Volunteer of the Month: Gail Hak

In February 2017, Gail Hak started volunteering at the Immigrant Centre as a One-to-One English Tutor. Her student was a young woman from Korea who needed assistance improving her English skills. They agreed to meet for classes once a week for three-month term.

More than a year later however, what started out as a tutor-client relationship, has become a friendship.  While Gail and her student continue to meet weekly, it’s no longer just about learning English.

I sat down with Gail to ask her about her volunteer experience and she was just as enthusiastic about her classes with her student as she was when they started over a year ago.  “I think of her as a friend” she says.

Gail had never done English tutoring before, but she and her student hit it off right from the start. They would work on English exercises such as practice benchmark tests, but soon found themselves discussing a wide range of topics.

For her student, Gail became a trusted source of information about everyday life experiences, from dry-walling and mudding tips to childcare advice. The learning experience was far from one-sided though. “To be honest, I don’t know who’s helping who more. I have learned so much about Korea.”

Later that day, Gail and her student planned to meet for their weekly class. Lately, they have been meeting at different locations around the city. This time it was a bit of an unusual choice by her student; a church in St Boniface. “I think she’s probably curious about it, so it should be an interesting class.”

The Immigrant Centre thanks you Gail, for your time and dedication.

Story by Ann Mohammed