For millions of people, learning to speak English is a gateway into the global economy. As emerging change-makers, English language proficiency offers CCI participants access to information, education, job skills, and the shared communication that is shaping the 21st century—this is why the CCI Program places a strong emphasis on enhancing participants’ English language skills.
Although CCI participants come to the United States with the ability to speak English, for most, English is not their native language. That is why during their exchange year CCI participants studying at U.S. community colleges take full advantage of the opportunity to immerse themselves into learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) through their college courses and American cultural experience.
Three 2017-2018 CCI participants studying at Valencia College already have a lot of thoughts about their English language studies in the United States.
For Meytty Pattikawa of Indonesia, she says learning English in the United States has really rounded out her understanding of the language. “The classroom activities for creative writings are very helpful,” she says, and learning about the ways grammar rules can change has challenged her to see “the diversity of using English.”
South African CCI participant Matome Modiba said he used to hate English classes in high school, but now he’s enjoying the experience because he’s been encouraged to incorporate humor and casual language into his writing. Ivorian participant Mesmer Doue echoed Matome’s endorsement of U.S. English classes saying, “The way I am taught English [at Valencia] is really professional and purposeful. Each course is linked to another for the learner to better acquire knowledge … You’re not only learning grammar or writing, [English learning materials] opens you to more knowledge and experience.”
CCI alumna Axelle “Stephanie” Amani from Cote d’Ivoire also weighed in on how the English language has enhanced her life. “Learning English has opened doors and opportunities professionally and personally for me that I never even thought existed in the first place. I’ve met amazing people from all around the world who greatly contributed to broadening my perspective … And for that, I’m incredibly grateful.”
Just last year, Stephanie collaborated with three Fulbright English Teaching Assistants to organize an event in Cote d’Ivoire to help local students practice their English language skills.
For CCI participants and alumni, completing the CCI Program with enhanced English language proficiency acts a springboard to make a difference. By having access to shared communication, CCI participants can truly make a difference in the lives of people in their home communities and the world around them.