Arthur Altoé: Student Interview
Name: Arthur Altoé
Country of Origin: Brazil
Native Language: Portuguese
Graduate of Intensive Bridge Program, Level 7
Where are you from originally, and for how long have you lived in Canada?
I am from Brazil and have lived in Canada for 7 years.
When did you complete the ESL Program? Which program/level? For how many semesters were you an ESL student?
I was an ESL student during the Winter of 2013, and I completed level 7.
What degree did you complete after attending the ESL Program?
I completed a Bachelor of Engineering degree.
How was the transition from being an ESL student to your undergraduate/graduate degree at Memorial University?
Transitioning to University is never easy. However, the people I met while I was an ESL student definitely helped me with the transition. It was comforting going to classes and knowing that I already knew some people.
How did the ESL Program help you?
Before completing the program, I felt comfortable with my reading skills, but I had no experience with academic writing in English. The program provided excellent guidelines on how to research, paraphrase, and cite. It taught me a basic framework of academic/professional writing that I use to this date.
Do you feel that attending the ESL Program helped you improve your Academic English skills? Why?
Absolutely! Before the ESL program, my English learning was mostly focused on vocabulary and basic grammar (verb conjugation and how to phrase questions and answers); not so much on how to produce an essay, report, etc. The ESL program filled that gap.
What did you like the most about the ESL Program?
The immersion was my favorite part of the ESL program. Before moving to Canada, I studied English for a few hours a week only. I went to class, got some directions, and studied on my own. Half of the time the instructors clarified things in Portuguese, so it was hard to stay focused on the language that I was trying to learn. In contrast, the ESL program at MUN is very immersive and the instructors are attentive. I was in class every day for several hours and the instructors only spoke English. In my opinion, this is the only way to make significant progress while learning a new language.
From your experience, why should students consider attending the ESL Program?
To improve/learn academic writing skills. Although I studied English as a second language in Brazil before moving to Canada, I did not feel comfortable using it to write in an academic setting. I was never taught how to write essays, reports, etc. This is particularly important for any student going through University. In fact, I think every student should take an academic writing class – even if English is their first language!