English as a Second Language Students Flourish

by Myra Saturen
October 01, 2013

When Milena Woloszyn, age 20, came to the United States from Poland three years ago she knewMilena Woloszyn some English but questioned her skill.  Her father had immigrated thirteen years before, and Milena, her mother, two sisters and a brother decided to join him in 2010.  Gaining confidence in English was very important to Milena, and she began taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes soon after her arrival. 

Rena Finley arrived in the United States in 1992, having been an accountant in Israel.  Already speaking some English, she took a job as a customer service representative and Hebrew-English translator at Newark Airport.  An illness piqued her interest in a health care career, and she decided to improve her language skill by enrolling in ESL classes at NCC Monroe. 

Both Finley and Woloszyn, have made enormous strides, placing out of the ESL classes into English 101 after only two semesters, a remarkable accomplishment. And, with their fluency and self-confidence boosted, both women are now embarking on exciting roads to new careers.  

"The ESL program helped me in many ways," Woloszyn says.  "I feel more comfortable communicating with people in English.  Also, I've met a lot of people just like me who doubted their English skills but the ESL program helped us a lot."

When it came time to transfer out of credit ESL and into English 101, Woloszyn again felt nervous qualms.  "I didn't think I could do it, but the NCC teachers helped me to believe in myself." 

Now, Woloszyn, a diagnostic medical sonography major at NCC, looks forward to completing her associate degree in the next two years and starting a career in her field. 

Finley is working toward her RN through NCC's nursingRena Finley program, taking four demanding courses--English 101, statistics, speech communication, and biology.  Her drive to succeed landed her on the Dean's List last semester. "None of this would have happened if not for the ESL program," she says about her success. "The ESL program taught me to be confident.  I feel like a different person now, someone who can write an essay, know how to say what I want to say correctly," she says.

Not that it is easy, Finley says.  Taking credit classes requires an adjustment from studying ESL alone.  For instance, she has had to focus more on managing her time. She also avails herself of tutoring at the College's Learning Center.  "Things are rolling along and going well," she says.  "I feel sure of myself." 

Maria Batista Abreu, the ESL Monroe program's facilitator, reports that the program, as well as its students, is thriving.  "More and more community members are calling us to join ESL credit classes," she says. Levels range from beginner to advanced and include reading, writing and speaking.   For more information call 570-620-9221, ext. 232 or email



To review Northampton Community College's guidelines for public comments, click here

© Northampton Community College 3835 Green Pond Rd Bethlehem, PA 18020 610-861-5300