Serving their country by learning English

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Back row left to right: Warrant Officer Bachirou Ba, Nadine Champagne, Captain César Jiménez Hernandez, Colonel Serhii Stetsensko. Front row, left to right: Major Sanad Ibrahim Ali Alkhawaldeh, Major Armenui Marroquin Morales, Commander Jorge Horacio Cárd

Nadine Champagne - English Language Instructor, Foreign Division, CFLS Saint-Jean Det

On January 22, 2018, 11 foreign officers began their intensive 10-week English course at the Canadian Forces Language School Saint-Jean Detachment (CFLS Saint-Jean Det). The students vary in rank from Warrant Officer to Colonel. They are in class from 8:00 a.m. 3:10 p.m.; they have several cultural outings including Montreal and Ottawa. Military guest speakers are brought in to expand the students’ understanding of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). 

Students apply to be accepted in this program as enrollment is very limited. I never thought that as a civilian English teacher, I would have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to people serving in international militaries. I may not be able to do a chin-up, but I can certainly teach English. I feel privileged to spend 10 weeks teaching these appreciative students. I admire their dedication. They are all parents and have left their families for a season to take this course to become more effective soldiers. The civilian and military staff here at the CFLS Saint-Jean Det are making a difference around the world. Below is a cultural snapshot of my class of dedicated students.

Major Sanad Alkhawaldeh from Jordan works with foreign forces on the border of Iraq and Syria, a hot spot. He uses English manuals and catalogues to repair and maintain armored vehicles and weapons. His division is responsible stopping terrorists and keeping drugs from entering Jordan.

Colonel Serhii Stetsenko from the Ukraine serves in the National Defense University of Ukraine as the Head of Department of the International Cooperation. “This course will help me represent the Ukraine more effectively as I work with foreign delegations both in the Ukraine and on international military travel.”

Warrant Officer Bachirou Ba from Senegal aspires to become an English teacher in a Senegalese Army English school or work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

or the International Committee of the Red Cross to help those in need. He is also a Special Olympics coach. “I’m so impressed with the high level of professionalism and organization of the Canadian people and particularly of the CAF”.

Because aviation regulations are in English, Mexican Air Force helicopter pilot, Captain César Jiménez is especially grateful to take part in the short course. “I feel excited about this wonderful school and inspired by this amazing country”, explains Captain Jiménez. “One of the most important things for me is the daily opportunity for cultural encounters inside these four walls.”

Representing the Mexican Navy, Commander Jorge H Cárdenas works in the Naval University in language training programs within the Navy and foreign programs. “My first impression of Canada was that the leaders welcomed us in a very organized way”, comments Navy Commander Jorge H Cárdenas. “The cultural knowledge that I will receive will be an important tool in international communications as well as serving to improve our language programs”.

Major Armenui Marroquin Morales, a physician in the Mexican Army thanks her classmates for the patience and passion they bring to class. Above all, she thanks the CAF for this amazing opportunity to improve her English and meet incredible people from around the world.




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