Why come to the English Center?

  By former Executive Director, John Tang, Ph.D.

People sometimes ask me, “What is it about the English Center that makes it such a desirable place to come and study?” I can go through a long response that highlights a litany of seemingly canned phrases used to promote any number of programs like the English Center. However, the reality is that there is no one definitive argument that can be made for why the English Center is right place to come for anyone. In fact, each student –and staff member--will find something different that will endear the English Center to him or her.

For some students it will be about the quality of the classes. Not only are the English Center instructors competent and caring, but the small class sizes they teach enables each student to get special attention. For other students it will be about the wrap-around supportive services, which include everything from support for college entrance applications to placement into jobs. For still others, it will be about the wonderfully diverse cultural environment at the English Center that features students from over 40 different countries. And lest we forget, there is free one-on-one tutoring, and a constant stream of extracurricular activities.

While there may not be any one reason for why students come to attend the English Center, there is definitely a core construct that defines the English Center. It’s the loyal and committed staff that defines the English Center. Our staff members are talented and could choose to work in any number of organizations. However, they chose the English Center because of what they found at the English Center, and what they found was a nurturing organization that allowed them to grow and to become a better version of themselves.

The English Center features a wildly creative staff and includes individuals with many different talents. There is an English teacher who is also a licensed yoga instructor. She regularly holds classes for English Center students and staff. The Director of Programs at the English Center was once a chef at Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse restaurant. Other teachers have been competitive salsa dancers. Attracting creative teachers makes for a creative learning environment.

The English Center isn’t simply about the quality of the Intensive English language programming. It is also a place of holistic growth. Come and “find yourself” at the English Center. I know I did.

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