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Students Build Cultural Skills While Strengthening Community


Students enrolled in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s English as a Second Language classes recently celebrated the completion of their service-learning projects.

A mix of Penn College students, from English as a Second Language classes and the School of Construction and Design Technologies, stand on the porch of a Habitat for Humanity home.
A mix of Penn College students, from English as a Second Language classes and the School of Construction and Design Technologies, stand on the porch of a Habitat for Humanity home.

The event included students’ speeches about what they learned during the projects and lunch with traditional food and music from their home countries. Students, instructors, administrators and representatives from community organizations took part.

The service-learning projects were part of ESL level 1 and level 2 listening/speaking classes. For the projects, the students went to various community locations on six Friday mornings at the end of the Spring 2012 semester to volunteer their time and talents.

In return, the students had opportunities at the sites to practice English skills, gain confidence communicating in English, and learn more about American culture through informal interactions and interview questions.

ESL students celebrate their final day with new friends at the Messiah Lutheran Senior Center.
ESL students celebrate their final day with new friends at the Messiah Lutheran Senior Center.

For their projects, Saeed AlAnazi and Ali Alshehri went to Messiah Lutheran Senior Center in South williamsport, where they interacted with seniors and learned from their years of experience. They also shared about the culture of Saudi Arabia, played cards and enjoyed Wii bowling with the seniors.

Alireza Sodayfi and Ali AlSakhin worked alongside staff and volunteers at the American Rescue Workers in Williamsport to help prepare lunch at the soup kitchen and package items for distribution to community residents.

A group photo at the West Branch School
A group photo at the West Branch School

At West Branch School in the city’s West End, Yousef AlYamani, Bassam Al Wayili, Hadar AlHujairi and Mahmmod Alhawsah taught Arabic to students and shared about Saudi culture.

Adnan AlHashim, Abdulrahman AlShammari, Hamad AlMarri, and Ali AlHujairi helped at The Academia, also in the Newberry section of Williamsport. They played and read with the children, assisted on a fishing trip and shared about Saudi culture with the children.

Ahmed AlDualij, Abdulrahman AlDebas, Houssain Shannier and Abdulaziz AlDhafeeri helped staff and volunteers at the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity with construction on two houses and with projects at the ReStore.

During the celebration, appreciation was expressed by many students and community organization representatives for the mutual benefits that were shared during the projects.

Photos provided by Jody L. Lantz, former ESL specialist, Workforce Development & Continuing Education

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