The queue for the potluck buffet was long

International Potluck continues to grow

There was barely room to navigate in the Stettler Public Library as the third annual International Holiday Potluck filled the place...

There was barely room to navigate in the Stettler Public Library as the third annual International Holiday Potluck filled the place with delicious food and hungry folk.

The Wednesday, Dec. 7 event was co-hosted by the library and Stettler Adult Learning’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

Now in its third year, the potluck has grown in size, almost doubling from last year’s attendance, according to Judy Becklund, ESL program teacher.

“The goal is to help integrate new Canadians into the community,” she said.

Over the years Becklund has taught ESL, she has had students from a wide, global audience. She has taught people from South Korea, Japan, Hungaria, China, Mexico, Bulgaria and the Philippines, to name just a few.

Becklund said not being able to speak English, or not being able to speak it well, is a very isolating challenge for new immigrants. The communities in which they live are often already a big difference and a tough transition, but not being able to understand others, or being embarrassed by their English language skills, can cause immigrants and new Canadians to remain alone.

“The more they learn, the more they feel part of the community,” she said. “It builds their confidence. It helps them at work, it helps them pursue post-secondary education, they can talk to their doctors and attend parent-teacher interviews.”

Teaching ESL has been an adventure, Becklund said, because unlike her students, she only speaks one language. She doesn’t understand them when they, sometimes in frustration, resort to their native tongues.

“At first, I used to say ‘English Only,’ but I realized that they’re often providing hints to each other to help them out, so I allow them to speak their own language,” Becklund said.

The International Potluck gives Becklund’s students a chance to mingle with people from the community, trying out their English skills as well as showcasing some of the food from their cultures.

The potluck table was full of different foods, including perogies, peanut-sauce covered chicken, meatballs, a Mexican sandwich cake and more.

About 60 people came to the event, forcing organizers to set up more tables and put out more chairs to accommodate everyone.

The ESL programs are inexpensive, and Becklund said she wished more people would take advantage of them.

Joaquin Sanchez, Karem Garcia and their son Adrian came to the potluck.

Sanchez and Garcia are no longer ESL students and have lived in Canada for five years, and originally came from Mexico.

“We took lessons for about five years,” Garcia said.

Sanchez said that even though he spoke some English before he took the classes, the classes really helped him better what he knew.

Next year – as soon as it becomes possible – the pair intend to seek their Canadian citizenship and become official residents of Canada. They are currently permanent residents.

“(The potluck) is a great opportunity to meet new people,” Garcia said.

Just Posted

Watch: Gravel truck turns into wrong off-ramp at Highway 2 Ponoka

The new Highway 2 and Highway 53 intersection at Ponoka caused some confusion for one driver

Stettler armed robber convicted in court Oct. 12

Jayson Marshall gets over two years in jail

CORRECTED Donalda Creamery plans on tap Oct. 23

Architects to answer public’s questions about plans

WATCH: ASIRT investigating officer-involved shooting during crime spree

Shots fired on two occasions during incidents, one suspect remains in hospital with serious injuries

Drumheller RCMP investigate human remains

Police find human remains in burning vehicle near Morrin

VIDEO: Tragically Hip singer-songwriter Gord Downie dies at 53

Downie had been fighting brain cancer for over a year

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Outspoken Mountie assigned to admin duties for refusing to shave goatee

The 15-year veteran of the force said he believes the RCMP is targeting him

Victim in fatal ammonia leak remembered for his passion and smile

Friends and colleagues remember Lloyd Smith as someone who was always willing to help people

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.