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College of Extended Learning

UNB English Language Programme attracts business professionals

ELP attracts business professionals

What did you do on your summer vacation? We all remember answering this question on the first day of school in September. This year, three businessmen will be able to recount their experience learning English at the University of New Brunswick English Language Programme (UNB ELP) in Fredericton.

Alain Dugré, Louis Laroche, and Luiz André Gervasio Menezes are among the 200 adult students enrolled in courses offered at ELP this summer.

For pilots Dugré and Laroche, learning English at ELP is nothing new. In 2009, these long-time friends and business owners from Quebec came to ELP in response to referrals from past participants.

“I researched online for the best school, not only in Canada, but elsewhere,” says Laroche . “I asked around and I heard from a lot of people that ELP had the best reputation in Canada. I asked Dugré to come with me.”

Dugré had heard about ELP from a friend who came for three weeks. His friend told him, “Go to ELP, it’s the best place.”

Eight years later, they are back for two weeks studying in personalized English Language classes.

“We would love to be here for more than two weeks but we can’t leave our businesses for that long,” says Laroche, who enjoys the learning style at ELP and wants to continue improving his English mainly for work. For Dugré, it is more for his passion: flying. “English is the universal language of flying”, he says. “You need English everywhere in Canada to fly.”

When asked why they choose to return to ELP both say the teachers are high quality.

“When you’re here [at ELP], it doesn’t feel like training,” says Laroche. “You are living the cultural experience with New Brunswickers and others in the world.”

Dugré agrees. “It is serious, but fun,” he says. “It is a joy to come to class. The staff love what they do; you can see it.”

For Menezes, an engineer and father of three from Brazil, his decision to learn English in Fredericton is part of a new life plan.

He recently left his job and plans to open a consultancy business out of his home.

“It’s really good to know another language and having English opens doors. I want to set an example for my three sons. They will remember Dad was away for two and a half months and that he was studying English.”

Menezes has been familiar with ELP for quite some time.

Several years ago, he researched language schools for his sister and she chose to study at ELP. Based on her experience, he recommended ELP to a friend who was planning to study in England.

After the friend returned from his three-week experience at ELP, Menezes decided to do the same.

“ELP is a unique course,” says Menezes. “Canada is welcoming. Fredericton is a small city away from distractions and I wanted the host family experience.”

Living with a host family has been beneficial to Menezes.

“It is important for them to be part of the immersion. After supper, we have a habit of talking for two or three hours. This exchange has been a huge part of my experience,” says Menezes.

Coming from Vitoria, Brazil, a city with a population of several hundred thousand, Menezes recalls how quiet Fredericton first seemed. “In the beginning, it felt like a ghost town. I missed seeing people in the street. Brazilians need to be in touch with people to make connections. It’s the Brazilian way.” Menezes says he enjoys talking to the locals. “When I explain why I am here, they are kind and helpful. I will remember the Canadian way of life.”

Menezes last studied English 25 years ago and says, “I was really rusty.” He says he could communicate but wanted to interact at a higher level. “I am a very demanding guy. I know I won’t be like a first-language speaker, but I’d like to achieve an advanced level.”

Menezes says he is enjoying the whole experience. “The teachers are my favourite part,” he says, “because we [the students] can feel they enjoy what they are doing.” Menezes plans to change his way of life when he returns to Brazil. He says, “I need to keep English. I need to practise.”

“I can’t predict the future,” says Menezes, “but I’m investing now for my future.”

Dugré and Laroche couldn’t agree more. When asked what they would say to someone who is thinking about learning English and doesn’t know about ELP, they say, “It’s unique. Be open. We are businessmen: ELP is a good investment and we recommend it.”