Only a year ago, Dr. Maliheh Hakakzadeh was treating ear, nose and throat infections as a specialist and surgeon in Tehran. Having decided to leave her home country to create a new life in Canada, Hakakzadeh is now hard at work honing her English skills at Hastings Adult Education Centre.
Every week day, Hakakzadeh makes the journey from North Vancouver to the heart of Commercial Drive where Hastings Adult Ed Centre is located. There she works away from 8 AM to 3:45, slowly but surely perfecting her spoken and written English. Meanwhile her son is works asway at level 3 English at Hastings Adult Ed Centre as her daughter frolics outside in the Hastings Community Centre summer camp.
Hakakzadeh admits she's got a lot of work ahead of her. After arriving this March in Vancouver, she's been steadily developing her English skills so that she can not only converse day-to-day but also master the challenging and often arcane nature of English medical terminology. Once she has this down, she plans to begin the process of re-qualifying as a doctor. First step will be to register with the Canadian Medical Association. Then there will be a round of medical examinations and finally a two year residency. She says that with luck, she hopes to be practicing in her new home country in five years.
"It has been going well," she says. "I am working very hard and I love working hard."
So far, she says her time at Hastings has been excellent. Hakakzadeh chalks up a big part of her success at Hastings to the friendly and understanding way staff at the centre treat her and her family.
"I stay here and spend lots of time in the centre," she says. "Rowena is my teacher and she is very supportive. Karin is the kindest academic advisor I've ever experienced. Our secretary Sengpat is also very kind."