Joelle Begic has a really fun laugh and I miss it. Since she changed positions here at BridgeEnglish Denver from the front desk to the administrative office, I don’t get to hear it that much anymore, however, I was able to catch Joelle during a break and ask her a few questions about her new job and about Bridge in general.
Joelle is actually married to a Bosnian so she definitely can appreciate how important it is to learn English. Imagine if her husband didn’t know English. She might not even be married! But he did learn English just like all of the students that come to BridgeEnglish Denver. Learning English can expand your horizons and your opportunities and Joelle is a part of the first steps in that process. She is admissions coordinator at the school, so basically she is the first person the students talk to upon arrival and even well before that. She handles all of their paperwork and files.
Joelle’s job is by no means easy – having to be able to communicate with speakers of other languages can’t be a simple task – yet she somehow manages to get all of the students’ forms and information filled out. She definitely knows the importance of the English language and she has the enrollment list at BridgeEnglish Denver to prove how increasingly popular it is to start learning it.
AB: Joelle, tell me about yourself.
JB: I am the admissions coordinator at BridgeEnglish Denver. I started out being the administrative assistant at the front desk and then changed positions earlier this year. I really like admissions because I am on my toes everyday dealing with agents and company sponsored students and online enrollments and walk-ins. It’s busy all the time. I register all of the students here for classes. It’s a lot of paperwork. I also do all the initial files and make sure they are all qualified to come here.
AB: What do you like about your job?
JB: The people in the office are really fun to talk to. When I first got hired, I was a little nervous because I wanted people to know that I have a sense of humor and I am not a really serious person. I didn’t have to worry much because everyone is so great and we have so much fun. Everyone helps each other a lot and I have gotten to know a lot of the teachers and they are pretty awesome. It’s fun getting to know students from all over the world. Having an everyday interaction with a multinational group of people is really special.
AB: What’s the most challenging part about your job?
JB: Well, communicating with the students is challenging because they are here to learn English so some of them are total beginners with barely any English education. I have to talk to them like I would talk to a child so they understand what I am saying. I rephrase things and paraphrase and use different words and use a lot of hand gestures and body language. I also use eye contact and whatever else I can use to get the information across. If they really don’t understand, then usually one of their friends comes along who speaks better English. Also, I am a pretty antsy person, so sitting at my desk all day is hard and I try to walk around a lot and visit with people as much as I can.
AB: Why do you think English is so important to learn?
JB: I think it’s important because English is the universal language and every country is trying to incorporate English into their culture. However, knowing any second language is important and I know it is good for your brain to know a second language. For example, I am married and my husband is from Bosnia. I have two kids, an 8-year old boy and a 6-year old girl. They understand Bosnian but English is their main language. My husband’s mother talks to them in Bosnian and they understand it but then they respond in English and she doesn’t understand them! I would like for them to speak Bosnian since they have the opportunity. But it’s amazing that they understand Bosnian even though they don’t speak it fluently.
AB: Do you have any success stories that you would like to share?
JB: I have gotten a few success emails and I have gone to a few graduations. I know that students really enjoy it here because a lot of people tend to cry when they leave because, well, we are awesome! I mean, I would cry if I had to leave here too!