My name is Yahui. Time flies, I have been in US for 10 years. I finished my Ph.D study in China and got a postdoctoral associate position in Worcester. I was taught English in China starting in middle school. But the English taught to me was mostly about grammar rules and I didn’t have chance to use it in conversation. So I found it was difficult for me to understand and communicate after I arrived here. I got lost during conversation or lectures. My spoken English was not well organized and it was a messy. I was also embarrassed and shy to speak because I felt others couldn’t understand me.
My mentor was Chinese, and we mostly communicated in Chinese unless we were with other lab members. My friends are mostly Chinese and I was occupied by lab work most of time and didn’t open myself to American society too much. As a result, I was making very slow progress in improving my English skill at that time.
With time, I realized that having good English communication skills was really important and a must-have for my work and daily life. I had limited myself in many aspects due to my poor English and lack of confidence in expressing myself. The poor oral English was a barrier for me to join in conversation. My weak reading and writing skills were also challenges for me. I needed to make it better.
At that time, my friend recommended to me the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester program. So I registered and waited for about half a year until the Literacy Volunteers assigned Ms. Melody Friedenthal as my tutor. We have been meeting once a week for more than 3 years. I am so lucky to have Melody as my tutor and also a friend. Thanks to Literacy Volunteers to care about the foreigners like us and give me the opportunity to learn English.
During the meetings, Melody teaches me English grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary and slang, etc. Our topics include but are not limited to US culture and tradition, history, movies, books, houses, art, technique and cooking recipe, etc. I have collected a very thick stack of teaching materials prepared by Melody so far. In addition, Melody often sends me interesting articles to read, shares some interesting stories with me, and corrects the mistakes in the letters I wrote. She also took me to some events and acted as my guide.
With the great help of Melody, my English skills (speaking, reading and writing) are highly improved and much faster than before. I am not afraid of expressing myself in English. I expanded my life outside of my scientific research. I integrated into American society much better than before. No doubt, my work and daily life have greatly benefited from my improved English.
I now have my green card and my English skills helped my success a lot during the application. Melody has already sent me lots of information and materials about being a citizen even though it is still years to go for me. I am very glad to meet my tutor Melody and appreciate her generous contribution and strong responsibility to my English study.
I am excited to see all the improvements. But I know I still have more space to move forward. I am glad Melody is still willing to teach me English. She is not only my tutor but also my family. I am very grateful to Literacy Volunteers for providing the fantastic opportunities for us.