Arman Belyalov from Kazakhstan: Studying English at English as a Second Language (ESL) Services at the University of Texas at Austin

Arman Belyalov from Kazakhstan: Studying English at English as a Second Language (ESL) Services at the University of Texas at Austin

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

Today, USA is a leading country in education, having high ranked universities with very good programs, especially in engineering.

Why did you choose ESL Services at University of Texas at Austin?

The first reason for choosing ESL at University of Texas (UT) Austin was the ranking of the university among best universities of the USA. Another reason was a quick and thoughtful response from the International Office about the program, it’s outcomes and conditions of enrollment.

What do you like best?

My favorite part of my studies are the teachers, who don’t teach us just English, but really help us to understand American culture, lifestyle and way of thinking, as well as open our mind in terms of the global relationships. Another part I like very much is the student diversity, which gives a unique opportunity to get to know different cultures and people.

How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

I’ve been here for about 11 months now and I think that my English has improved drastically. I’m not a veteran yet, but not an absolute freshman anymore, and, certainly, I feel much more confident about my future study at the college.

What was your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise was and still is the style of teaching, which really motivates students to learn new things, strive for knowledge, think and analyze.

... your biggest disappointment?

My biggest disappointment is that I didn’t do this earlier.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

Mostly by working hard on improving my English in order to make communication with local people available as soon as possible. However, it’s not a really big problem here, because people are really friendly and national diversity is very big, so people are more or less used to accents and strange English.

... finances?

Since the U.S. dollar is the world’s most solid currency, it’s necessary to evaluate possible changes of your national currency, so you don’t have unexpected problems. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have some safe funds which could be used in such cases.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

This was the most difficult issue for me because education here is very different from the system in my country, so it took me time and quite a lot of effort to understand how it works. The library system is just one example out of many others such as conducting research, citing, and plagiarism for instance.

What are your activities?

There is a big variety of activities offered by our instructors, such as Talk Times, cultural meetings, getting familiarized with the American traditions and customs. For example, I had the luck to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with an American family.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It’s easy to find people sharing the same hobbies, listening to the same music, or reading the same books, for example. All one needs is English, certain vocabulary in their heads and, by and large, this is it! At the same time, you need to be ready for many questions and a lot of talking, because people here, particularly in Austin, really like to talk to each other.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

My personal goal is to obtain the newest and the most progressive knowledge, which would let me become a good professional in my field. English is a necessary tool on this path, because nowadays the vast majority of technical, as well as any other, books are being published in English, so this language gives an access to the best knowledge and the most advanced research.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

I would advise to be determined, brave and not to be scared of the possible hardships, because if you have a strong wish to develop yourself, this is the best country for that. Everything is possible, just try, go on and you will see the result.

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