From Africa to New Brunswick
René Kaboré was born in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa. His mother tongue is Mòoré, one of the many languages spoken in the country. School instruction is in French. “French is the official language of Burkino Faso,” explained René. “When the country’s president addresses the citizens, he does so in French. At home, we speak Mòoré and French.”
René dreamed of immigrating to Canada. In 2007, he went to Bathurst to study industrial engineering technology at the community college. The courses were given in French, but René had to improve his English because some of the manuals were written in English. “In Burkina Faso, I took English from Grades 6 to 12,” he explained. “I had a basic knowledge of English, but spoke little.” However, René took up the challenge. In addition to taking English classes at the community college, he watched television in English. And at the store where he worked part-time, he took advantage of his interaction with Anglophone clients to practise his third language.
“Before arriving in Canada, I knew that it was a bilingual country, but I was not aware that New Brunswick was the only officially bilingual province,” he said. René worked hard and obtained his diploma in June 2009. Today, he works as an industrial engineering technologist for an engineering firm in Bathurst. He believes that knowing English and French opens a lot of doors for him. “It is truly an asset,” he said.
And while René speaks three languages, French will always have a special place in his heart. “If I could say one thing to young people, it would be to be proud of their mother tongue. Of course, we need to know English, but my first language remains French, so it is important to speak it and write it well,” concluded the young man who made his dream come true.