NMIC’s free course offers immigrants a safe space to learn a new language.
Not being able to speak English creates a multitude of challenges for new immigrants such as applying to college, asking for directions, or honing-in interview skills. There are nearly 2.2 million New Yorkers who lack English language proficiency. NMIC actively seeks to ease the transition into learning a new language while creating opportunities for clients joining the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course.
“One of the wonderful things about ESOL is seeing all of these people with different educational backgrounds coming together to support each other,” says Jason Bocko, NMIC’s Academic Coordinator. According to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) all 5-boroughs have significant documented and undocumented immigrant populations, and their backgrounds are just as diverse as their countries of origin.
The increasing negative rhetoric and portrayal of immigrants has overshadowed the ‘American Dream’ that most of us pursue. “Two of my grandparents were born in Italy and came to the US not knowing English and had a rough go at it. Both later became teachers – and I think in some way my work honors their legacy,” says Jason.
Winnifer Sanchez is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and is enrolled in an ESOL course here at NMIC. When asked about her motivation for increasing her English language proficiency, Winnifer explained, “I live in NYC and a basic skill if you want growth. I want to go to college and open new doors and opportunities.” Learning a new language as an adult can be a difficult process, Jason explains that the trick to teaching a new language is “not to over correct. The goal is to communicate, not to speak like Shakespeare – so unless they ask, I never correct them while they are speaking. As a teacher, the last thing you want to do is discourage participation in exchange for perfect speech.”
Like Winnifer, most immigrants recognize learning English is the gateway to being able to pursue their dream. “I want to study Marketing and to work in a creative field like fashion. I have a color (pauses) …creative brain, so I’d like to be able to use that.”
“If I can do it you can do it too…. do it now, don’t wait – don’t think too much about it… just do it!
To join our ESOL class, call us at 212-822-8300.
SOURCE: Mayors Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA)