Student Stories

  • Here are just a few of the many success stories of our students at the American Language Institute.

    Adel Albalushi

    My name is Adel Mohammed Albalushi. I am a student here at IUP, and I work at IUP also. I work at three places: the American Language Institute as a student advisor and translator, the Office of International Education, and the Catering Department as a student manager. My major is Hospitality Management. I attended the American Language Institute before I started taking IUP classes.

    Adel Albalushi at FallingwaterI am from Saudi Arabia. My native language is Baluchi, my second language is Arabic, and my third language is English. In 2005, I decided to come to America to take an English program within one year. I spent a year in the ALI and I felt like I improved a lot, and I felt like I’m ready to go to college even here in the U.S. I decided to go to IUP to continue my undergrad. I’ve been working at the ALI for a year and a half.

    What is the ALI for me? Well, without the ALI, I couldn’t speak English like this. I took a lot of intensive classes, I passed all the levels here. I always wanted to speak fluently. I do recommend the ALI. Most of the teachers here, some native speakers (NS), some non-native speakers (NNS), are all from the English Department getting their M.A.s or Ph.D.s. You can tell that all these teachers are studying and doing research at the same time and applying knowledge in the ALI. And the students are learning a lot, improving a lot.

    Two of my sisters and a brother came to the ALI with me. We all studied together at different levels. We studied together, we did everything together. It was fun. All of us learnt English in the ALI here at IUP. Both of my sisters graduated from IUP, one is a Ph.D. student now in Florida, another a Ph.D. student in England.

    I am going for my master’s degree, and I continue working in the ALI, share my experiences, help all of the international students adjust to college life here. I’d like to thank Dr. Dan Tannacito for all his support and advice.

    Samah Elbelazi

    Samah ElbelaziI am Samah Elbelazi from Libya. I came to ALI before I was admitted to the Ph.D. program. I wanted to be closer to the English Department to meet graduate students and professors from Composition and TESOL program. However, I discovered that ALI was a brilliant start for me and the best decision I have ever made regarding my graduate study.

    In the first semester, I was allowed to write a research paper about using technology in ESL classes because technology was extensively used in ALI classes. I learned about many students’ cultures, and this experience helped me to look at teaching a language from other perspectives. Furthermore, the qualified teachers in the ALI provided me with a chance to see how teachers from different countries teach differently. During the summer, I observed and collected research data about the practice tutoring ESL students in the intensive English context as a professional preparing for the graduate program. By that time, I was admitted to the Composition and TESOL doctoral program.

    The ALI was more than a language course, it was a professional preparation to undergraduate and graduate program, especially for students who do not have experience in American lifestyle and teaching system. The ALI prepared me to discover American life and the newest teaching strategies in my field as English teacher. I feel very proud about my experience at the ALI.

    Seonmi Do

    My name is Seonmi. I am from Korea. I have been here almost one year. I am in Blue group now. I started in Orange level. Last semester, I took some Math classes from IUP. I plan to take more IUP classes and get a degree in IUP. I think ALI has given foreign students a lot of benefits. ALI gives us an opportunity to travel.

    Teachers in the ALI are very close to us. We can get in touch with them easily. ALI has a few different nationality teachers. In my case, when I have problems, Steve (Korean teacher) helped me so far. I can use my native language with Steve, so I felt very comfortable. This semester, I am taking grammar classes, conversation classes, and use help of a tutor in the ALI. Some teachers help me get ready for TOEFL test, they helped me with writing. Thankfully, they give me their time.

    Yan Lin

    I am Yan Lin and I am from Taiwan. Last semester I was a full-time ALI student in a White group, and this semester I passed the TOEFL test and I became a Bridge student. It lets me take IUP classes and ALI classes now. I was accepted to IUP and I take two classes from IUP: World Politics and American Politics. I major in Political Science.

    Yan LinThe reason why I stayed here, in the ALI, for the full semester is because I knew my English is not enough. I think the classes are very helpful here. I went to each class, completed all the assignments on time, and paid attention in class. Another important thing I made friends with my classmate. She is from Japan. She is not a native speaker, but she is very helpful for me. She is a good student, her pronunciation is very well. She is better than me in terms of knowing vocabulary and pronunciation.

    After a semester in the ALI, I can read much faster than before. Secondly, I am not afraid of speaking with Americans. In one of my classes, we had a very positive teacher. She wanted us to go and interview any person in the library and record ourselves. Day after day, I heard my recording. It was easy to find the improvement in vocabulary, speaking tone, and so on in the end of the semester.

    How to become successful? Just go to class and pay attention, finish assignments. There are reasons why teachers get us to complete this or that assignment. Don’t complain. Just do it. Every teacher here wants their students to be successful. They will not tell you wrong things or make you unsuccessful—it is just impossible.