Interview with the BridgeEnglish Academic Advisor

What is the purpose of academic advising at Bridge?

In our experience, the more personal attention that an international student receives, the more likely he/she is to be successful learning English and using the language to reach future goals.  When a student knows that there is an individual at Bridge dedicated to ensuring student success and someone who is available to help them navigate the complicated world of living and studying in a foreign country, it allows the student to focus on learning English, which is the most important part of the student’s time at Bridge.

Bridge Academic Advisors meet with the students on a regular basis to monitor their progress and check satisfaction with their program in general.  Advisors are also available to help resolve any problems or answer any questions they might have outside the school.  Students know from the moment they arrive that there is someone looking out for their success, safety, and happiness during their time at Bridge.

How do students at Bridge know who their Academic Advisor is?

The very first day that students arrive to Bridge, they are assigned a personal academic advisor during orientation.  The students are introduced to their advisor and an initial advising session allows the advisor to learn a bit about the students’ backgrounds and goals for their time at Bridge.  The advisor and students exchange contact information such as phone number and email address to make communication as easy as possible.  Advisors are, of course, available during the school day for any questions or concerns that may arise.

How often are advisors available at Bridge?

Bridge Academic Advisors are available everyday, throughout the day, for walk-in appointments when they are not meeting with another student.  Students can also use the sign-up sheet in the Advising Room to schedule a private advising session during specific hours each day.  Many times advisors are able to assist students via email or Bridge’s online class messaging program, Engrade.

What are the most common requests from students?

Student requests are varied and the advisor’s role extends far beyond the walls of the language center.  Academic questions or concerns are typically centered around the student’s program at Bridge or future goals related to using English for work or study.  Students often ask their advisor to assist with correspondence to university admissions offices, academic advisors at embassies, or human resource personnel at the student’s place of work.  This often involves an assessment of the student’s progress with the language or providing documentation related to his/her program at Bridge.

As an international student living in a foreign country, there are a multitude of other issues with which a student might need advice or assistance.  These requests can range from finding a suitable daycare or doctor’s office for children to advice on where to spend a long-weekend.  All advisors are also Designated School Officials in the US Government’s SEVIS program, which issues I-20’s for student visas.  This allows advisors to assist students with all matters related to their legal status as international students in the US.

Above all, Bridge Academic Advisors want to make students feel as comfortable as possible at all times and feel as though they are part of the Bridge family from the moment they arrive.  Students know that if they have a question about teachers, books, classes, university placement, entertainment, transportation, or a personal matter that simply requires a good listener, their advisor is there to help.