It’s hard to believe that the fall program is wrapping up. It’s been a great season. We welcomed both new and returning students this autumn from all parts of the world – India, Ukraine, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, China, Costa Rica, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and many others!

We’re continually impressed with everyone’s motivation to improve and push themselves forward. In September, another Mid-State student passed the Citizenship test after months of tutoring preparation. Congratulations to a returning student, Sunhee, who earned a job promotion this summer after passing her cook’s test. Her efforts to improve have paid off and allowed her to communicate better with co-workers. She also has a small fashion design business that she manages, in addition to continuing her English studies. Glenda, who took the Interviewing and Workplace English class last spring, used her new skills this fall and was offered two new part-time jobs! These are tremendous strides.

Classes are a great way for students to meet people and improve fluency. Lively conversation overflowed from a variety of conversation classes offered this fall. Other classes were busy getting to know our town. The Beginner English class took a bus ride in September, braving the circuitous path of the campus Loop to get a feel for how the CATA bus system works. Meanwhile, the Evening English class met at the library one Tuesday evening to explore its offerings. Those in the English for Doctor Visits classes took field trips to Centre Safe, the State College Police Department, and a local pharmacy; in the classroom, they’ve also covered a lot of territory. Some of their successes have included learning essential health vocabulary, practicing making appointments, reading medicine labels, and discussing ways to stay healthy and fit.

Tutoring pairs have also been hard at work. A number of students have created resumes and learned language to use on the job; other students have brought in their writing and professional work to receive feedback and editing help from their tutors. Some pairs are connecting and sharing a story together by reading a novel. Several have been enjoying an immigrant series by Tana Reiff called Hopes and Dreams which explores the fictional story of immigrant families from Syria, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Greece, and others. The stories use real background events based on the author’s extensive research. Not only do stories develop vocabulary and reading comprehension skills, but they also invite students to talk about their native culture and reflect on what makes each one unique. One student brings in books that she reads to her daughter at home so that she and her tutor can review them together. In all of these ways, literacy and language are blending together in harmony to enrich students’ minds, speech, and understanding of English and the impact that culture has on our lives and communication.

We are thrilled for the students and all the gains they have made. As we prepare for the spring schedule, we know that more good things are on the way!

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