Originally from New York City, State College has become my home during the completion of my B.S. degree, Global and International Studies, and Master of International Affairs degree. Having previous experiences of volunteering, it seemed honorable to contribute back into the community that has been my home for 5 years. Fortunately, a bulletin board flyer with the words “Become an ESL Tutor” caught my attention, thus becoming one of the most rewarding opportunities I have participated in.
I chose to fulfill the culminating internship for my Master’s degree at Mid-State Literacy Council this past summer, where I taught classes on current events and academic and professional writing, while familiarizing myself with the world of literacy and adult education. The instructor position I held at Mid-State was my first experience in teaching. Beyond the transformation I encountered through this new role, the classroom diversity created a space of inclusion and understanding, where both students and I deepened our academic and social knowledge.
My internship at Mid-State fostered professional relationships and the exploration of a variety of techniques to connect and tutor students learning advanced topics in English. Students in both classes were from all parts of the world: China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Kazakhstan, each with their own unique academic and professional backgrounds, from PhD students to those in the workforce. The classroom diversity created an environment of international learning, where students freely shared their own culture while comparing and contrasting their newly developing American lifestyle. The importance of reading and analyzing current events, internationally and domestically and teaching academic and professional writing skills enhanced the dual understanding of global learning.
I placed myself in the perspective of the students, as I reflected on my own pursuit of learning Spanish as a second language. This experience reinforced my interpersonal skills by being mindful of each student with their English proficiency. I empathized with the students in their moments of confidence, shyness and uncertainty when expressing thoughts, opinions, and ideas in a second or even third language. This level of empathy enhanced my personal skills required to excel beyond a classroom setting.
It was a great honor to be a part of Mid-State Literacy Council. Recognizing the community as a whole, especially those who would be calling State College their home, is an ideal way to enhance our lives together and to welcome those new to Centre County and the United States. Mid-State has been a valuable asset to my experience, as a student, a person, and a member of the State College community. I truly hope that those who are in a pivotal point in their lives and searching for a means to contribute to the livelihood of others have the same fortune of simply looking to the left at a bulletin board just as I did.