Every year, Marshall welcomes new students from all over the world. According to statistics from the main office, students come from 97 different countries. The administration simplifies their transition process by helping them adjust to the school environment.
“We help them adapt to the new surroundings,” registrar Elizabeth Barrand said. “[When] they register, they often need a language translator, so we usually get somebody to help with language translation.”
Barrand said the school also tries to encourage every foreign student to join clubs or activities that may interest them based on their individual ideas and hobbies. Culture-based clubs offer a sentiment of familiarity to students coming from other countries.
“Our diverse environment makes adapting a simple process,” Barrand said. “Some ways Marshall helps international students feel at home is by offering many cultural clubs.”
Foreign students who lack proficiency in English have to go through an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. The aim of the program is to help international students develop language proficiency and content understanding in ESOL-adapted subjects.
“[As an ESOL teacher], my role is to establish a proper academic knowledge that will assist [the students] during their mainstream classes,” ESOL teacher Anne Marie Stratos said. “The difficult part is meeting the needs. Not all of the students have the same level of attention or basic requirements […] I try to make things understandable through visuals, gestures and encouraging them to work in groups.”
Stratos said she is aware of the difficulty of meeting all of their students’ learning requirements. After a county-wide change in the ESOL program, international students now have to take both ESOL and English classes.
“Previously, students had to reach a certain level of in-language proficiency in order to take a particular course,” Stratos said. “Right now, they have both ESOL and English classes combined and it makes the learning process for them difficult.”
ESOL teacher Sarah Smith said even though she agrees on the difficulty of meeting all of her students’ requirements, the rewarding part of her job is watching them grow and improve.
“I love all my students and the fact that they come from different places,” Smith said. “They all have different cultures and experiences, but at the same time […] everyone is the same. When you see them grow, it is very rewarding.”