By Monica Morandi (Italy)
My name is Monica, I am from Italy, and I was a member of the International Center in New York for three months in Spring 2011. I have been asked to write about my experience at the Center and I do so with great pleasure. I owe the staff and the volunteers very much, and this is a great occasion to express that.
Before I arrived in the United States in March 2011, I had studied English only in Italy and during a few weeks in London on vacation. As a result, my English was more or less sufficient in grammar, but still very lacking in speaking. The International Center helped me to broaden my vocabulary, fill some gaps in grammar, and definitely to improve my oral skills.
I am grateful in particular to two people: Sharron Davis and John Hunt. Sharron, a teacher of the structured classes, has since become my closest friend in the city. John was my conversation partner and the one who first corrected my pronunciation to make it more understandable. He had been long accustomed to dealing with foreigners and their accents, and fully understood my difficulty and my needs. He was extremely patient and supportive, and helped me make a further step: keep studying the English language in order to achieve total fluency. I am now enrolled in an ESL school in Manhattan. Because of what I learned at the Center, I was put in the most advanced class, Accelerated Academic Skills.
I intend to work in the international sector where, of course, an excellent knowledge of English is required. The International Center filled a very important step in my path toward fluency. I know that it has a long history of achievements, as thousands of people have improved their skills studying there. I hope it will continue helping newcomers, as it did with me, for many years to come.