Building English and Canadian pride

Friday, July 15, 2016

By Ryan Connell, Student Experience Coordinator

EFAS students at Canada DayMost Canada Day celebrations are known nationally for their enthusiastic and upbeat crowds. The kindness and friendliness of the crowd makes for a perfect setting for our Renison English Language Institute students wishing to build their language skills.

This year, students from Renison’s English For Academic Success (EFAS) program volunteered for the University of Waterloo’s Canada Day celebrations, a festive tradition that attracts more than 60,000 people across Waterloo Region each year.

EFAS students eat poutineHaruka Tenjimbayashi, an EFAS student in the program’s level 200, was very excited to learn about the opportunity to volunteer at the celebration.

"Because it was my first time to volunteer ever, I was really interested in volunteering for Canada Day," Haruka said. "The event also looked so exciting!"

Canadian friendsHaruka signed up to volunteer at the face painting station for the festival, helping to paint Canada flags and maple leaves on children’s faces. Her favourite part was seeing the smiles she could bring to their faces.

"It was so much fun," said the Osaka, Japan native. "I liked that people even wore costumes about Canada. And before the fireworks started, I was impressed because all the people began to sing a Canadian song."

Of course, Haruka means O Canada.

Ayaka Masuda, another level 200 EFAS student, was also surprised to see most Canadians sing the country’s national anthem right before the splashy fireworks show. For Ayaka, she wanted to meet a lot of native speakers and practice her oral skills.

“I couldn’t speak English very well, so I wanted to practice more English,” Ayaka shared. Ayaka arrived in Canada from Osaka this past April.

AyakaAyaka has already been very active this past term in the EFAS program, taking initiative to organize weekly events and activities for her classmates so they could learn more about Japanese art and culture. Weekly sessions taught students about the history and traditions from Japan, including recreation and leisure activities.

Overall, 23 students from the EFAS program volunteered at the event. An additional four graduates from Renison’s Bridge to Academic Success in English program also volunteered. 

Volunteers could assist with various aspects of the festival, such as the face painting station, logistics and set-up. They could also participate as spirit squad members, spreading goodwill and smiles throughout the celebrations.

But, was the day a success?  A tweet from EFAS student Nana Mizukuchi says it all:


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