Student Spotlight: Ali overcomes language barriers and homesickness

Student Life, Student Stories

Ali, a full time student at MLC, says he did not understand English at all when he arrived in the US. Now seeing him speak with fluency, it is hard to even imagine that he was a beginning English language student just a year ago.  “I literally didn’t understand anything at the immigration service when I arrived in the US, and I thought that I might need to go back to Saudi Arabia immediately,” Ali laughed.

Despite the language barrier, he decided to come to the US and study English for his future career. “In my country, proficiency in English really matters in order to get a good job. I contacted the University of Michigan Flint and they told me about this school.”

Although Ali is a very friendly and open minded student who enjoys learning and interacting with people, the first couple of months were not easy for him. “I needed to start from scratch about learning English, and catching up with the class was very hard at first. Besides, I felt homesick being away from my home country.” He said the family-like environment of MLC helped him a lot during that time. “Staff members and teachers are very kind and friendly. They check how things are going for me to make sure I’m doing OK. They treated me like a family member and I really felt like I had a second family here in Ann Arbor.”

Ali and his MLC classmates

Ali worked very hard to improve his English skills at school, but he also states that MLC is not just about learning English as a second language. “You can also have a real American life here. The school offers many activities and seasonal events that I have never experienced before.” He also enjoys talking with other students from diverse cultures and countries. “I made good friends here and I already feel like I have known them for many years!”

Ali is planning to pursue his studies at a community college and then transfer credits to a university in the US. “I am interested in the Engineering Science field, but not quite sure yet,” he said. We are sure that Ali will be able to succeed in whatever field he pursues!