ESL Program: The American Experience

Published in The Spartan Spirit, February 2019 issue (

by Georgia I. Salvaryn

Imagine going to a different country that is halfway around the world, far away from home. You are placed into a family that will be hosting you for the next four years, teaching you their language, their ways of life and showing you their home.

It’s hard being an international student. These students have to adjust to a new lifestyle, a new language and even a new time zone; their surroundings have changed completely. They can call their family every now and then, but other than that, there are barely any people around them that speak or understand their language and culture.

The English as a Second Language class, also known as ESL, helps the international students, in this case from China, learn and adjust to the English language and feel comfortable in the typical American classroom. The ESL class also helps the students understand the American culture, expand their English vocabulary, and increase their ability to use and comprehend English in different forms (i.e., writing, reading, listening and speaking).

I asked my students in class to write a little bit about their experience and why it is important to them. My senior student, Nikita Jiang, wrote, “Being an international student is amazing. I have made a lot of new friends and have a new family, new people, new food and a new culture. I have learned so many things and experienced a whole other world. It’s pretty important to me that I study abroad. It means a lot more to me than I thought it would.”

As the ESL tutor, it is my responsibility to make sure the students are doing well in their classes, communicating clearly and suc- cessfully with their teachers and preparing for their college experience in America. Having had a similar experience in college, I understand that studying in a foreign environment can be stressful and making adjustments can be difficult, but with dedication to learning, willingness to try and strive to do better, these international students will be successful in their school careers and can achieve any goals that await them in their future.


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