Canadians learning Arabic to welcome Syrian refugees

CBC News reports: Many Syrian refugees have already arrived and more are coming to the Waterloo Region [in Southern Ontario], leading some to wonder about what we can do to make these people feel at home in a new country.

In Waterloo Region, a crash course in conversational Arabic is available to residents and several have leaped at the opportunity to learn new language while becoming more useful to those arriving. ​The workshop is meant to teach private refugee sponsors and volunteers.

An organization known as Bring Back Hope, which was founded by Iman Arab, is working in association with Muslim Social Services to put together the four-hour course. The sessions are facilitated by Dr. Amir Al-Azraki, who teaches Arabic at the University of Waterloo and is also a lecturer and playwright.

Leanne Brown works with Carizon Family and Community Services as a school mental health co-ordinator and told CBC’s Melanie Ferrier that the opportunity to help others makes her feel really good.

“I’m here to learn Arabic because of the new refugees coming into our city and just to know how to make them feel welcome,” Brown said. “It’s pretty easy, actually. And I guess for me, learning a new language is very exciting.” [Continue reading…]

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