ESL Students Face Challenges of New Country

Newton Jorge

Newton Jorge

Coming to a new country is hard. Coming to learn the language of the country can be even harder. However, Southwestern Adventist University offers an English as a Second Language course for those who want to learn English. It gives them an opportunity to accomplish the goals they desire and make the adjustment of moving to America. With teachers such as Monica Kowarsch, the department chair and grammar teacher, and Melanie Padon, the speech teacher, current students and former students both feel like they are either learning or have learned just what they need to achieve the goals that they want.

Current ESL student Newton Jorge is doing his second semester in the program. He is from Luanda, the capital of Angola. Out of the three levels, he’s in the most advanced level of the program, level 3. Once he passes all of his classes and takes all of the necessary tests, he will graduate from ESL and will be able to take regular classes in the university.

He has improved exceptionally, according to Caitlin Landelius, senior biology major and one of his tutors. Landelius says that compared to the way that he spoke when he first arrived from Angola last semester, Jorge is very much improved.

“His vocabulary has increased greatly. His conversation skills has grown exponentially,” says Landelius.

According to Jorge, when he first arrived to SWAU, he wanted to finish learning English as fast as he possibly could. He realized quickly that learning a new language is a process.

“I need to learn vocabulary, grammar and a whole lot more. Even when I finish with classes and everything, I still feel like I’m going to keep learning,” says Jorge.

Jorge feels that his teachers and tutors have really helped him with learning English and preparing him for his future.

“My teachers and tutors are really nice. I feel like they can be my best friends. I’ve really appreciated everything they’ve done to help me. I’m having lots of fun,” says Jorge.

Heder Sampaio

Heder Sampaio

Students from past ESL classes have felt like they’ve learned plenty in the program. ESL alumni Heder Sampaio graduated from the program in 2011. He is also from Luanda.

“I came from Angola knowing no English at all. But I achieved my goal like a boss and completed the program in two semesters!” says Sampaio.

Sampaio is now a junior studying business in SWAU and continues to improve his English everyday. His favorite thing about the ESL program is that he felt so comfortable with the tutors and the teachers. He says that it wasn’t easy getting used to a new culture, but he enjoyed the opportunity to learn and observe the American culture.

“ESL was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget,” says Sampaio.

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