William Spadaro from Venezuela: Studying English in the ESL Services Program at the University of Texas at Austin

William Spadaro from Venezuela: Studying English in the ESL Services Program at the University of Texas at Austin

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

Mainly because I have family around the United States, especially in Austin. And because my family and I agreed that the best way to learn another language is by total immersion, so that’s why I’m here.

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

I chose the UT ESL Program because it was recommended to me by my aunt and some cousins that studied here in the past.

What do you like best?

That the teachers are really friendly and helpful! They would answer every question I had and they always would give context and real-life examples when explaining everything, so this made learning easier!

What do you miss most?

My friends. Even though we are far away from each other we still communicate thanks to the internet! 

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

I studied in this program for two semesters, so I have been here for a year. My English has improved a lot, especially with the pronunciation. This program helped me improve my English in every aspect and with that I could take an English test like the IELTS and the TOEFL.

What was your biggest surprise?

About the education, that would be that I didn’t expect this program and other schools to have so many social events, and I’m glad they do! And about U.S. life is that everyone is really punctual.

... your biggest disappointment?

The biggest disappointment is that I didn’t see many cowboys walking around.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

Before coming here, I had a fairly decent English level so I could defend myself in a conversation, and if the other person didn’t understand me I would just explain it again in another way or show pictures of things that I didn’t know how to say in English. 

... finances?

I brought money from my country but that didn’t last very long, so I got a job on campus with the Division of Housing and Food Service and after that I worked for the International Office cleaning the ESL classrooms.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

It is true that this is a whole different educational system, but I was in another program that was similar to the UT ESL Program that was in my country, so I had an idea of how it would be.

What are your activities?

I participated in the majority of the social activities that this program offered, but the one that I liked the most was the Language Partnership Program because you could talk to Americans that were interested in your native language. There’s also a BBQ in a beautiful park, ping pong tournament, bowling, and many other activities that you can participate in every week!

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It isn’t so hard as long as you are conscious that you are in another country and that every country has a different culture, so be careful of doing something that may be offensive to Americans. Don’t be forced to change your culture but try to adapt and you will make a lot of friends!

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

In my country, there is no computer science program, so I would like to study here in the U.S. There is great lack of computer scientists in Venezuela and I would like to be one of the future computer scientists that make Venezuela a more technological and better place.

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

If you really want to learn English and have fun then come to the UT ESL Program and start making friends while learning! Also, my advice to you is that you should attend the social events because they are really fun!

University of Texas at Austin

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