The National College English as a Second Language (ESL) program held a graduation ceremony on Monday, April 9. Four students graduated from the program, and twenty students received level completion certificates.
The $$ESL program was started in 2011 and offers students the opportunity to study English before continuing into other academic programs or careers. Students must complete six eight-week terms to graduate, reflecting fundamental English fluency.
Many academic programs require completion of an ESL program or a certain score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before accepting students into their colleges. During the graduation ceremony, students were encouraged to think of this program as just the tip of the iceberg in their academic and career journeys.
This is especially true for students like Oyuntuya “Vicky” Sanjjav, from Mongolia, who is currently enrolled in the ESL program. She began taking classes at the Roanoke Valley Campus a year ago, majoring in business administration. But when Vicky decided to switch to a program in the medical field, she needed to improve her English before having to learn difficult medical terminology. She hopes to continue on at National in the medical program and then enter into a nursing program.
Similarly, Saudi Arabian student Ahmad Alali just completed the ESL program and now hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree before continuing on to law school. He is the father of a new baby and plans to stay home next term so his wife, Marwah, can take classes in the ESL program too. Ahmad did not attend college in Saudi Arabia, spending his time working instead. But now he hopes to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. “I wasted time in my country,” he remarked. “So now I get to make it up.”
PHOTO: (l to r) Ahmad Alali and Vicky Sanjjav during the ESL graduation ceremony.