My Life with English

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The Humphrey program is one of the best experiences that I have had as a student in my whole life. One of the challenges has been with a new culture, but even more that is the language. English is one of my biggest challenges in the experience of learning, because I have never lived and studied before in the United States for more than 3 weeks.

One of my favorite expressions is: “Oh my God!!!!” Because this expression demonstrates surprises, admiration, sometimes doubts, or questions, whatever connotation you want. This shows my feelings when I had a new task learning the language.

When I was studying in high school, a long time ago, my teacher used to work with the traditional methods to teach English as a foreign language, back then, I was really not a fan of learning English, especially because around this time, there was a civil war in my country, El Salvador, It was a hard time for university students.

My life with English is not a romantic story, so after many years in the box of my memories inside my brain, there I was, wondering: “Why is English important to me?” This question resonates in my head like in High school. It’s very simple now, the language means my connections with the world. Right now, I have discovered the beauty of the language, and the chances of sharing and knowing more people.

In this adventure that began in April, 2021, with my English program in Missoula, Montana, and after that in Arizona State University. I am not learning just the Language, I am learning about culture, traditions, but overall university cultures, volunteering and English teaching here in the US.

I want to share my first impression about the university culture, ASU is one the most important universities in the west of the United States. I had the opportunity to see the impressive systems for making the students experience successful, inside or outside of the program. The writing center is one of them. If you are looking for help with assignments or papers, it is very easy to stay in contact with the advisor office and students’ organizations, especially with the international student’s office.

I like all the support resources for helping students maintain their performance in the classes and university community. Including health care in special ways in the covid time. Another good experience is the housing, which has been a new cultural experience too.

I share my apartment with two girls from Ghana, they are studying for their MBA. Also, I had a chance to meet girls from my home country. It was an amazing experience.

What about the volunteer activities? I never spent time before helping other people in this kind of organization. I think that is a good lesson for my life. I really enjoyed spending time making a box of food and preparing land for the sowing. I know when people think about the United States, they think about the glamour and fashion cities like New York but never think about how hard it can be for the poor people.

I wanted to include in this paper my best experiences with my English teachers, who have the perfect big picture about how international students need support.

They make learning a language seem very easy, they create all kinds of activities, funny by the way. They have perfect words for help, and pay attention to my fears and joys. It is wonderful to meet people, excellent teachers, with a huge heart. All of them are committed to their teaching mission, always pushing me, cheering me. They always have one warm word, positive messages, like “Yes, you can do,” “You did it.” I think that is one important part of my experience with English. The International Training Teacher Assistant class was a wonderful time with Graduate international students. The people are so smart, incredible with challenges taking classes from master degree or Ph.D. program.

English is not just a foreign language. I will try to learn more. It gave me new friends from Asia, Middle East, Africa and my Latin America people. Through them, I can see history, traditions, and other countries that I could’ve never imagined. It is an extraordinary experience. I believe my own challenges are overcoming the inner barrier.

The English book never explained how wonderful this experience could be. I am really thankful for this because now one tool for me is my own bridge. I’m continuing to learn, practice and find beautiful people.

For more good times. So, this is my English time!!!

About Angela Aurora

Angela Aurora works as a professor of journalism at the University of El Salvador. She has 25 years of experience in social research and higher education as both a director of the graduate school and a general director of the university. Aurora is interested in studying social media and the impact of news on people’s behavior. She has also done research on how media information has impacted people’s lives. During her time as a Humphrey Fellow, Aurora wants to produce a virtual magazine focused on journalist research, scientific journalism and education.

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