Going out for a little Chinese over the lunch hour is taking on a whole new meaning for businesses in downtown Calgary.
Starting in April, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the University of Calgary are teaming up to provide introductory language lessons in Mandarin and Spanish in the chamber’s downtown boardroom.
“The whole idea of languages is beginning to percolate more and more within the business community,” says Jon Malinowski, program director for the faculty of continuing education.
“In some countries like China, you may run into walls unless you known the language and the culture and you can adapt to their way of thinking and doing things . . . the language is more like a doorway to understanding the people and understanding the way they work and how best to work with them.”
Both China and Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America are growing areas of interest for Alberta businesses.
The lunch-hour language courses will offer practical and conversational tips, such as how to offer your business card, check into a hotel or pay a bill in Spanish or Mandarin.
The continuing education faculty has offered language courses before to individual corporations in the downtown core, but decided to open its instruction to the wider business community through the chamber.
“Right now, we’re looking at spreading our wings slightly by saying we recognize it’s important, we have the expertise here and we’re going to bring it to you,” said Malinowski, who anticipates follow-up courses will soon be offered.
The Chinese and Spanish courses begin April 8 and 9, respectively, and run once a week for eight weeks. Instructional materials and lunches are included in the $200 fee ($225 for non- chamber members). For more information, call 220-7226 or visit www.cted.ucalgary.ca.