Job Special: From bonjour to hola and ciao

From bonjour to hola and ciao

Terrence Regan
Photo: Leslie Knoll

Milton Park Recreation Association director Terrence Regan offers new languages to the people in his community

In 1984, the Milton Park Recreation Association was founded by a bunch of local activists who wanted to give a proper recreational organization to their community. "We were neighbourhood activists and were involved with the community. When the church fell apart, there was a social void. That’s when community centres became important, and we were there in the 80s to build the Milton Park centre," explains director Terrence Regan. "We’re trying to help people, Quebecers or immigrants, to acquire social skills. With language courses, they can develop their understanding of many different cultures in the world. It’s very important, especially for newcomers to Quebec."

As he was himself once an immigrant to Quebec, Terrence Regan has made a point to help others and give back to the community. An expatriate of the United States and resident of Canada since 1968, Terrence Regan points out that learning about other cultures and languages helps one understand their customs and backgrounds. "We need immigrants here in Canada. We have so much space and a beautiful cultural mix, as well as peace, for now. We have become a magnet for immigrants and we have to open ourselves to other cultures."

When the language courses started in 1992, Spanish was the most in-demand course. Knowing how to speak to people in Varadero or Puerto Vallarta seemed a good idea for travellers. Spanish, as well as Chinese, Portuguese and English languages are now learned by both Quebecers and immigrants to help them succeed in both the financial and business worlds.

"With globalization of cultures and easier access to everything through the Internet, we need a greater understanding of countries, people and cultures," says Terrence Regan. "We grew up in a world with conflicts due to differences between religions and languages, where countries were downgrading others out of racism, but now you’re likely to meet students who want to learn a new language although they already know three or four."

And even if the Milton Park Recreation Association doesn’t get much help or recognition from the various levels of government, it keeps helping the community and intends to do so for as long as necessary.

Milton Park Recreation Association
www.miltonpark.org

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