Though they just returned home only a few months ago, the 2021-2022 Libyan YES alumni have already started initiating projects to better the world around them. Growing up in Libya, these students had limited opportunities to enhance their English-speaking skills. It can be difficult to find English-speaking peers to practice the language with, making it frustrating to learn English. The alumni want to help people practice speaking skills, gain confidence, express themselves, and engage in eye-opening cross-cultural discussions.
As members of the new YES Alumni Association Libya (YAAL) non-profit organization, these new alumni are finding lots of ways to give back. They are currently managing an in-person English teaching program in collaboration with an orphanage to teach underprivileged children English, and they are also taking part in the upcoming YES grant project, Historic Libya.
The alumni also started an independent virtual club, The English Convo (TEC), with assistance from Amira Ouardani, the Competitive College Club (CCC) founder and Virtual EducationUSA advisor for Libya. TEC is an online club founded by five Libyan alumni that aims to help non-native English speakers enhance their verbal skills through weekly online sessions. TEC is not an English course but a safe community to practice language skills without judgement. What makes TEC meetings special are the amusing activities and unique themes that help build necessary skills and make each session enjoyable.
On top of aiding students with their speaking skills, TEC also covers a wide range of educational topics that expand knowledge. These additional aspects are important because members come from a variety of countries, which elicits interesting conversations, teaches the other participants about different cultures, and helps confront various cultural misconceptions.
Participation in the YES program helped these fresh alumni recognize the importance of global citizenship. As global citizens, they made their club open to everyone with intermediate English knowledge, regardless of their nationality, age, or background. TEC has received applications from 13 different countries, which enables the club to have a very diverse membership.
TEC had an extremely successful first session. Each program round lasts six weeks, after which the applications for TEC are reopened for new prospective members. By the end of the six-week program, participants receive TEC certificates that demonstrate their membership and commitment to the club and their language skills.
The Libyan TEC founders are elated to be able to use the leadership skills and confidence they obtained during their exchange year in the US to benefit others. They are enthusiastic about what the future holds for the club. The YES program greatly impacted the alumni’s vision for TEC, as it opened their eyes to the world of volunteerism. Engaging in a variety of community service projects in the US, the alumni realized that they could support many underprivileged people through initiating projects independently instead of waiting for other groups to initiate projects.
The next round of applications for TEC will open in October/November. If you want to be part of the TEC family and improve your English-speaking skills, keep an eye out on social media pages!
Founding members of TEC:
Fatma Ayad (YES 2021-2022, Libya, placed by Ayusa in Marengo, IN)
Malik Alshin (YES 2021-2022, Libya, placed by WorldLink in Littleton, CO)
Taima Ashour (YES 2021-2022, Libya, placed by Aspect Foundation in Richfield, UT)
Yousuf Alaqeeli (YES 2021-2022, Libya, placed by ACES in Elmore, OH)
Abdulmohaymen Alghaneim (YES 2021-2022, Libya, placed by IRIS in Hampton, IA)