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Q&A with ESOL adult learner, Abu Zobair Sarder

Adult learner, Abu Zobair Sarder, 33, relocated to the UK in May 2023 from Bangladesh to join is wife and child, and has enrolled on an English for Speakers of Other Languages course (ESOL) at Stafford College. We chatted to Abu to hear all about this exciting move to the UK and how studying the ESOL course has helped him so far in life and work.

Which course are you studying?

I am studying the Level 2 Award in in ESOL Skills for Life.

Why did you choose to study the ESOL course at Stafford College?

I chose to return to education for several reasons. Firstly, I recognise the importance of effectively communicating in English, both personally and professionally. Enhancing my English language skills was something that I wanted to work on to help me to engage with other people, access further educational opportunities and advance my career. I believe that mastering English is essential for integration into the community and for building stronger connections with others. By enrolling on the ESOL course, I saw an opportunity to immerse myself in a supportive learning environment where I could receive tailored instruction and guidance to improve my English proficiency.

I am motivated to continuously develop myself and acquire new skills. Investing in education, such as this ESOL course aligns with my commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth. I am enthusiastic about the prospect of expanding my language capabilities and unlocking new opportunities for success. Overall, returning to education represents a proactive step towards achieving my goals of language fluency, personal development and integration within the English-speaking community.

Choosing to relocate to the UK must have been a big move, how has this been for you?

I worked in banking in Bangladesh and gained lots of experiences in finance. In May 2023, I moved to the UK to be with my wife and child who had already established themselves in the UK after my wife completed her Masters degree. She now works at GE in Stafford and it's great to have finally joined her to begin our next chapter together. So, it's great to be in this country and I have enjoyed gaining the skills needed to work here and become successful in my career. The foundations are being built on to help me to integrate fully into the community.

Describe what it felt like to step through the doors of college for the first time?

Stepping through the doors of Stafford College for the first time was like diving into a whirlwind of emotions. There was excitement bubbling inside me, mixed with a bit of nervousness and uncertainty. The vibrant energy of students chatting and moving about filled the air, creating a sense of anticipation for what lay ahead. It was a moment of significance, marking the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I was filled with hope and determination, ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.


How have your tutors supported you to learn new skills?

Claire Taylor, my tutor, has been an indispensable source of support, enhancing my learning journey in so many ways. Claire's approach to teaching has been tailored specifically to meet the needs of the ESOL learners. She breaks down complex language concepts, offers clear explanations, and provides practical strategies for improving my English proficiency. Her commitment to ensuring my understanding is evident through her patience and willingness to provide additional guidance whenever necessary. Claire's lessons are inclusive and supportive, and I have always felt encouraged to practice and communicate in English. Nothing really is too much trouble. Her support on assignments and exercises helps me to improve and develop my skills.

Have you enjoyed learning alongside other adults in a similar position to you?

Being surrounded by peers who are also navigating the challenges of learning English as a second language has helped to create a supportive learning environment. We have shared experiences, exchanged learning strategies and offered mutual encouragement and perspectives on different situations. It has been reassuring to know that others have faced similar challenges in achieving their goals, and most importantly understanding different cultural contexts.

What has been the best part of the course?

The sense of progress and accomplishment I have felt as I've seen my English language skills improve over time. Every milestone, whether it has been mastering a difficult grammar rule, confidently expressing myself in English, or successfully completing a challenging assignment has brought satisfaction and pride. I've become more confident in asking questions too which will help me in my employment.

With any new learning experience, comes challenges. Have you had to overcome many barriers during your studies?

Pushing through moments of frustration and self-doubt has been the most challenging part of studying. Learning a new language can be challenging, and there have been times when I struggled to grasp certain concepts or express myself fluently in English. Navigating grammar rules, vocabulary and pronunciation nuances has been tricky but I've been determined to overcome these challenges.

How has studying the ESOL course helped you in your career?

After completing the written and speaking/listening parts of the programme, I began researching banking and finance-related courses that aligned with my interests and career aspirations. I have also gained employment at HSBC, so professionally the course has opened doors for me. Developing my communication skills has been really important to help me to pursue a career in finance and banking as I am able to chat to customers and colleagues and present my ideas to stakeholders. I now possess the language skills necessary to thrive in a dynamic and multicultural environment.

On a personal level, I feel empowered to pursue my career goals and embrace new challenges.

Do you have any advice for other adult learners thinking of studying an ESOL course, or in fact any other course?

My advice would be to set clear goals and if you're thinking of an ESOL course, define why you want to improve your English skills. Be proactive and participate in class by engaging with fellow learners and your tutors as it really helps the whole learning experience. Practice your skills regularly and use English in daily life to reinforce what you learn. I've found that it's important to be patient and stay committed to the learning process, and do take advantage of the resources available to you at college.

If Abu has inspired you to sign up for an adult course, head over to our website to explore our courses here.