News and Events

ESL program at Brooks Campus receives extension from IRCC

April 28, 2016

Medicine Hat College’s (MHC) Brooks Campus will continue to serve the needs of new Canadians in Brooks, Alberta thanks to a contract extension from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for their English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

The college teaches the Canadian Language Benchmarks standard which is a continuation of the settlement level offered through the Brooks Community Adult Learning Council (BCALC). IRCC covers costs like tuition and textbooks for students and offsets operational expenses including teaching and facilities.

“The structure of ESL is very much a community collaboration. Once students have completed level three [through BCALC] they are transitioned to us for levels four, five and six,” says Shalla Shaharyar, program administrator. “This program has positively impacted the community and the lives of our students who are very keen to improve their language skills, and integrate into the local culture.”

The program is offered part-time and in the evenings to accommodate the students’ work schedules.

When asked if graduates of the program move-on to further their education with the college Shaharyar explains that this percentage varies.

“Some of our students do move onto upgrading to pursue different employment opportunities or because in their country they were dentists and doctors and are looking to get back into their field of study,” says Shaharyar. “For some they are already employed at local businesses and just wanting to better integrate themselves into their work place and community.”

Erin Penzes, associate dean for the Division of Arts, Education and Business explains that the college is excited to be able to continue to offer the ESL program.

“This program has been in place for a number of years and it keeps getting bigger and better as time goes on. We’ve been able to add more seats and an additional class this year. We will continue to assess the needs of the communities in our region to ensure our program keeps up with the ever-changing demands,” says Penzes.

To learn more about MHC’s ELS program visit

Photos of students from MHC's Brooks Campus ESL Program

On Wednesday, April 13, 2016 students from the ESL program were recognized at an annual awards ceremony for achieving 95 to 100 percent attendance.

Brooks English as a Second Language

(Image above - left to right) Ilsen Yolima Lombo, Ning Wang, Buke Gufu, Xia Zhang, Carla Heinrichs (instructor), Maria Arenas,  Aracelia Espinoza, Juan Cruz
Student missing who received awards: Jeremias Angeles

Brooks English as a Second Language

(Image above - left to right) Nigest Gebre, Zainabou Keita, Alicia Garcia, Carlos Gonzalez, Jaynette Dueck (instructor), Eyob Gorfu, Simon Adhanom, Sonia Piza, Luis Lozano
Students missing who received awards: Jacqueline Bagalwa, Juan Rodriguez

Brooks English as a Second Language

(Image above - left to right) Weldamanual Tamerat, Edilson Gallego, Romeo Martinez standing behind Olga Castillo, Diana Garcia, Maria Camacho, Diana Gomez, Yan Cui, Fyori Asfaha, Ziyad Bakher’s,  Carolyn Bjornson, Erica Aguilar, Rebeca Rabago, Muntha Teha, Carolyn Bjornson (instructor behind podium)
Student missing who received awards: Nahusenay Gebremichael