*Lindsey is a 2011 graduate in English and Secondary Education.
Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa!
As you may know, South Africa claims eleven different languages as “official” languages of the country. English is typically the common denominator, and it is often the gateway to opportunity for people in South Africa.
While I am doing graduate studies in Education Administration, Planning, and Social Policy as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of Cape Town, I am volunteering at Scalibrini Centre, which offers refugees and asylum-seekers a variety of services including English lessons.
I have just concluded my first term teaching at Scalibrini Centre’s English school, which serves over 350 students at any time. In my beginner-level class, eight students completed the course with enough attendance to take the final exam, three of which passed with distinction and four of which passed with merit.
For each of my students, this is only the beginning of a long journey in learning English, but certainly one worth celebrating. The students, who come from countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Somalia, Malawi, and the Central African Republic, never go a day without thanking me for teaching them English, and I never go a day reminding them that there are plenty of people to thank for providing me the opportunity to do so.
That being said, we took a moment out of one of our last class meetings to do just that (see video below). Thank you, from me and from my students, for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime: sharing the language I love so much with people who value every single word beyond belief. Your support comes in many forms, from contributing financially, to being willing to share me with the world for a while, to inspiring me to dream bigger, to offering guidance when I need it.
There’s nothing like listening to them try out their new words with each other, and I know my life is changing before my eyes.