By Ana Paula Bulhões, Canadian Forces Language School –
Few CAF members have never been on any language training during their career. Most will either have taken French or English language training to advance their career or learnt Spanish, Russian, Mandarin or another language to perform an assignment requiring proficiency in a foreign language. Not many people know that the Canadian Forces Language School (CFLS) is responsible for all foreign language (FL) training within the CAF. In fact, if a member is assigned to a position requiring proficiency in an FL, the training will take place here, with us, at the National Capital Region Training Company’s Asticou Centre.
Colonel David Ross, for example, is currently learning Mandarin in preparation for an assignment as a defence attaché in Beijing, China. Already well acquainted with how the CFLS works, having spent time there previously to do French language training, Col Ross and his wife are model students. Their positive, open attitude towards learning Mandarin, and their discipline, make this remarkable duo a terrific team.
In accordance with DAOD 5031-11, Foreign Languages, the CFLS opens up its courses to spouses who meet the Directive’s eligibility requirements. Dependants benefit enormously from language preparation before leaving Canada to accompany their military spouses, as is the case for Col Ross’s wife. Dependants are therefore invited to join their spouses whenever possible.
Other than a positive attitude and discipline, you may wonder what else is needed in this class. As the Ross’s ultimate goal is simple, learning as much Mandarin as possible in the time they have, the ingredients for success are just as simple. First, they have to work hard, be extremely dedicated and insatiably curious, and to want to know everything there is to know about the language and country they are studying. Second, they have to be open-minded and be aware that what they have to achieve is not for the faint of heart. Col Ross and his wife are humble and very patient, and show their respect and admiration for their teacher, Mr. Wang, every day. And that’s more or less what it takes to succeed in learning a foreign language.
So, if you’re one of the lucky candidates in the Defence Attaché Program, under the Director, Foreign Liaison, or in any other program requiring FL proficiency before you’re deployed, congratulations! If, on top of that, you’re getting ready to embark on language preparation this summer, don’t worry. Be positive, open-minded, dedicated and disciplined. You’ll be all set if you’re ready to work hard and to step out of your comfort zone. And rest assured: a motivated teaching and administrative team committed to its students’ success is waiting for you!
Photo: CFLS Staff
This post is also available in: Français (French)