Award encourages and inspires recipient


To celebrate Mount Royal’s centennial in 2011, the Languages Institute launched a Languages Institute Student Recognition Award. The award recognizes the top 10 students from each term to receive recognition of their attitude, academic performance and participation in the classroom. Recipients receive one hundred dollars toward their next term in the Languages Institute.

This winter, English for Academic Purposes Level 2 student, Florentine or “Flo” Ngarambe was one of the ten award recipients.

Flo, a single mother of two, came to Canada from Rwanda in 1998. Having worked as a successful judge in her country, Flo faced some challenges when she started to look for a job in her field.

"I started looking for law jobs on the internet but realized that to become a judge would be  a long process. I didn't know what to do."

After a bit of soul searching, Flo decided to focus on her language skills and made the goal of becoming as fluent in English as she is in French. To do this, she enrolled in the English Language Program at Mount Royal University where she began her journey studying in the English for Academic Purposes levels one through three.

During the courses Flo increased her vocabulary and learned to stop trying to translate words from French to English. “You need to forget your first language and just start to think in English”.

Flo says the program and her instructors really helped her to develop her English language skills. “It is a very fast-paced class which challenges you. For that reason I think it is the best program in Canada”

In addition to improving her English, Flo’s experience at Mount Royal allowed her to meet many new friends. “When I am new- I want to know everyone and really interact with them.”

Interacting with students with various backgrounds and stories has inspired her to pursue a career in social work. “My friends are always calling me and asking me for advice. I really like helping people and can never just sit around and watch people suffer. I want to do something to help. I think being a social worker will allow me to do so.”

When Flo heard that she had been one of the successful recipients she said she was in awe. “I was happy. I didn’t realize I was showing myself so much in the class. I realized there are some things you just can’t hide, in terms of my personality. I think I was more active in EAP one than in EAP two but obviously Anita noticed something in the class.”

It was Flo’s personality and natural leadership qualities that drove Instructor, Anita Hibbard, to nominate Flo for the award. “Flo is not only an exceptionally talented language learner, but she has a calm and wise demeanor in class. She has natural leadership qualities which make her deserving of the award,” says Anita.

Flo said that the award gave her more motivation to pursue her dream and ultimately give back to the community.

- Andrea Morrow, May 2013