The following is a reflection of Michael, who participated in a 9 month program through The Union Gospel Mission’s Serve Seattle program as a classroom assistant at World Relief.
When I first started at World Relief it was very daunting to have so many people who spoke very little English and spoke languages that I knew very little about. I came into this internship thinking that I would be helping all these refugees learn English and other life and job skills. But I was surprised when I realized that I was also learning a lot from these people.
It has been amazing to get to see the progress that they have made in their English speaking and reading skills. To a native English speaker it may not seem like much, but I know that going from learning letters and numbers and basic words to being able to speak and write complete sentences in English is a huge accomplishment. Some of my favorite memories have been taking the students on bus trips to Goodwill. Being able to interact with them outside of the classroom has been very impactful for me. Just being able to talk with them and helping them on their English skills makes me proud of them.
The most rewarding aspect has really been the relationships that I have developed with both the students and the staff here. Arriving at the classroom each day that I am here, I am always greeted by several of the students, all who know me by name now. Now arriving at the end of my time here, and the start of a new adventure I can look back and say that helping people from so many different countries and cultures learn English (among so many other things) has been an experience that I will never forget.
Michael is just one of many people that have invested time into building relationships with ESL students at our on-site classes in Kent, WA. If you would like to volunteer as a tutor or class assistant, we would be glad to have you join the team! For more information, visit worldreliefseattle.org/eslclassroomassistant or email firstname.lastname@example.org