My LTS Experience
For an international student who has never lived in a foreign country before, who is a mother of three daughters, and who has not been in school for eight years, beginning the program was scary but eventually turned out to be the most wonderful rewarding experience. Through the two years I spent in the program I learned and experienced a lot through being in an encouraging friendly environment.
My first term in the program was scary and very challenging but my teachers were so supportive and provided me with guidance about how I can meet my courses’ requirements. After that, it was easy for me to take responsibility for succeeding in graduate school with all the scaffolding we have in the LTS program.
Besides the great amount of academic knowledge I learned in different courses, I had the chance to be in different teaching experiences through teaching in Yamada Language Center, leading the Arabic Circle in the Mills International Center, and different internships. My first internship was in a second year Arabic class. It was so helpful because I was not familiar at all with this context – teaching Arabic in a foreign context. It also prepared me for teaching my own class at Yamada. The second internship was at Center for Applied Second Language Studied (CASLS). I worked with my friend on creating online Arabic reading and listening lessons for students learning Arabic. It was also a great experience of creating language-learning materials.
My third and last internship was in an English Oral Skills 1 class. It was surprising for me how it is possible for communicative interaction to take place in such a beginner level class. There were a lot of opportunities for students to communicate and express themselves with what language they had. What was challenging and interesting at the same time was to prevent myself from using my L1 (Arabic) that I share with some students especially because it is difficult sometimes to use English all the time with novice learners. However, I succeed in that and learned how to find ways to communicate with the students. This experience was so rewarding and I will always remember the first time I was teaching in that class and how all the students there were so supportive, participated, and interacted very well with my instructions.
Finally, I highly encourage any international student thinking of joining the program to apply. The program is designed very well to help students accomplish their teaching goals, and there is a great friendly international community at the University of Oregon.
Wedad is 2015 graduate of the LTS Program from Saudi Arabia. The title of her MA project is Implementing Communicative Language Teaching in Saudi Colleges’ English Preparatory Programs.