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International News | November 22, 2017

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What ESL Academy Students Bring = Unique & Valuable

What ESL Academy Students Bring = Unique & Valuable

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| On 21, Jan 2016

ESL Specialists Encourage International Students’ Viewpoints

Heun (Ann) An
Home Country: Korea
ESL Academy, alumna, Pre-Engineering/Computer Science

When Heun An received her undergraduate degree in International Relations from a university in her home country of Korea, she wondered what should be her next step. Heun was serious about developing a rewarding career in the computer industry and, at the same time, she felt a tug from her classically artistic side. While visiting her mother in China, where her mother was studying Chinese grammar, Heun received advice from “my mentor”, one of her mother’s American friends.

“My mentor encouraged me to visit Denver and feed my artistic passion,” said Heun. She researched universities online and decided that the University of Colorado Denver’s ESL Academy was indeed “where I needed to focus next.”

Fearful that her English would not be good enough for admission into the ESL Academy, she worked on improving her English prior to a Skype interview with one of the ESL Academy advisors. She was accepted at Level 3, began her studies in Denver, and proudly graduated from the ESL Academy after successfully completing Level 5.

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Heun An’s artwork

“I have been so busy studying, I have not yet had time to paint,” explained Heun. “But I am counting on painting Colorado’s enchanting landscapes soon.” Heun has also recently entered a pre-engineering program at CU Denver with an intent to focus on computer science.

 

The ESL Academy Experience

Heun gave high praise to her learning experience at the ESL Academy; she felt that the English instruction was “outstanding” and the teachers’ personalities “surpassed my expectations.”

As part of Level 5, students must research, write, and present a 10-page paper on a subject of their own choosing that is relevant to their field. Heun’s selected topic, Cloud Computing and Personal Data Safety, was a difficult subject. She appreciated how the ESL specialists brainstormed with her about the paper, helped her shape thoughts in English, and encouraged her creativity. “They did so while always respecting my choices,” she said.

They also brought humor to their meeting and brought out her own sense of humor, according to Heun. She learned to “be funny and to understand American sarcasm,” which is sometimes considered impolite to use in her own culture. Most noticeably, she explained, the teachers had “no doubt that what the students were going to bring was unique and of value.”

At the ESL Academy, Heun met many people from different countries and she learned to ask about their culture and perspectives; she gained confidence and was “not afraid to be caught asking the wrong question to the wrong person.”

“I also enjoyed all the activities with the ESL Academy,” said Heun. The teachers took the international students to a recreational theme park, horseback riding, to the circus, and to a ladies night out event.

She found that the ESL Academy “opened their arms to everybody” and really helped the students.

“I am now an art lover and, by the way, an art maker,” said Heun. “Art has no barrier nor does ESL. The ESL Academy gave me the freedom to follow what I liked.”

Learn more

For more information about the ESL Academy, visit: esl.ucdenver.edu.

To learn about International Admissions, visit: internationaladmissions.ucdenver.edu.