By Hayley Spire, Chattanooga, Tenn.
The International Office has added a new ESL coordinator to
Anna Savary was born in Poland and since then has lived in many countries including France, Italy and now the United States. With a degree in linguistics, Anna has always been interested in learning and teaching languages. She had previously worked as a teacher and an interpreter while living in Italy before taking the job as the new ESL coordinator at UTC.
“I came here [Chattanooga] in January this year, just to have a feel, to figure out if we wanted to move here or not and we liked it so much we moved the next month,” said Savary.
Anna speaks Polish as her native language and English and French at home. She also speaks Italian from the time that she lived and worked in Italy.
“In Poland, we are aware that many people don’t speak it, nor are going to learn it so learning new languages starts very early,” said Savary. “The first language is at 5, second at 12 and very often a third one in college, so that’s what I did. I started English when I was 5 and 6, then French at 12, then in college 2 years of Spanish.”
“I have always enjoyed working with students, when I was a student myself I was a part of a rising student network that was a student organization that takes care of international students, so that’s where it all started,” said Savary. Anna accepted the position of ESL coordinator at UTC, where she will be assisting in an Intensive program for international students who want to improve their English so that they can study in the US.
For international students, there is a TOEFL test which scores the student on his or her ability to listen, speak and write. This proves that their English is good enough to take classes in the US and that they will be able to participate in classes and be able to do their assignments.
“This program prepares them for studies in the US, and we hope that they like it so much that they will stay at UTC,” said Anna Savary.
UTC now has students from all over the world including Asia, Middle East, Europe and more. Many people even have moved to the United States because their families have moved here and they need to improve their English.
Anna is very passionate about helping international students. She encourages American students who would like to be involved in events with international students to keep in touch with the international office. Savary said that the university definitely wants their international students to mingle a bit and experience Chattanooga fully.
International students are encouraged to meet, and get to know American students and their surroundings rather than stay in their dorms together. They are here to experience the real thing, learn about the American culture, how things are done here, and they don’t always understand everything so the university really counts on American students to help international students in this transition.
“At the moment we do not have a mentor program for international students where American students are mentoring international students, but hopefully in the future that is something that we can do.”