Eager, Determined, and Capable: The Success Story of Adham Badran
Adham Badran is from a village near Nablus called Asira Al Qibliya. He recently finished high school in village and is now in his first year of studying English language and literature at Al Quds Open University. heard about Tomorrow’s Youth Organization from his older brother, who has been a volunteer and local intern at the Center. Adham was waiting to finish high school and start university to join TYO as either a volunteer or as a student in the STEP! II EFL program to study English. English is a priority at university and in his life, so he chose to study English instead of volunteer at this time.
What has been your experience learning English in school and in university before taking classes at TYO?
English education is not that good in public school. The program to study English is very weak. Everything in the school English classroom is taught in Arabic, including the curriculum and grammar. It was a big challenge for me to learn English because I had no support system in the language to help me. I tried to study as much as I could and used programs on the internet to help me understand what is going on inside my classes. Because of my hard work and determination to learn English, I got a high score on the big final exam called tawjihi. At the university, general subjects are required for everyone the first year. I have taken only one course in English and am signed up to take a second English course. It seems better than public school, but I still haven’t started any specialized English language and literature classes yet.
What motivated you to sign up for TYO's EFL classes?
I wanted to develop my language skills and personality by improving my networking and communication skills. If the EFL class is finished successfully, students receive a certificate of participation. A certificate is good to show I took extra courses outside of the required classes at university. These courses will help me in the future to find a job.
How would you describe your experience learning English in the STEP! II program? How is it different than what you experienced before?
Students in the STEP! II EFL program are learning English from a native speaker without an opportunity to hear Arabic in the class. This forces them to use only English language to communicate with the teacher. Thinking and speaking in English will help develop the language better.
The style of teaching at TYO uses activities and games to help students learn. It is not formal like what is done at university or at school where they only put information in your head with a lot of homework. The activities and games let the information get stuck in students’ heads. For example, we do an activity where all students stand in a circle. One person stays a sentence. The next person must say a sentence that starts with the same letter the last sentence ended with. This helps us to learn new vocabulary and sentence structure. Although we stay in class every day for 4 hours, we don’t feel time because we are enjoying ourselves and benefitting from the class itself.
What has been the greatest impact of the first few weeks of EFL classes for you?
I have learned so much new vocabulary. Every day I learn new words and my language skills grow. Having a native speaker as a teacher has helped develop my conversation skills and I’ve gained more confidence in speaking English. I also have gotten to know more people from other areas of Nablus. I met them in my class and now they are my friends and this encourages me to come to TYO.
What advice would you give to youth English language learners like you?
English is important in life and for a future career, so joining this course will be beneficial. The international teachers and the way they are teaching make a great class. One important thing is that these courses are free because most of the students, especially students in the villages, and their families cannot afford extra English courses in addition to studies at a university. Having free English classes with native speakers is an opportunity that people should take advantage of as much as possible.
Adham 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 Futoon, the Outreach Coordinator.