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Pembina Valley – “English Buddies” Can Keep Newcomer Language Skills Fresh

April 19, 2020

Regional Connections is looking for volunteers to help others practice their English speaking.

Either through video chat or over the phone, not only can it improve newcomers’ English capabilities, it can make them feel connected to others in the community.

“A lot of times, they haven’t made a lot of connections if they’re newly arrived, and this is a good way to expand their social networks,” says Integration and Volunteer Coordinator Alesha Hildebrand.

The Language Buddy at Home (LBH) program has been active for quite some time. Usually, the buddy program would have individuals meet in a social environment either for coffee or at the park, but COVID-19 has made things more complicated. With in-classroom English unavailable, the buddy program is needed more than ever.

“Sometimes, English speakers can take for granted how easy it can be to have a conversation in English,” says Hildebrand. “For those learning it, that what keeps English fresh in their minds, is the ability to practice it and use it naturally. So, we want to make sure we can still meet the need.”

She says if they can’t practice and have conversations, they could lose those skills, and that’s why having the LBH is so vital for newcomers.

Those wanting to help can contact Hildebrand at

While English teachers at Regional Connections are still engaging their students with lessons and projects they can do at home; the Language Buddy at Home program can help keep their conversational English skill sharp.

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