Lourdes Sandoval Amores, "Luly" from Panama: attends ELS Language Centers in Portland, Oregon.
Why did you decide to enter a U.S. summer intensive English program?
I want to get a better job in Panama. I know that Panama needs more bilingual people so the country can be successful in the world. I also love to travel, so knowing English is important.
How did you choose your summer English program?
There’s great weather here and Portland is a very safe and green city.
What did you like best about studying here?
The people in Portland. Everyone is nice and friendly. That includes all the teachers and staff at ELS. If I ever need help, I can ask them.
What did you miss most?
The food, and obviously my family and friends. But I know that this is a temporary experience and that I’ll be back in Panama soon. I want to enjoy life here in Portland while I’m here!
What was your biggest surprise?
Americans are very punctual. In Panama it’s OK to arrive late, but in the U.S.A. it’s important to be on time. It’s important not to be late for class!
...your biggest disappointment?
Nothing. I expected that everything would be new and different, so nothing is disappointing.
How did you handle:
I’m the only Spanish speaker here at ELS/Portland, so I have to speak English all day, every day. It’s difficult for me sometimes. But I know that it’s better to speak English now because I’ll improve quickly. I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve improved!
I haven’t had any trouble. Food is a little more expensive here, but shopping is much cheaper than Panama because there’s not tax!
...Adjusting to a different educational system?
In Panama, the teacher always speaks in class. In the U.S.A., the students speak more. I think it’s better because the students will improve quickly, however I’ve had to learn that it’s OK to speak in class. I’ve also had to adjust to smaller class sizes. At ELS there are only about 15 students in a class.
How did your English improve?
My listening has improved! So now I can establish a conversation with anyone because I can understand what they say to me. I like to talk, so it’s nice that I can have conversations now.
What were your activities?
I use the Concordia University gym to exercise almost every day. I talk with Americans and workout. I also love shopping and visiting new places in Portland. I’ve visited Mt. Hood and seen all the waterfalls around Portland. It’s a beautiful place!
How relevant was your U.S. summer English program to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I’d really like to be an international lawyer, and be able to start my own business. I want to build relationships between countries, so I must speak English.
What is your advice to other students?
When you make a decision, you should follow through with it. You must follow your dreams and live with no regrets. For example, I came to Portland because I’d dreamed about studying in the United States. My parents saved money so that I could come here. It’s an experience that I’ll remember forever.