Spring Hill College Magazine
By Ashley Rains
“Bienvenido,” “Chào mừng” or “Hoşgeldiniz” may be more familiar, but for Mobile area adults learning English as a second language (ESL) through the Foley Community Service Center, a student-volunteer’s smile translates to “Welcome” as they enter the classroom.
Each year, more than 100 adults, many alongside their family members, take advantage of the Foley Center’s weekly ESL program taught and led on campus by Spring Hill College students. The Spring Hill students teach in teams on a variety of levels – ranging from beginner to conversational English – depending on an ESL student’s foundation when they come to the Center.
While the majority of ESL students natively speak Spanish, many are from areas such as southeast Asia, the Ukraine or the Middle East. For $5 per year, they receive not only instruction, but compassion from their Spring Hill student-instructors. Since families often receive instruction together, the Foley Center provides babysitting services during classroom instruction and mentoring and tutoring to older children who either have a firm grasp on the English language or speak English exclusively. Depending on need, there is often instruction given in Citizenship for those going through the application process to become a U.S. citizen.