Jennifer Palacios, Ecuador

Pathway to Dental Hygiene

Dreams and Awards 

The journey for foreign students can be more difficult because of the barriers of communication. Thankfully, ESL professors take part in this journey in order to help their students to achieve their professional objectives.

My mother language is Spanish, but I adapted English as my second language into my life.  After seven years, I decided to pursue the associate degree in dental hygiene. In my case, the counselors recommended me to take three main prerequisites: ESL 184C, ESL 185C, and ESL 186C.

Later, I completed these three different levels. Professors and classmates prepared patiently extensive essays step by step. By the end of the semester, my classmates and I built incredible cause/effect, similarity/contrast, and research essays. In other words, these essays were ESL students’ dreams – dreams and thoughts that were embodied in their final presentation packages.

Surprisingly, I recently received incredible news from Professor Wada, who is my former ESL 185C professor. In the email, she informed me that Cypress College approved Milestone Certificates to current and former ESL students.

As a result, I felt a combination of feelings in my heart.  As a former ESL student, I felt appreciated, included, and even supported by the Cypress College community and my former ESL professors.

To begin with, the Milestone Certificate reflects Cypress College gratitude toward the hard work of ESL students and professors. During multiple semesters, ESL professors emphasize the importance of preparation as advance readers and writers to their students. For example, ESL professors demonstrate that they truly care for their foreign student’s performance in other future advanced classes such as philosophy, psychology, and sociology.

Similarly, ESL professors communicate in a very compassionate way grammatical errors to their foreign students. For instance, my ESL professors had a great positive attitude during every class. ESL professors understood their students’ difficulties [with] writing complete sentences, but they were always motivating their students to succeed toward their obstacles.

[T]he Milestone Certificate represents admiration for the hard work of the ESL professors and their ESL students in Cypress College.

Despite the fact that the award displays respect for the great effort of the ESL team, Milestone Certificates represent the inclusion of foreign students into the Cypress College community.

Foreign students go through the process of adapting to American culture by first learning English as a second language. In particular, one could say that a foreign student works twice as hard than their other classmates. ESL students continuously analyze a second language, and they have to learn to adapt to new ways of socialization in the American culture.

Although the barriers of communication are great obstacles, the tenacity of ESL students is amazing. Indeed, ESL students display determination in order to acculturate their personal lives into the American culture. Thus, Milestone Certificates demonstrate the incorporation of foreign students into Cypress College.

Beyond the determination of ESL students and professors, the Milestone Certificates demonstrate support to current and former foreign college students. These awards promote the acceptance of a diversity of cultures from all over the world in many classrooms. In fact, Cypress College is one multicultural community. To illustrate, in the ESL 186C class, my classmates were from fifteen different countries. Interestingly, Professor Simmons taught the students how intercultural communication is essential in this world.

Today, many of these students receive their awards as a symbol of great respect for their multicultural cultural backgrounds and their intercultural communication. I feel grateful for the acceptance and kindness provided by Cypress College professors toward their foreign students.

The word milestone denotes that a person has recorded certain number of miles in their pathway, or the proximity toward their major professional goals. I have finally recorded a milestone, which indicates to me that I am closer to obtaining my professional associate degree. Once again, I am thankful for the participation of ESL professors in each of their student’s academic preparation for their futures. In a similar way, I felt appreciated and included as foreign student at Cypress College.

Lastly, my message for current ESL students is that the academic journey seems difficult, yet an extensive second language knowledge is the best reward at the end of each ESL student story.