250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 12:41 am

Arabic Lessons to Help Welcome Refugees

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 @ 3:50 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Those wanting to welcome Syrian refugees to Prince George have something new to consider – learn Arabic.

Richard Parks, a volunteer with the Facebook group Prince George Citizens For Refugee Support, is hoping to set up a lesson early next month at a yet to be decided location.

“It is quite possible there may be families that come in that only speak Arabic so I thought it would be important for us to be able to learn a little bit of Arabic to welcome them to Prince George.”

Since posting the idea on Friday he says it’s drawn a positive reaction with about 35 people so far indicating they are interested in attending.

“We’re just going to meet this time and basically learn the basics of Arabic with readings and such and from there we’ll see where people seem comfortable taking from it,” says Parks.

“If they enjoy the experience and have lots of fun, then I don’t think it would be too much of a problem to organize an additional lesson.”

As for teachers, he says he’s already lined up one person, a Syrian student studying at UNBC and says he has “a couple more leads.”

“If anybody is interested please comment on the post and come out and get involved,” says Parks. “It’s really a night of fun, no pressure, if you learn just one word that’s okay. It’s a great opportunity to meet some great people in the community.”


One of the hardest languages to learn in my opinion, the alphabet is so much different from ours.

Still on the topic of refugees. I notice on the side feed, that refuggees that arrived before a certain date paid there own way here for resettlement.. Now with Liberal Govt, they are giving free rides to come over and planning to backtrack the Conservatives plan before a certain date,,, are we to understand, some of these people have money and are taking advantage of our system of free airfare/?? I thought the refugees were destitute people. So they have money and taking ad=vantage of our system.

Why would one need to be destitute in order to be a refugee? Bullets don’t care how big your bank account is.

Richard Parks has been an amazing resource for Prince George as far as the Syrian Refugees go. He also organized an event that raised approx. $6500.

Stillsmokin, As far as I understand, Refugees are given a loan to come over, and then have to pay back the Government of Canada for their plane tickets once they have settled and can make payments. This has been going on for many years, for all refugees. However, if they did have money, they would still need a safe place to live. What would you do to get your family out of a war zone? It would be nice if any of them had access to funds, as it would take the pressure off of the citizens scrambling to raise enough money to support a family for a year. No Government sponsored Refugees are coming to PG so far.

Doesn’t that seem backwards thinking? These refugees are coming to a country that a huge majority speaks English, should the classes not be teaching them English?

I do thinks its great that people want to learn a new language..but really what is the better solution, having it so the refugees can talk to a few in Arabic or everyone in English ?

Typical arrogant attitude of English speaking north America, PVal. Some will be learning to speak English if they do not already know it. Others may actually be able to speak French or some German since several likely came through Germany’s refugee camps.

This show that someone is thinking of making a bit of an effort to connect in another way. Being interested in the other people’s language and culture is a thing once does to show one is interested in them.

Understanding and diplomacy is what is needed these days in the world with so much strife. It is a two way street. You are not doing your part.

Lets reverse this. How about learning our ways, customs and language.

We’ll all be speaking Arabic and bowing to Mecca in 20 years anyways…

Gopg, are you joking? You think I am being arrogant because I want the refugees to be able to communicate in English?

How many 911 operators, police, doctors etc speak Arabic? Not knowing English could be a safety concern.

Your thought process is wrong in my view.

My grandfather came here , from Italy. He learned his broken English, settled in to the community for over 50 years, rarely talked about his homeland. I asked him why he never went back, he kept saying ‘Im Canadian now, this is my home, screw Italy’. He grew up during WW2, poverty, oppression.. dictators.

People would talk to him in Italian and he would say ‘speak English so I can get better’. Until the day he died, he loved this town, this country. I hope these batch of immigrants hold his love for this country as he did. Because he didn’t have all the social programs these new arrivals do. You can just sit back and do nothing, and get by, all on the dime of the taxpayer. You make something of yourself, immigrant, or non-immigrant and it’s all good.

That grandfather is/was a smart man. Hope he did well in Canada.

Why are the men not staying back and fighting for their country. Waiting for the western boys to die for their freedom?

I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that the refugees need not learn English. They’re just talking about learning some Arabic as a welcoming gesture and interim measure. The first family to arrive apparently already speak English. I’m not sure what the situation here in PG is, but in the Lower Mainland there is reported to be a shortage of English classes for immigrants with waits of over a year to enrol.

“We’ll all be speaking Arabic and bowing to Mecca in 20 years anyways.”
It is very wise to learn the language of your enemies. If you’re worried about Islamism, you should be interested in learning Arabic.

Comments for this article are closed.