Newcomer Story: Isabella (Xinyu Yang)

A selfie of Isabella and her husband

“One kind word can change an entire day.”

This came to mind as I was reading Isabella’s appreciation letters for our instructors Nastashya Wall and Karen Loeb. In this case, it involved many impeccable words conveying heartfelt gratitude that could change anyone’s year! Her letters are the kind you frame so that you can read them again whenever you feel down. Allow me to share a few excerpts with you (some parts edited for brevity):

“I can’t imagine what my life would have been if I had never accessed LINC Home Study… Once I participated in the program and was able to learn English courses at home, it was just like seeing the rainbow after the rainstorm…

“My excellent instructor, Karen Loeb, helps me to overcome all of the challenges by setting up one 30-minute face-to-face meeting with me per week through Skype. She is resourceful, sophisticated, professional, and has great patience with me.

“During the meeting, she assigns and corrects my homework, and she always finds practical and essential sources for me to study… I am thirsty for this knowledge. Every week I prepare my presentation and look forward to meeting her and enjoying her class. I appreciate that she instructed and helped me to practice job interviews, and I have built my confidence in any kind of interview.

“I am so thankful to have Karen as my instructor. I cherish her guidance, encouragement and patience. LINC Home Study E-learning is lighting and empowering my life.”

Here’s more ….

“Nastashya’s reading and writing classes are systematic and well-structured. She is clear and concise as an instructor with great patience during the class. I can obviously see my improvement because of her teaching style.

“Nastashya corrects my homework and sends me a feedback video during which gives her advice and comments: these videos are incredibly engaging. I feel my instructor is sitting by my side whenever I watch the video, and that my homework is getting excellent attention and evaluation. Throughout the video, her constructive feedback greatly encourage me and have inspired me to do more writing without hesitation.

“I am also enjoying reading in English much more which I think that is one of my barriers in life. As we know, online learning’s biggest weakness is the lack of interaction; nevertheless, Nastashya works effectively to overcome this issue seamlessly.”

Can you believe this came from someone who started learning English just last year?

Well, you’ll have to know Isabella. She is the kind of student who focuses on a task not just to finish it, but to create something she and others can be proud of.

Online learning is a life saver

Isabella visited Canada from China in 2015. She first settled in Montreal and then later in Vancouver. In those days, she was able to communicate with the help of a friend (who was studying at McGill University) who translated for her. Then in 2021, Isabella moved to Manitoba to be with her husband. The couple live in a farm in picturesque Beausejour, Manitoba, an hour’s drive away from Winnipeg.

Just like other newcomers, learning the language and Canadian culture were Isabella’s priorities upon moving. “There are many things that are culturally different between China and Canada. For example, in China, when speaking to superiors in the workplace, you have to use a person’s titles. Otherwise you’ll be in trouble or they might tell you to get out (laughs). In Canada, you can call everyone by their first name. Workplaces are more casual here,” she said.

Eager to learn right away, Isabella studied her immigration package thoroughly and assessed the recommended services prior to moving to Manitoba. She chose English Online from that package and immediately took a language test at an assessment centre.

Isabella started learning with English Online in May, 2022. Since then she has been an enthusiastic learner, attending Coffee Chats, the Reading Club, and Writing Workshops where she learns with a group facilitated by an instructor. She also enrolled in LINC Home Study where she receives one-on-one instruction from an ESL teacher. She says combining both methods of learning has been effective for her. “I think online learning is great, sometimes even better than in-person learning because I can interact with my teachers while I’m comfortable in my home,” she said.

She continues, “I’m so happy to share my experience with newcomers because these online classes saved my life. We learn lessons that are so relevant to us newcomers. For example, I am learning many idioms, not only grammar and structure. I realize that Canadians use many idioms when they speak. So now I’m using them when I speak.”

“I definitely recommend learning with English Online to newcomers. I really appreciate this program because first, the content is excellent. We learn about multiculturalism, how to answer job interviews, and so many others. This is so important for newcomers. Second, the teachers are patient and they always provide motivation. At first I was so nervous to speak in class but the teachers always motivate and encourage us. Lastly, the teachers and staff provide good service. I feel that they always give me their full attention,” Isabella said.

“I’m so happy to share my experience with newcomers because these online classes saved my life. We learn lessons that are so relevant to us newcomers. For example, I am learning many idioms, not only grammar and structure. I realize that Canadians use many idioms when they speak. So now I’m using them when I speak.”

Writing as a superpower

Before moving to Canada, Isabella was managing her own consulting firm. She is a Certified Public Accountant. However, she is planning to shift careers in the near future. “Right now, I’m on the fence between becoming an Airbnb manager or a real estate agent,” she said.

Asked for advice for other newcomers, she said “I advise them to take their time. Don’t get a job right away if it’s possible. Learn the language and learn more about Canadian workplace culture. When they have more knowledge and skills, it is possible for them to apply for better jobs later on,” she said.

As we were wrapping up the interview, Isabella’s husband joined her on screen. He had been listening in on our conversation and couldn’t help but bear witness to his wife’s hard work and diligence. It was clear that he is so proud of Isabella’s greatly improved language skills.

“There are some things that she missed telling you. This lady really pushes herself in her studies. She has been working hard in all her classes and with her LINC teachers. She spends so much time and effort studying and we can see the difference. I see a big improvement in her speech and a continued improvement in her comprehension,” he said.

He also shared that Isabella took three weeks to fill out her PR application because she was so thorough; she even wrote detailed and descriptive stories in the application. “I think the stories she wrote there could make the immigration consultants cry. I can safely say that she writes better than I do!” Isabella’s proud husband said.

As he was speaking, I could see that Isabella was beaming with pride because of his validation. With this kind of support, coupled with her strong work ethic, I know she will succeed in anything she sets her mind to. Thank you, Isabella for choosing English Online. We are fortunate to have a learner like you!

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