Maria Elima

Traveling the world… in the classroom

As many do, Maria Elima finished her university and had dreams of traveling the world. With little money to spare, but still eager to learn about and discover different cultures, she took a different approach and found herself at CCI-LEX’s doorstep.

An immigrant herself, Maria was lucky enough to have learned English before coming to Canada, unlike many others in her position. “It’s crazy how [the students] are adults, but we’re teaching them such basic English; that trapped my curiosity.” Eventually this curiosity led her to become a certified TESL instructor, and she enrolled in a foundations class designed to teach English to non-speakers who may not even recognize the English alphabet. Being exposed to such challenging linguistic barriers, Maria certainly doesn’t take communication for granted. “It’s hard [for students] to learn English when they’re older… It makes me realize how lucky we are that we understand each other.”

Maria has learned other skills as a result of her involvement at CCI-LEX. “I used to be really shy, but [teaching at CCI-LEX] has improved my public speaking and self-confidence.” Maria has taught Low Beginner and Beginner classes in the LEX program, currently focusing on the former. “I’m glad I’m doing it because it gives me this appreciation. It’s my way of also giving back to other people.”