Beyond Expectations: The Success Story of Waed Abuzant


Waed Abuzant was born and raised in Nablus. She studied Elementary Education at An Najah University. After graduating in 2013, she did an internship with a communication company. Waed began her experience with TYO as a volunteer in the Core AM program for 2 years before becoming a local intern and a student in the STEP! II EFL program.

What was your experience learning English in school and in university?

In school, I started studying English in grade 5 and continued to study until I took the final exam called tawjihi in high school.  I had a private English tutor to get ready for the final exam during 11th and 12th grades, but my ability to use English to communicate was not very good. During university, I took 3 English courses and my language skills got a bit better.  The first course was easy and I was able to strengthen my skills and do better in the other 2 classes. English classes at the university were taught through lectures with the teacher reading and translating the material for the students. During EFL class at TYO the teacher used interactive teaching methods and my vocabulary, writing, reading, conversation, and translating skills improved.

What motivated you to sign up for TYO's EFL classes?

In addition to leading the academic program with other local interns, I participated in the intensive STEP! II EFL program. I wanted to develop better skills in English because English is important for finding a job. I also knew that the teachers were native speakers, so they would speak the language naturally and no Arabic would be used in class. This is a good thing because students were used to speaking Arabic, even during English classes. Since the teacher made us only speak English, even during a break from class, there was more practice.

What was the greatest impact of EFL classes for you?

I now accept English more than I did before signing up for the class. Before I enrolled, whenever I saw English words, I couldn’t understand. Now I can read and understand the meaning. I never expected that I would be able to speak in English and now I am proud of myself that I am able to speak English. I want to continue to study English because I am good, but not excellent. I want to be excellent and achieve more of my goals. When I hear native speakers talking, it is hard to understand because they speak too fast. I will continue my studies so I can understand native speakers better.

Where are you now in your career trajectory and how is the STEP! II EFL program helping you get there?

Now I am looking for a job where I can teach grades 1-4. I want to find a job in Nablus and the EFL program is helping improve my skills for work. If I want to apply for a job, they ask if I know English. Even as a teacher, even if I don’t want to teach English, I must know English. English is needed because many private schools have native speaking teachers, so the teachers must speak English to communicate with each other easier. The EFL program is improving my language skills, which will help me get a job.

What advice would you give to youth English language learners like you?

People who want to learn English should take the EFL course at TYO. There is nothing to be scared of in the classroom. Everyone is coming to class to learn. If there are students with many English skill levels in the same class, the teachers may focus on the higher level students instead of the lower level students.  Classes at TYO are taught according to level and the students in the class have similar language skills, so weak points will addressed and overcome as a group. Teachers focus on what students in the class need and can help everyone improve because of the similar skill levels in the class.

Waed is a student in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program, which is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

Interview conducted by Lindsey, the International Internship and Fellowship Coordinator, and translated by Rawan, Women's Empowerment Program Assistant.