Yuko Bartel was an infant when her family moved from Japan to Canada and considers herself very lucky to have grown up speaking both Japanese and English. Following her graduation from UBC in 1995 with a BA in English Literature, Yuko lived and worked in New Brunswick, Alberta, and Quebec, and spent 13 years in Kanas City, USA. Though she was just a baby when she immigrated, she recalls growing up feeling like she had a foot in each of two cultures, and this inspired her mid-life career change. Yuko decided she wanted to work in Canada, particularly with newcomers, and came to SFU in 2012 to study linguistics and pursue the Certificate in TESL Linguistics with a goal of teaching settlement English.
Why study linguistics at SFU?
I returned to university at age 45 because I wanted to make a career change. I wanted to become an ESL teacher and help newcomers to Canada. I’m an immigrant myself and I grew up with one foot in two cultures. I can understand the hardships people face when they first immigrate to Canada. Helping people and their families gain the tools to live and create a new life in Canada – that’s what I wanted to do.
I’m glad I chose SFU. I did a major in Linguistics and the Certificate in TESL Linguistics and I believe both routes are rigorous and well-rounded. SFU’s program prepares you for teaching in the classroom. I have heard from many ESL teachers who are practicum mentors that they prefer SFU students because they have good background knowledge before entering the classroom.
I know many “middle aged” people are afraid of going back to school because they are afraid they are too old or they are afraid of technology. But I know it’s never too late.