Lasting Connections: How My Long-Term English Program Introduced Me to a New Community
A Long-Term English (LTE) program is one of the most helpful opportunities a Fulbrighter can be part of to improve their language, meet new people, become familiar with the education system in the United States, and to adapt to American culture before graduate classes start. As a new Fulbrighter, taking part in the LTE program was beneficial in helping me understand and appreciate many things. I was able to learn cultural differences, make new friends, participate in events in a new city, and be a member of the Student Council. This created many opportunities for me to contribute to the community and help arrange new activities for my colleagues.
When I came to the United States, I did not find learning American English hard, but this is because I received extra support. Once I was here and became part of the community, learning became so much easier. English is everywhere. I was able to interact with Americans at the grocery store or at the local coffee shop. I would read, listen to the radio, watch movies, or listen to podcasts, which would really enhance what I had learned during my LTE program. I think your growth really depends on how hard you want to work at learning the language, and I was determined to work hard.
My LTE program was in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The people at the University of Arkansas were amazing. They really made my LTE experience unforgettable. The classes are designed to help with all academic careers. They improve all four skills of the English language- reading, listening, writing, and speaking. For example, improving listening helps to understand lectures better and it also enhances notetaking. Also, improving speaking helps give more confidence to discuss, debate, and communicate in academic settings. This really helped me feel ready to begin my master’s program.
This kind of program is meant to improve your language skills, but it has a personal growth component too. Through this program, I became friends with many people from all over the world and learned more about other cultures. I was able to connect with such intelligent people, full of ideas and experiences different from my own. I learned to expand my creativity; how great it is to leave your comfort zone, and to be adventurous. I can’t forget to mention I also learned the importance of time and punctuality (ha!).
Being a Fulbrighter means the world to me. Prior to this, I had applied five times before being accepted. I knew how amazing and reputable this program was around the world and how life-changing an opportunity like this would be. For these reasons, I was so persistent! I now have the chance to enhance my academic study and share my culture with those around me. I absolutely admire all the people I met in Fayetteville. I will hopefully maintain these connections with them throughout the remainder of my program and for the rest of my life. I know I will be a different person after finishing this program, and it all started here, with this LTE program!
Khoshee is a Fulbrighter from Iraq who participated in a Long-Term English (LTE) program at the University of Arkansas. He is currently pursuing his master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas.