Improving English skills in the US at North Seattle College – Sultan Alofi
“The other students, the Seattle community, and my teachers were very nice and kind to me even when I couldn’t speak English at first.”
North Seattle College is located in Seattle, Washington in the United States. The school has a student population of over 14,000 students of which 900 are overseas students. Students attend North Seattle as an entry point to other universities around the country. With small class sizes, personal attention, a strong English as a second language program, and numerous partnerships with four-year universities throughout the US, North Seattle is a popular school for international students who wish to improve their English language skills and study in the United States.
North Seattle College offers small classes with great professors and lots of support, along with a safe and friendly campus where students can meet other international students from all over the world, as well as students from the United States.
- Anne Forester, Associate Dean of International Programs, North Seattle College
SchoolApply interviewed Sultan Alofi, a student from Saudi Arabia, who is currently enrolled in North Seattle College’s Intensive English Program (IEP).
NORTH SEATTLE COLLEGE
Location: Seattle, Washington (USA)
Student Name: Sultan Alofi
From: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
IEP Completion: Spring 2018
Favorite class: I will choose my Listening/Speaking class because we get to chat with each other, the teacher gives us interesting subjects to talk about and we also do many interesting activities in class. I like it when we talk about other cultures –we tell each other where to visit in our home countries and how people live there.
Favorite school event: Students of Color Conference. This is my favorite because I had the chance to meet students from other colleges and all of us were attending the conference for the same reasons. No one cared about color or race –we just wanted to have fun and make new friends. We learned about many different cultures through presentations and on the last day they showed us presentations on the different types of dance in various cultures.
Four words to describe North Seattle College: Legendary, Interesting, Beautiful, Educational
Tell us a little about yourself, in what places have you lived and studied?
When I first came to North Seattle College, I was 18 years old and I was in Level 3 of North Seattle’s Intensive English Program (IEP). Now I am 19 years old and I have moved up to Level 6 of the IEP.
I am from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After high school, I didn’t speak English at all but I applied to one of the top universities in Saudi Arabia. The first semester I almost failed. I couldn’t complete my second semester because my biology, chemistry and physics classes were in English. This is when I convinced my father to allow me to travel to the US as an international student to improve my English language skills.
How did you hear about North Seattle College and what made you decide to study in the United States?
Even as a child, I was interested in American culture. When I watched American movies, I liked what I saw about the culture and natural environment. I came to the United States as I wanted to improve my English and I chose North Seattle College because my brother and sister were studying here also.
Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university? If so, how did you overcome them?
I did not have problems settling down here. Actually, I didn’t expect life to be as easy as it is here! The other students, the Seattle community, and my teachers were very nice and kind to me even when I couldn’t speak English at first. They kept supporting me. Everyone said: “Just do your best and don’t be shy or worried because no one could speak English at first and everyone had to study the subject at some point.”
What are you studying at North Seattle?
Right now, I am completing the Intensive English Program which teaches English reading, writing, grammar, and listening and speaking skills. When I move forward to college classes, I might choose computer programming as my degree because I’m interested in making games. I’d like to make my own games and I think in the future, there will be jobs in Saudi Arabia in this field.
Do your current studies support your interest and talent? If so, how?
My teachers here at North Seattle College always say we can be whatever we want to be, no matter what position in life that gives us. This amazed me because some people, unfortunately, will think some types of jobs are embarrassing. However, the teachers here are very supportive in whatever you might want to do in your future professional life.
What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student in the North Seattle College IEP program?
I like to go to coffee shops and speak with older people. If you want to improve your language skills, it is good to speak with the locals and I realized that older people will take the time to talk to you more.
I like the lakes in the area, and you can even go there to do your homework when the weather is nice. If you have a chance to go to a conference, I would recommend that you do that, as you can learn a lot. I like all the activities the school organizes. I remember last summer, we had a school picnic and it was great because we met students from Japan there.
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What were your first impressions of North Seattle College?
I was so excited because it was a new experience. In Saudi Arabia, we don’t have mixed classes with females and males, so that was interesting and different. Before my first class, I was very excited and I was curious how the year would be for me. Before I arrived at North Seattle, I thought it would be hard for me because I am Muslim, but I was shocked because no one here cared. People were nice and kind and always wanted to talk and chat. In Saudi Arabia, people are more private, but here, people have no problems with chatting and discussing various topics.
Do you take part in any extracurricular activities at North Seattle College?
I go to the gym on campus to work out. I also participated in a diversity conference and I really recommend everyone go do this. I thought I would be lonely, but I met many people from different international programs and they were all very friendly and nice.
How has North Seattle College prepared you for life after college?
There is lots of homework so we can practice and improve our skills to be ready for college. If you aren’t ready, they will make sure you study enough to be prepared.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at North Seattle College?
Here you will find many friendly teachers and other people who will support you socially and academically. I like the facilities, like the gym, and all the activities organized on campus. I would really recommend that students take advantage of all these things when they are here.
My advice to other students is to work hard and good things will happen to you –just try your best!
Apply to North Seattle College today by viewing its SchoolApply profile page and submitting your application.
About the Author: Muneeza Kizilbash grew up in the United States and Pakistan and was active in her university’s International Student Council. Now settled in Dubai, she loves to inform, educate and entertain her readers through her writing.