Student Spotlight

Janet Shiau

ESL Spotlight - Janet Shiau

Meet Janet Shiau. She is an international student from Taiwan and started her journey at Fullerton College in Spring 2019. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Advertising and Graphic Design.

Before taking ESL classes, Janet says that she had a difficult time expressing her opinions both in conversations and in her writing assignments. “In ESL classes, there are many chances to talk to my classmates and share our opinions,” she says. “My ESL classes help develop critical thinking skills and help me a lot to communicate with others. I’ve become more confident to talk to my classmates and professors in other classes.”

Aside from completing her academic program, Janet plays for Fullerton College’s Tennis Team and enjoys watching Korean dramas.

Posted February 2020

Sangjoon An

ESL Spotlight - Sangjoon An

Meet Sangjoon An. Originally from South Korea, Joon started taking classes at Fullerton College in spring 2019 as an international student. He recently finished his ESL 186 class with Professor Tiangco and wrote his research paper on various push and pull factors that influence North Korean defectors.

He talks about the strategies he learned in his ESL classes. He found that he developed critical thought and logical reasoning while writing his essays and participating in class discussions. He says, “Writing essays is a tough task, but it’s an effective way to learn English. We develop our writing skills and critical thinking at the same time.” His advice to future students is to be patient and dedicate themselves to the class activities to get the result they want.

After Fullerton College, Joon is planning to transfer to UC San Diego with a major in bioengineering. In his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer and reading books on philosophy.

Posted December 2019

Roula Shahin

Roula Shahin

Meet Roula Shahin.

Roula is originally from Syria and moved to the United States four years ago. She started taking classes at Fullerton College in 2017, and this semester, she is taking ESL 186 with Professor Cain.

“ESL classes have helped me improve my academic writing, reading strategies, and critical thinking.” She also talked about how her ESL classes helped her gain confidence and communicate in her job and personal life. “I’m really grateful to the ESL department and all my teachers for their constructive feedback to develop my learning skills.”

Roula practiced both civil and commercial law back in Syria. Once she finishes the ESL pathway, she hopes to pursue a career in a similar field in the United States. Her advice for future students is to manage their time wisely and pay attention to their professors’ feedback. She added, “Don’t give up! Learning from mistakes is an important part of success.”

Posted November 2018

Manuel Laverde

Manuel Laverde

Meet Manuel Laverde. Manuel moved to the U.S. from Colombia two years ago. Since then, he has been pursuing his education at Fullerton College. He has taken several ESL classes and is currently taking ESL 190 with Professor Navarro.

Manuel credits his ESL classes for building his confidence so that he is more able to participate in his other classes. He says that his confidence has opened up many opportunities that allow him to accomplish his dreams. One of those dreams is to pursue a degree in music performance and composition. He started playing the piano early in his life, and he enjoys the classical works of Bach and Beethoven. He said, “I am very grateful to the ESL department and the professors for contributing to my learning process and helping me to achieve my dreams.” His work in his ESL classes earned him the ESL Student Achievement Award at last spring’s Humanities Division Tea Awards Ceremony.

Posted November 2018

Jazmin Zapien

Jazmin Zapien - ESL Student Spotlight

Meet Jazmin Zapien. Jazmin moved to the United States 18 years ago. Last year, she started taking ESL classes at Fullerton College. “I have been living in this country for many years, and it took me a long time to decide to go to school. But once I attended, it turned out to be the best experience in my life. I enjoy every single class that I take because the more I read and practice English, the more interesting everything around this language becomes. The ESL Program has helped me improve my communication skills very much, and I have gained a lot of confidence in my job, with my friends, and my family. Thanks to my knowledgeable professors and my personal effort, I will be able to advance my career and be a better citizen.”

Jazmin uses her improved confidence at her job in Disneyland. “When I started working, my English language skills were very limited and my confidence was low.” Before, she used to memorize answers to common questions, but through her hard work and experience, she is now more able to communicate confidently with customers and coworkers in English.

She gives advice to future students. “I recommend that ESL students read, write, listen, and speak English as much as possible. Immersion will speed up English comprehension. Even if you feel sometimes that it’s very hard, try to do your best and don’t give up. Every lesson you learn is an achievement.”

Posted July 2018

Apisara Vairojanakich

Apisara Vairojanakich

Meet Apisara Vairojanakich. Apisara is originally from Thailand. She is currently taking ESL 190 with Professor Cain.

Apisara talks about how she is able to read and understand articles faster and more effectively than before because of the reading strategies she has learned from her ESL class. She is also now more confident when she presents in front of the class because she gets plenty of speaking practice in her ESL class.

She advises future students to manage their time well so that they have plenty of time to work on their writing assignments and the lab activities in the Skills Center, which she finds very helpful. In addition, she encourages students to get to know their classmates and make a lot of friends.

Apisara’s plan is to complete her general education classes and pursue a degree in health science at a 4-year university.

Posted May 2018

Esther Lumbala

Esther Lumbala

Meet Esther Lumbala. Esther is originally from the Congo. She had lived in South Africa before coming to the United States in 2014. A year later, she started taking ESL classes at Fullerton College. She said, “The ESL program has contributed a lot to my academic career.” She mentioned how her ESL classes helped her pass a history class that she took during the summer session in 2017.  “Because of my ESL classes, I can understand class readings and write my essay assignments more effectively.”

Esther advises all ESL students to “never give up no matter how challenging it can be to learn a new language.” She says, “I am so grateful to the ESL department and all the teachers for all their effort for our success.”

Esther is currently in Cypress College’s Culinary Arts program. She has also been working as a line cook at a senior living home. She hopes to graduate in 2019 with an AA degree and advance her career in the culinary and hospitality industry.

In her spare time, she sings with a choir and performs gospel music with an African community church in Los Angeles.

Posted April 2018

Robert Moshi

Robert Moshi

Meet Robert Moshi. Robert has recently completed the core ESL sequence and is currently working on his transfer credits for a degree in Biology.

Robert recalls his first semester at Fullerton College. He said, “When I joined Fullerton College, I was very shy and did not speak much English, but everything changed when I enrolled in my first ESL course … Because of the kindness of the faculty members at Fullerton College, I am now a very different person than what I used to be many years ago as a student. Thank you for inspiring me to keep going no matter the difficulties in life. I used to think that because I am financially poor, I would not go anywhere in higher education, but this changed when I started learning that nothing is impossible if I work hard on it.”

Robert also has some advice for future students. “I would like to encourage all ESL students to use all the helpful and free resources on campus such as the Writing Center, Tutoring Center, and the Skills Center. I would also tell them to never be embarrassed about starting a conversation with a faculty member. Speaking to someone you do not know in a language you do not fully understand can actually be a great step in improving your English. One of the greatest ways to study English is by finding a study partner, someone that is going to motivate you to learn together every day. Stay positive and don’t speak negatively about yourself.”

After Fullerton College, Robert hopes to transfer to UCLA and finish a bachelor’s degree in Biology.

Posted April 2018

ESL Department Awards

Each spring semester, the ESL Department presents achievement awards at the Humanities Division Tea and Awards Ceremony. This special event gathers faculty and family members as we highlight the outstanding work of our students in their classes.

ESL Achievement Awards

The ESL Achievement Awards are given to outstanding students who are making exceptional progress in mastering English as a second language.

  • Katherine Flores Salguero
  • Nhu Huynh
  • Edgar Nunez
  • Salma Tabbaa
  • Xiaoyu (Ray) Watts

ESL Research Writing Achievement Award

The ESL Research Writing Achievement Award recognizes an ESL student who has shown excellence in research essay writing.

  • Thi Hong Dzien Vu