BridgeEnglish Denver sees many students walking though its doors. Some stay for only two weeks, leaving before actually getting to know many of the teachers, and some stay for three, six, or even twelve months, becoming our friends and part of our daily lives for the duration. The day of graduation for these students is bittersweet. There is crying and laughing and a lot of picture taking, and then they are gone, maybe to never return to the United States. However, thanks to the internet, Facebook and Skype, we can all stay connected all the time (how did we ever survive without the internet?). I personally check my Facebook page everyday to see what my former students are up to and how they are getting along with their new English skills.
In this article, we are focusing on three very special students who recently graduated from BridgeEnglish Denver and I have stayed in touch with all of them. They wrote to me to tell me about their lives post-Bridge. They are Akira Yamazaki, Takayuki Tamura and Emerson Luiz. Akira and Takayuki both studied for three months and Emerson was here for one month. I asked each of them the same questions:
1. What have you done since leaving Bridge?
2. Has your experience at Bridge helped you in your life? How?
3. What are your plans for the next year or so?
4. Have your improved English skills helped you with your job, opportunities, etc.?
All three students were gracious enough to take time out of their busy schedules and respond to me.
Akira Yamazaki (Japan): I’m pretty busy in Japan right now. I’m working at my previous job after having come back to Japan at the end of February. After Bridge, I went to another school to study English in San Francisco and then back to my country. I’m going to go back to the USA (Wichita) at the end of April or the beginning of May. Since I’ve been back in Japan, I’ve been working and getting all of my documents together for a work visa in the USA. I know that my experience at Bridge will help me a lot for when I return to the US. After I graduated, I felt so much more confident about my English and now that I am coming back to the USA, I am happy that I have the confidence to start a new job where English is the main language. In the next year or so, I will be living in Kansas working at our office there and then, in May 2013, I will return to Japan again. After that, I hope to be in charge of my department and receive a promotion. While living in the US I hope to study lots of things about America and gain more experience working at my company. My English skills have definitely helped me thus far. After all, I was asked to return to the USA to work there, so I must speak good English! Because of my English training, I was able to stabilize this new position in Wichita and after living there for a year I am sure more doors will open up for me because, by then, I will be even more fluent in English. As a personal goal, I want to get a Harley Davidson after coming back to Japan in 2013.
Editor note: Since this article was written, Akira has moved to Kansas and apparently bought himself a wicked Dodge Charger. Maybe as a warm-up for the Harley.
Takayuki Tamura (Japan): After returning to Japan, I continued studying English to improve the score of my TOEFL test. But unfortunately I didn’t score over 60 points, which is what I needed to become a candidate for the MBA program. However, all of the hard studying was not useless because I scored 785 points on my TOEIC test in January 2012, which was great! I had never scored over 600 points until that time. My listening score especially improved, 400 points. That score is approximately 90% of the total listening score. I believe this high score is due to the fantastic teachers and splendid experiences at Bridge. My new English skills have helped me very much. I am able to respond to phone calls from English speaking countries and am also able to read e-mails and articles in English much faster than before. In the next year or so I hope to work in a foreign country or in a department in my own company where English is required. I will also continue to study English to compete for the MBA program again.
Emerson Luiz (Brazil): Since graduation at Bridge, I have been working at my company, BASF South America, for the Technical Support team in Hygiene Products. I speak English everyday at my job doing conference calls and writing emails and other documents. The experience I gained at Bridge was very valuable because, at Bridge, and in Denver, I was able to speak with natives all day everyday. The new skills that I gained were being able to write better, listen better and understand key words better. In the next few years, I plan to return to university to obtain my MBA in project management at Fundação Getúlio Vargas in the city of Guaratinguetá in São Paulo State. Lately, I have been traveling a lot for my job to various countries in South America and I use English when I travel. My time at Bridge was great and I still keep in touch with many of my friends and classmates that I met when I was there. I believe that because of this experience I will be able to continue to improve in English and further my career and gain more opportunities. Even though I was only at Bridge for one month, I learned a lot and spoke only English. Plus, I made some great friends.