Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) students in both the academic and community English programs have been working hard all semester to learn more about the English language and American culture, and Thursday they were recognized for their efforts during a graduation ceremony and reception.
“You represent courage to me for leaving your countries, your families, your home,” Cory Northern, assistant director at CESL, told the students. “You have enriched the lives of every person you have met here.”
A total of 75 students were honored during the event.
"She is now an outgoing person. It’s helped her confidence and ability to speak to other people.”
Some students, like Gabriela Otalvaro of Colombia, will return to their home countries to continue their education. Others will continue improving their English skills in the CESL program or begin their degree programs at OU.
“I learned many things, and my English improved a lot,” said Laura Fernanda Ruiz, also from Colombia. Ruiz plans to continue in CESL’s academic program next semester.
Fatimah Mahdi AlNajrani of Saudi Arabia will also be back after completing her first semester with CESL.
“I learned a new vocabulary,” she said, adding that she wants to continue her higher education and get a master’s degree.
Her husband, Ali Alsagoor, an OU health and exercise science junior, said CESL has helped his wife come out of her shell.
“She is now an outgoing person,” he said. “She was shy, and it’s helped her confidence and ability to speak to other people.”
While a few of the students are returning to their home countries, 15 of the students are moving on to begin their degree programs at OU/CIDL after completing CESL’s OU track.
The OU track, which is part of PACS bridge programs that includes Sooner Jump Start, CESL and CIDL, allows students with lower TOEFL and IELTS scores to attend OU after completing the program by preparing them for academic and American culture, as well as language skills.