Shannon Carlin works for the Parks Canada Agency in Calgary. She is taking one-on-one French classes at the Berlitz Learning Centre in Calgary, primarily to further her career but there have been other benefits.
Q. What were your language learning goals when you started learning French?
A. My end goal is that I would like to take the standardized testing. I am the only English unilingual member of my team. I’m hoping this will open up some different opportunities for me, and help me in my career.
Q. How has learning a new language helped in your professional life?
A. I seem to be progressing well. I am able to have conversations (and) my comprehension is quite good. My colleagues and I do a lot of instant messaging texts. They can send their messages in French, and I am able to answer their questions in French.
I mentored about 25 people last year, and out of the 25, six or seven are bilingual and French is their first language. Their emails are often in French. I am still working on being able to respond to their technical questions in French but I can read and understand most of their emails so I feel this is huge progress.
Q. How would you describe your experience with the Calgary Berlitz Learning Centre?
A. I’ve had three great teachers.
I have a coworker and I was telling her how much I like this course because it is in person. I had another optional group to choose from (non-Berlitz) and I don’t know if that suited me as well because the learning would have been by Skype. If I don’t understand something (with Berlitz) I can say “hang on, hang on, I need you to explain this differently to me,” and they’re really good about it.
They’re super accommodating; I really am enjoying that part of it.
Q. How has language learning helped you as a person?
A. I think the further I go along, the more confident it makes me as a person.