The conversations ranged from favorite foods to movies, pets, jobs, family and plans for the future. And when words didn’t suffice, pictures were drawn, and gestures got a bit bigger. But we all seemed to understand each other.
Six volunteers went to ICAT today—a school for adult learners, much like our community colleges or technical schools. We met students who are studying English and wanted to practice their conversation skills. It was a lot of fun for us, but probably hard work for the students since our English accents were acquired from Texas to Ohio.
We learned that speaking slowly and clearly was helpful. And pointing to pictures helped get our points across. But by patiently listening, we built a connection with the students and learned about their lives.
Gabriela from Cozumel wants to learn English because she has friends from the U.S. Astrid says her children are learning English in school, so she wants to learn, too. And David works in a restaurant in Cozumel. Speaking English may help with his future work.
While the students say they learned from us, we learned from them as well.
“It was just a joy,” said Treva from Texas. “I certainly got a lot out of it.”
Will is also from Texas and said “I wish I lived down here. People are so nice to talk to. I wish I knew some Spanish so I could help them more with their English.”