Christine is a CLC student with big dreams and a passion for trying new things.Originally from Syria, Christine came to CLC to work toward meeting the English language requirements necessary to enroll at university, but her language learning ambitions don’t end there. Discover more about what drives her learning and her ambitious plans for her new life in Canada.

For Christine, a student in CLC’s Speak 30 English program, improving her English is more than a hobby or a means of career advancement: it’s a stepping-stone toward realizing the dreams she was forced to abandon when she left her native Syria.

“I studied pharmacology at a University in Syria for three years and I would like to continue to study pharmacology here and one day work in that field,” Christine said. “In Syria, my dream was to get my master’s degree and then my PhD in the pharmacology field, and I will still pursue this dream in Canada. I would like to focus my studies on finding a cure and creating medication to help people with chronic and terminal illnesses.”

When Christine arrived in Montreal, she was disappointed to learn that the credits she’d earned toward her degree in Syria would not transfer over to Canada. Pursuing her dream would have to mean starting from scratch.

“A lot of people told me I shouldn’t bother and that I should pursue something else like engineering or nursing, but my dream is to work in pharmacology. I love everything related to it: medicine, biology, the sciences. Even if I have to start from the beginning, my dream is to help people with chronic and terminal illnesses.”

Christine came to CLC to gain the skills necessary to pass the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), a prerequisite for studying at McGill, but her interest in language learning doesn’t stop there. She’s found exactly what she was looking for in the open, conversation-focused learning environment at CLC, and she’s already planning on adding a couple more languages into the mix.

“I plan on taking an IELTS prep course so that I can take the IELTS exam in December. If I can pass my IELTS, I will hopefully start studying at McGill in the fall,” Christine said. “After studying English I would like to study French, just for the purpose of being able to communicate with more people in Montreal. I would like to learn English, French, and Spanish. In 10 years from now, I would like to be able to speak all three. But for now my focus is on English because I need it to get into university and also because it is the most universal language in the world.”

“I chose CLC because I really liked the concept. I liked that we would focus on speaking and conversation and I loved the environment because it encourages us to practice speaking with our classmates and teachers all the time. The classes are always full of excitement and I never feel bored.”

The setbacks Christine has faced in the pursuit of her dreams might have deterred someone less determined, but she remains unfazed. She’s excited about the opportunities her new home allows and, if anything, her goals are bigger than ever.

“It’s my rule to try anything crazy that I have the opportunity to try, like skydiving, zip-lining, rock climbing, deep sea diving, sailing… I am open to trying out anything like that. I want to be able to say that I did all the things I had the chance to try.

“In the next year, I hope to take a trip to Italy. I’ve always wanted to Italy and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If I have the chance, I would also like to travel around Canada. I am so excited to be in Canada—now I can travel wherever I want. There are 196 countries in the world and I would like to visit all of them. Whenever I have the opportunity to take a trip I take it. There is a whole world for me to discover.”


– By Holly Tousignant