Employability Skills through English and Cultural Exchange
The English Class has been a cornerstone of Enlace Project programming for years. It has evolved into a steadfast program whose principle goal is to provide students with valuable skills for new employment opportunities. The English class also facilitates cultural exchange and expands Enlace Project’s network in El Sauce and beyond.
After arriving at the beginning of the year, our annual intern, Matt McClure has since transitioned into his role as instructor and manager for both levels of the English class. Our new intern, Jesse Bennett, is currently training to replace Matt. In the beginning of April, we welcomed Maria Alejandra Pastora onto the team as an assistant instructor for our first level class. Maria Alejandra started studying English at Enlace Project nearly four years ago. A year ago, she volunteered in first level and discovered her love for teaching. She says, “I specifically like working with the students at Enlace Project because they really want to learn English. With their drive to learn English, they are going to improve their lives. These people are the future of our country.”
The Enlace Project English School uses an autodidactic methodology that prioritizes self-study outside of regular class time. The program seeks to provide our students the resources and tools to advance toward their goals in their study of English and new employment opportunities. In the last few months, we renewed our focus in guiding our students in their study of English outside of the classroom including regular homework assignments, individual feedback, and new resources for independent learning. With these strategies, three students have already moved from the beginner to the advanced level class in the last two months, and many more students are approaching their exams to pass to higher levels.
We are also beginning to bolster our employability skills training to prepare our advanced students for the job search process, including resumes, cover letters and interviews, as well as improve our students’ professional English in emails, phone calls, and interpreting. Enlace Project staff also connects students with possible employment opportunities and supports students during the application and interview process. Our past students have found employment in tourism, interpretation, custom service and teaching as well as receiving scholarships to study abroad. For example, one of our current students named Luis Ramirez received an English teaching position on Saturdays in a nearby city. As Luis says, “I didn’t have a career or any idea about my future, but I found them both here at Enlace Project.”
As always, the classes are looking forward to visits of groups from the United States to have a chance to interact with native speakers inside and outside of the classroom. As Camilo Narvaez says, “We interact with native speakers from many places in the United States. We learn about their different experiences and hear many accents.” Our focus on employability and oral practice with native speakers makes our rigorous class ideal for motivated students. “My goal is to communicate with people from other countries,” says Meybol Castillo, who recently passed to the advanced level class. “If I study everyday, I know I can achieve my goal.”
Do you have a question about El Sauce or Nicaragua that you never had the chance to ask? Now is your chance with Ask a Sauceño! Just email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or message the Enlace Project Facebook page and we will ask members of the Enlace Project English School. We will post some of the questions and answers on Facebook so we can all learn a bit more about El Sauce! We look forward to your questions!