10 Countries

Tyne Valley resident Shelly Campbell (centre) with M.E. Callaghan Community School Class Coordinator Rose Bernard and West Prince Community Navigator Scott Smith following the first official night of a new course called 10 Countries in 10 Weeks, where various guest speakers from different countries will give presentations on their cultures. The course is being presented through a partnership between PEI Community Schools, CBDC PEI and the West Prince Community Navigator. Melissa Heald photo

Residents of West Prince are being invited to take a tour around the world without even leaving the region thanks to a partnership between PEI Community Schools, CBDC PEI and the West Prince Community Navigator.

This partnership is offering a new course called ‘10 Countries in 10 Weeks’, which will see various guest speakers from countries sharing their stories, history and culture with course participants. Countries include St. Kitts and Nevis, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Switzerland, Italy, the Philippines, Columbia and maybe more.

“We have a steering committee formed for the navigator project and we are looking at ways to do community education outreach throughout the West Prince region,” explained West Prince Community Navigator Scott Smith. “How can we help showcase some of our new residents and people who are coming here or have been here for awhile that have other cultures and can share those cultures. This is how this idea kind of came about.”

The course is first being presented at the community school at M.E. Callaghan Intermediate School. The first official night for the new course was on Oct. 28 with Tyne Valley resident Shelly Campbell presenting.

Ms Campbell is originally from Nevis, which is one half of the West Indian country of St Kitts and Nevis, a dual-island nation situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Over the evening, Ms Campbell shared her culture, history, economy, geography, food, music and dance. She also brought a treat of West Indian bread pudding to share with the class, along with a number of souvenirs from her home country.

Ms Campbell said she loves talking about her home country, calling Nevis a very beautiful island.

Mr Smith said many of those he’s approached as guest presenters for the course are people he’s meet through his role as community navigator.

“It’s an opportunity for us to learn more about the new cultures that are moving here and it’s also a good way for those moving here to share about where they are from,” he said. “Hopefully, at the end of the day, we are all Canadian citizens, but it’s definitely a course I think will be a good opportunity for both sides.”

Rose Bernard is the class coordinator for M.E. Callaghan Community School and is one several participants taking the 10 Countries in 10 Weeks course.

“We have people who have come to our island from all over the world,” she said. “I think a lot of people are interested in knowing what their lives were like before they came here.”

Ms Bernard said community schools have always been a place to learn new things, where people can get out once a week to learn, either a new subject or new a experience,

“This is definitely new,” she said of the 10 Countries in 10 Weeks course. “We all know of somebody who’s moved here from somewhere else and the more we learn about where they came from, the more I think we can make them feel welcomed.”

Mr Smith said the course has been receiving positive feedback from everyone he approached to be guest presenters.

“It’s an opportunity for them to talk about where they are from and they are proud to share about their home country, their traditions and cultures,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said the West Prince Community Navigator project has an objective to grow the population in the region in the most inclusive way and a course like 10 Countries in 10 Weeks provides a safe space for people from other cultures to share those cultures with others.

“We hope it leads to cultural diversity and multiculturalism and just the general knowledge sharing that it brings,” he said. “When people can share their cultures they feel more comfortable and they are more apt to stay and help grow the population. We want people to feel they are part of here and will continue to grow and thrive.”

The course at M.E. Callaghan is only running until Dec. 16, but Mr Smith said they are hoping to repeat the program at both Alberton and Ellerslie Community Schools from January to March.

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