by: Raphael Edou, Benin
I am Raphaël Edou, former minister of climate change…in Benin. I have Master of Science in Agronomy with more than two decades of experience in community development, environmental protection, microfinance, business administration, and leadership. Before, I could not understand immigrant’s challenges in my country until I become one of the United States immigrants and known better the role and importance of agencies which support newcomers in their adjustment to new culture.
Even though I had certain level in English two years ago, it was hard to communicate fluently in this country where I must work to support my family. Therefore, learning English constituted a priority, and consequently, I went to Indy Reads for improvement and could be accepted at level 6 of the Program for Intensive English which has built my advanced skills in English. I am overly excited to share my four month- satisfied experience, skills and benefits I have gained, and my advice to people looking for [a] place to enhance their fluency.
First, I would like to express my gratitude to my excellent teachers and the team of the PIE for the scholarship which allowed me to learn for four months resulting in my English proficiency credential. As a student of the PIE, I have felt comfortable and glad for being part of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis [IUPUI] community… I have been astonished of the participative approach implemented by patient teachers who carefully understand my weakness, encourage, and support with relevant courses and materials for better knowledge of English rules. Over the weeks, I have realized my incremental development in Grammar, Speaking, Listening, Writing, and Reading along the learning process. Currently, I have become comfortable to apply for jobs which require high level in English because the PIE has built my capacity. I am proud of this training program.
The benefits and skills I have gained during my journey at this English learning program covers many aspects of my dream in the US. Without hesitation, I write my emails, cover letters and resume and indicate in my job application that I am fluent in both speaking and writing. In addition, I get my [English Proficiency] credential which proves required skill for graduate program whose application I have started already. The fact that I have already some skills in project management such as designing, assessment, budgeting, and implementation in French, my current level in English is going to open many doors.
For example, before the program, I could not apply to proposal writer jobs and now it is possible, therefore, I can leverage my previous experience that covers a broad aspect of development and will be a great asset for success in job market.
The PIE could not understand the significant impact of the program on the rest of my life.
Other benefits are the ability to write my capstone project prior completion of my Executive Master’s in Business Administration in September as well as on social media to actively interact with people. Furthermore, I have from Asia, Europe, America, and Africa many friends integrating my international network, and it may be possible to visit them in the coming years.
My good experience and satisfaction at the PIE which I am sharing can help someone who is looking for a school to learn English. The PIE has developed a lot of frameworks which allow student to practice English in various ways. For example, there is a free tutoring session for assisting students on problems their encounter in English learning. Teachers help me a lot on comma rules, the common pronunciation mistake made by French speakers, and they provide many resources. One of the academic activities I liked was the field trip to the Indiana History Museum which immerges me into Indiana culture over centuries and learn also how to report a real event. In addition, I interact with my peer students beyond my classmates through the PIE Student Association which mobilizes all the students of the program.
I have accomplished the most important goal of my life in the US at the PIE.
I am glad and joyful to feel confident to have my job interview in English or interact on social media with my friend around the world. Even though, learning is a long process, I have acquired over four months the necessary professional level needed to open many doors. PIE is really a bridge between our native language to a new culture in which newcomers wish to thrive and far-reaching their dreams.