Moving to a new country and learning a new language is a challenge but going to Imperial Valley College and having instructors connect with students in a positive manner can make all the difference.
The English as a Second Language program teaches how to communicate, read and write with proficiency, and helps engage students and teachers in a multicultural environment.
IVC’s ESL Department is comprised of five different levels of courses, which include listening and speaking, grammar and composition, reading, and review courses. The goal is to help students learn the English skills necessary for communicating with others in their community, in college, or in a job.
“As a teacher, my main focus is on communication and also instilling confidence in my students that they can use English to communicate successfully,” said Dr. Sidney Rice, Chair of the English as a Second Language Department at IVC.
As a Department Head, she does a lot with curriculums so she is constantly looking at the classes and looking at what the community needs, and creating programs that will help the students be successful.
“This year we have our non-credit program which we rolled out and we have four classes and two certificates students can do which integrates reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and basic office work for the students get skills for their jobs or get a degree,” Rice said.
The testimony of two ESL students shows how IVC takes care of them. Many of them had the courage of leaving another country and the college is the conductor to succeed.
Hector Solorzano, 37, has come a long way from being an ESL student to getting his Master’s Degree in Spanish and now being a part-time faculty at IVC.
“It’s been almost 20 years and I was a Spanish speaker and we didn’t have Netflix that helps students learn English. But I’m thankful to some teachers who are my friends who gave me the push to achieve my dreams. IVC was a steppingstone into what came next,” Solorzano said.
For Solorzano, adapting himself to a new culture was a challenge. He started to read, watch tv to learn how English was spoken for him to move on.
“At IVC I understood I was not alone since I saw people like me in this road and saw people that came from the same place as me and struggling with the same issues that I had,” he said and continued, “From a young age I wanted to be a teacher and I took from each them what I wanted and what I didn’t want to be.”
Solorzano says students need to lower those emotional barriers that tell them they can’t be successful so they can achieve many things academically.
Rosa Araujo, born in Sinaloa, Mexico, arrived in Imperial Valley in the year 2000 after getting married.
“I enrolled at IVC two years ago but because of COVID, I had to take it online. I know my English is not perfect and I need to improve and learn more vocabulary and improve my pronunciation but I know that with time and practice I can achieve it,” Araujo said.
She credits her teachers for helping her improve her communication and listening skills and aspires to have a master’s degree in Spanish and work in communication.
IVC understands COVID has been extremely stressful and financially burdensome for students and families. The college wants to encourage you to continue your education without the financial stresses. That’s why the college is offering free tuition to students. In addition, if you plan on attending IVC full-time (12 or more units), you will receive $800 to assist in the cost of books or other educational-related expenses. If you’re attending part-time (3 to 11.5 units), you will receive $250. These amounts will be paid for each semester attended (Winter and Spring). For more information, you can go to http://www.imperial.edu/free.