English Language Education offers welcoming space to international students

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CONTRIBUTED BY KATYA BABITSKAYA

English Language Education (ELE) supports international students in improving English language skills and adjusting to American culture.

A group of welcoming teachers and students from different parts of the world come together in the English Language Education (ELE) rooms everyday. A map hangs on the wall with dozens of pins pointing to all the different places ELE students are from.

For students from another country learning English as their second language, it can be hard to adjust to new cultures and connect with peers. The ELE program supports both new students from all over the world and students from previous years. It’s where students in similar situations can come together and learn in an environment tailored to their level of English proficiency.

Co-International Student Adviser and ELE English teacher Katy Frost describes the ELE community as a unified space.

“I feel we are connected in the sense of being within the classroom academically and also in terms of classroom community. The students are really friends, “ Frost said.

According to Co-International Student Adviser Betsy Davis, the teachers in ELE are devoted to their students and their learning.

“The teachers really work hard to create a community and help kids know what’s out there in the wider community,” Davis said. “For example, at the beginning of a student’s time here, one of our teachers will go through Canvas and the schedule and really help kids understand everything.”

While learning about American culture and what is expected in a high school in the United States, Davis said some ELE students make their closest friends in the program because they are dealing with the same kinds of transitions.

“It’s a nice place for kids to land when they need the support. They can meet others going through the same experiences and have a forum to talk about what’s going on and why we do things a certain way,” Davis said.

According to Frost, even though students in ELE are learning about culture in America, they still have the opportunity to teach others about their own cultures. The students are assigned presentations on their home countries to share with the other ELE students.

Sophomore Adam Alnajjar said he loves that he can express his own culture and learn about other cultures in ELE.

“The ELE community is a really good community and has a really good culture. It helped me a lot in showing my culture and learning about other languages and cultures,” Alnajjar said.

Davis believes that the school funding the ELE program sends out a positive message to all the international students, especially those new to the community.

“It says we value you. We want to help you with this transition into Brookline. You belong here, like anyone else,” Davis said. “We want you to evaluate yourself with all the resources and all the support that we offer and to feel a part of this community as quickly as possible and for you to be happy and successful here.”