from Colombia and her husband Humberto came to New Zealand to join their daughter who has worked here for 14 years and is married to a New Zealander.
While Gloria’s English is passable, her husband does not find it so easy and she is pleased that in a class he is forced to participate instead of relying on his wife to translate for him.
Chizuru Ranson is Japanese and came to Christchurch from Auckland seven years ago. She has involved herself in the community but says her English still needs to improve.
She loves the outdoors and frequently walks with the Kaiapoi Long Walkers on their weekly Tuesday outings.
Louise Pompei is a visitor from Provence who after finishing school in Marseilles, and visiting her parents in New Caledonia, decided to come to New Zealand to improve her school level English before resuming her studies in France next year.
She is staying with a Catholic Community family in Rangiora and wants to travel around both the North and South Island during her time here.
She enjoys staying in Rangiora as it is just like the small towns she is used to at home.
Masayo Nishino, another Japanese, has been in New Zealand for 18 months initially coming to study viticulture but found her English wasn't good enough to enroll in the course. Intent on taking on viticulture studies she is improving her language skills.
For these new citizens being able to communicate in English is another step to assimilating into the New Zealand way of life.
- This story and picture is contributed by Jackie Watson from the Kaiapoi Advocate