Chen Zhuang, from the TESOL program, spent the summer teaching adult ESL at the Pui Tak Center, which is affiliated with the CCUC (Chicago Chinese Union Church). Chen taught as part of his practicum and internship courses. The class was high-intermediate and the textbook they used was Step Forward 4 by Oxford. Chen’s class had 17 students, aged from early 20s to late 70s, which added a lot of fun to the classroom.
According to Chen, “The front row of the classroom was designated to “grandmas” and my cooperating teacher and I called it the “Grandma Row.” I had to devote special attention to them and it helped create great opportunities for ministry. For example, sometimes they would ask me to help them with their cellphone bill questions, and I could share my testimony with them after helping them out. I really enjoyed my experiences at the PTC!”
As a TESOL student, Kevin traveled to Costa Rica for an internship this summer. Most of his time was spent in the classroom at La Palabra De Vida in the San Antonio/Belen area. Kevin taught a wide variety of topics including: essay writing, reading strategies, literary techniques, grammar rules, reading comprehension skills and even a couple of slang phrases to his 10th and 11th grade students.
Kevin also led daily devotions and engaged in spiritual conversations with students as he sought to be an ambassador for Christ. While living with a host family that spoke limited English, Kevin was able to be a part of their neighborhood Bible study where his host sister, 7th grade Abigail, helped to translate!
According to Kevin, "When you’re stretched because you’re in a new place and those daily escapes we’re so accustomed to having are no longer there, the LORD allows you to depend on Him more. When it is hard to communicate for something as simple as food, you learn that we are all foreigners in a strange land. When something as simple as air conditioning and a conversation in English are no longer available, you feel very hot, alone and misunderstood. I realize that I have learned how to trust in God’s comforting hand more than I do in earthly comforts.
Of course I have learned more about what it means to be an educator, but the beautiful thing about being away from home is to realize that Heaven is my true home. I enjoyed my fellowship with Costa Rican believers. I also enjoyed being able to experience a new culture, new foods and meeting new people. But most importantly, I’ve learned that meeting with God and one day walking intimately with the Lord Jesus Christ is my prized aspiration."