Today at work w…

Today at work we taught English to an intermediate class. For those reading this blog who don’t know where my internship is, it is the Center for Healthy Aging. We work with elderly Bosnians and I work specifically on several health related programs that they hope to have up and running soon. But today was intermediate English class day, which basically means having a conversation with students. It was hard for me to grasp this way of learning a language at first…no lesson plan…no structure…just conversation. I felt like we weren’t really helping them learn English to be honest. The way we learn in the United States is just so different. However, this is they way they do it and it is what works best for them so that’s all that matters, right? Well today I realized something else that comes out of these conversations. When the class was over, one of the women (who is definitely struggling a bit more than the rest with her English-speaking) came and plopped down on a chair next to me and began telling me a story. I’m going to be completely honest…I could not tell you what this story was about. There was an egg and some chicken movements, but other than that I was lost. But I could tell she just wanted someone to listen, so I did. I listened and laughed when she began to laugh, nodded my head, and tried to follow along as best I could. The end of the story must have been funny because she started laughing and looked so happy, so I laughed along with her. Then she grabbed my hand and shook it and said thank you and that she would see me next time. I realized after this that she probably feels the same way when I go off on a tangent that she can’t follow very well…but the interaction itself is what matters. Just having someone sitting there listening, paying attention, and just being there as a companion means so much to these people.

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