On Monday, October 22, 2012, Jeff Madigan from the L2 Accent Reduction Center gave a presentation to the students at Columbia College. Columbia College is certified post secondary institution catering to international students that offers bridge programs to UBC and other universities. For students who studied English as a Second Language, accented speech can be a barrier after completing their studies and hitting the North American labour Market. SFU advisor, Kirk Hill states, “Graduates tend to enter the workforce with all of the qualifications, education, and ambition, but those with foreign accents often hit a huge roadblock during their very first phone interview.” Columbia College instructor, Fatin Jallad agrees. He notes that depending on where an international student is from, he can struggle more to understand their speech. What he notices is something everyone experiences. Depending on a person’s familiarity with the sound of specific language families, a person’s accent can be either easier or harder to distinguish in terms of speech intelligibility.
Leaders of the Columbia College Entrepreneur Club, Baiaman Urmatbek and Akbuken Shektibay, met up with L2 Accent Reduction at a workshop given at SFU. They invited Jeff Madigan to speak at their club, not just about voice training, but about how he became an entrepreneur. ”It’s good for our club to get speakers like Jeff, our club is one of the biggest at Columbia College, says Shektibay. L2 Accent hopes that they have inspired the students at Columbia College and given them some strategies to help them in their future after graduating.