Harper College

Student Testimonials

Linguistics students share their stories and experiences while studying at Harper College:

Patricia, TESOL student:

Gabrielle, TESOL certificate graduate 2020:

"When I started in this program I had just finished my undergraduate degree and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do next. As a lover of learning languages I knew I wanted to proceed down a linguistic path and this wonderful program allowed me to do just that. The TESOL program here at Harper made it possible for me to take a deep dive into the workings of linguistics and language teaching, without being so long that I felt as though I was falling behind. When I began I was a very shy and nervous student, but through all the different collaborative elements of this program I was able to strengthen my communication skills, organization, and public speaking skills. Being a student of the program and doing my student teaching during the pandemic meant that everything was online, however, there was always a strong sense of community within each class and open communication at all times despite the online format. Since getting my certification, I now have a wide range of job options at my disposal that span a large range of fields and allow me to travel. If you want to grow as a student, teacher, and person, then this program is for you."

Vladimir, LNG 205 student:

"Hey everyone! Just wanted to share with you a great course that I'm currently enrolled in over at Harper college - LNG 205 Language and Culture with prof. Pajtek . This 3 credit hour class is an introductory course that will teach you about the differences of language in genders, politics, the relationship between languages and cultures, dialects, accents, how languages are formed and how to properly understand why people talk the way they do. I like this course because it covers some very important topics: every one of us knows at least one language and is part of at least one culture, yet we know so little about them even though they define us so much as individuals. Does languages determine our thoughts and if it does, to what extent? Why do people have accents and why do certain people talk differently? Why is it that different social classes speak differently even if they live in the same location? Is there such a thing as Standard American English and should English be the official language of the Unites States? What is Ebonics - is it a language, a dialect or something else? And where in the U.S can you order a "cabinet" and get a milkshake? You'll be surprised how much you already know and how different people's opinions are about such topics. You will also be surprised about how much you don't know due to misinformation!

Linguistics is a relatively young field of study and it deals with very delicate and theoretical subjects, so if you are interested in knowing more, please consider registering for LNG 205 Language and Culture during the fall semester! It's barely the middle of the semester (LNG 205's midterm is today.. yikes!) and I already know so much and find myself understanding the behavior of other cultures. We live in a society with so many different languages and cultures that taking a course about Language and Culture really should be mandatory because it is so useful! If you have any questions - just ask!"

Louisa, LNG 205 student:

As I was looking for a class that would be fun, interesting, and educational all at once, I found a winner. It was linguistics! I have always had a love for languages, but I did not realize that so many other people did as well. Whenever I describe my linguistics class to other people, I always say it reminds me of the United Nations because this course is made up of people with such diverse backgrounds. Our discussions about language, (which happens to be an even bigger part of our life than I thought) become all the more interesting. I'm Greek and Swiss, I have a friend who is Native American, and another who is Spanish, along with other students who happen to be Irish, German, Japanese, Bulgarian, Russian and many other nationalities. Even though I am majoring in Biochemistry, there is no doubt that I will be applying elements from this class as I pursue a career as a Physician's Assistant, due to the various people I will be interacting with and communicating with on a daily basis. In addition, there are no disadvantages to becoming a more well-rounded individual!

Tessa, TESOL certificate graduate, 2018:

I started the TESOL Certificate program nervous to be in front of students, but the support I got from the TESOL faculty was beyond what I expected. The coursework prepared me very well for the practicum. The faculty was more supportive, flexible, and helpful than any I have worked with in any of my previous college experiences. They were very thoughtful in building the courses and meetings around student schedules. I also really enjoyed the range of topics covered in the coursework which took the subjects from theory to practice. Being able to teach lessons in real Harper classrooms gave me more confidence in front of the students using what I had studied for the past year. I feel more than prepared to use the skills I've gained from the TESOL Certificate courses in real classrooms.

Anna, TESOL certificate graduate, 2018:

I am a retired senior and a volunteer ESL tutor who works with recent immigrants in our local community. I entered Harper’s TESOL Certificate Program seeking to improve my teaching skills. The program offered me ample opportunities to achieve this goal through observation of excellent teachers, thorough instruction on methodology, a wide-ranging exploration of linguistics and a “hands on” practicum. Every class I took was stimulating and useful, and every faculty member balanced high standards with support, structure with creativity, and interaction with reflection.

But, in a significant and surprising way, the program exceeded my expectations. In addition to acquiring new skills, I learned some important life lessons. Getting to know classmates from all over the world, as well as investigating deep questions about equal access to education and the inextricable link between language and culture, instilled in me a stronger appreciation of our common humanity. I carry with me an understanding that each of humankind’s thousands of languages has its own logic and that the language we speak is at the very heart of who we are. This perspective helps me approach not only my students, but everyone with a great deal more respect, openness and generosity.

Ron, TESOL certificate graduate, 2020:

Two and a half years ago I sort of stumbled into taking this program. I had heard of the TESOL certification from friends and family who are in the education profession, but I had no idea how enticing this program was. The Harper ESL faculty always encouraged me to explore aspects of language that I was interested in. This was not a freedom that I was very familiar with in the classroom, and group discussions on the many different aspects of languaculture broadened that freedom even more. The Harper faculty was also very accommodating to my crazy work schedule. I don’t think it would have been possible without their understanding. Also, it was such an amazing opportunity to be able to teach Harper’s own ESL students. I was able to implement teaching methods that were very fresh in my mind, and those experiences, whether positive or negative, were extremely valuable. I’m very excited to take the skills I’ve obtained from this program overseas to countries like Japan, Korea, and Cambodia and implement them into my own classroom.

Carter, TESOL certificate graduate, 2020:

I started Harper’s TESOL Certificate Program unsure of what I wanted out of it – I wasn’t too excited about education as an academic discipline, and I was very hesitant about actually having to teach – but this program has given me more than I could have hoped for. From the scholarly exploration of sociolinguistics to the practical experience of teaching a real class, each course was both engaging and enlightening. The Linguistics faculty were always helpful, always encouraging, and constantly proving themselves to be true experts of the field; learning from them has been a privilege. Likewise, working with ESL students has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. The program is fairly brief, but I’ve learned so much that I feel thoroughly prepared to work in this field, and, because every part of this program has been so wonderful, I’m genuinely excited to start a TESOL career.



Last Updated: 4/8/24