ELI STUDENT VOICES
Note from the editor: Let's begin this edition of Student
Voices with a message from our departing J. C.
Casagrande Peace Scholarship winner.
My Life at the ELI
Takahiro .///iu hii (Tio)
There are many languages in the world. Among these
many languages, English is one of the most used languages in
the business world, and English has also become the most usual
language as a communication tool in the world. So, we are
studying English now.
My purpose of studying English was to enroll in a
graduate school in sports management. I have studied 3
semesters to achieve my purpose since the summer semester of
2004. Living in the US was the first time for me. I did not play
with English well. My first trial was at Subway, which is a
sandwich chain. When I went to Subway to eat a sandwich, I
panicked in front of the counter because I did not understand
anything the employee said to me. I just said, "Hello, how are
you?" After greeting, I just repeated, "Yes, please, yes, please."
As a consequence, it was a very shocking experience for me.
How can I speak fluently and understand English very well?
That is one of the most popular questions at the ELI. I often
have asked the same question to teachers. During one year, I
have learned a lot of things in Gainesville. I really want to write
about my experience as a message to the future students at the
First of all, I really tried to use English even if I could
not understand very well. English is not only an academic
language for English speaker, but also the most common
communication tool among us. Using English helps improve
our level. I attempted to participate in the ELI weekend
activities and the Coffee Talk. I especially have participated in
the coffee talk almost every week. Through the classwork and
several activities, we can know each other. As a result, now I
have lots of friends all over the world. It is a very exciting
opportunity and an unforgettable memory. It helps us to speak
in English. The difficulty to speak English is to be afraid of
making mistakes. We are international students and are non-
native English speakers; therefore we are studying English at
the ELI. Do not be shy and afraid to make mistakes. Making
mistakes gives us good opportunities to improve our level.
Second, listening is usually the most difficult part for
me. Even though I have lived here almost one year, I am still
not able to listen perfectly. However, my listening has been
improved in the last 3 months. During one year, I have watched
almost 100 movies and the sitcom "FRIENDS". I actually
watched every movie twice. First is without subtitles, and
second is with subtitles if I did not understand. This is a very
useful way. For this reason, now I understand every movie
more than 80 % without subtitles. Watching "FRIENDS" is to
help me to learn normal conversation in the US. I learned many
slang expression, idioms, and pronunciation. It is a good
training material for communication in English.
Third, do you know how much we spend money at
the ELI? It is 40 bucks a day!! If you skip all classes a day, you
lose 40 bucks. It is too expensive, isn't it? Skipping classes is
not only losing your money, but also valuable opportunity. I
have tried to be on time every class because I do not want to
lose anything. I have learned many new things. In addition, I
asked some teachers to teach me some special skill, for
instance, the TOEFL's grammar and its essay. I have taken
CBT TOEFL including the ELI TOEFL. The first exam
embarrassed me. I was shocked. However, by doing practice
with them, my score has risen bit by bit. After 6 months, I got
my target score, which is required by the graduate school.
Thanks to their kind help, my TOEFL score has gotten better
Finally, I have tried to get everything since the
summer semester 2004 as much as I can. During one year, my
English level has moved up drastically, but it is not enough.
There is no goal to study English because English is "stupid." It
is true; English is confusing! On the other hand, English is a
very useful language for us. Even though we speak English only
a little bit, we may be able to get new friends. It is amazing. I
swear The ELI helps you efficiently. As a consequence, I was
nominated as a scholarship candidate, and then I got a
scholarship for the spring semester in 2005. In addition, I
received admission from several graduate schools in sports
management. My second stage in the US will start soon.
Thank you everybody, and let's meet someday again.
A Most Remarkable Woman (1st Place)
Brisa Rubi Martinez Llanos
Prostitution is defined as the sale of sexual services for
money. The majority of the people think that prostitution should
be eliminated, but some others do not care. In my opinion, it is
hard to make a decision because I knew a prostitute many years
ago. Her name? Maybe it does not matter. She was like many
poor women of my country with a difficult life, many children,
and no education. There are a lot of reasons why I admire her
and why I think she is an extraordinary person. More than any
other person I have known she tried to help the people around
ELI Student Voices 1
Volume 9, Issue 1
her, educate her children in the best way she could, and be a
First, she tried to help other people in many ways,
even if she were not really able to do that. After all, she did not
care if she had a lot of money or if she had little. For example,
when she saw some children without food, she shared her
children's food even if this was not much. Also she always had
a spirit of solidarity. She was interested in her family and the
poor community. She did many things, like to put a nursery for
children in her house because she knew that some of the other
prostitutes did not take care of their children. She taught me that
you do not need to have a lot to help other people just... be
Second, she tried to give her four children the best
education possible. For this purpose, she worked a lot, though
this meant more filth. She tried to give them the best example
that she could give in order to make sure that they did not notice
what kind of work she did. Unfortunately, although they knew
the truth when they were young; she still raised up her children
to be honest and fair. These values helped them later to
appreciate the effort of their mother and to be good students.
Another reason I admire her is that she was always a
happy person, and she led her life with dignity, even if that life
was full of nastiness. In fact, she did not have friends, and she
could not tell anybody her sadness or her problems, but she still
kept quiet and she seemed happy. She understood her situation
and tried to enjoy the good little things that she had.
There are a lot of prostitutes in the world. Some of
them do the work for pleasure, others perhaps for a need. But
who knows exactly the causes that push them in this way? So,
who can judge a woman like her? She was a poor woman,
without much education, she was without skills but had a big
heart and a huge gratitude toward the good things in life that
she did have. For these reasons, I still admire and think she was
a remarkable person.
Eating Dog Meat, It Is Right
Recently the Korean government announced that Korea
was planning to legalize the sale of dog meat by setting
standards for hygienic slaughter and processing called "The
countermeasure about dogs and other animals' protection and
hygienic processing." And also, the Korea Herald reported,
"The Ministry of Agriculture plans to set up enforcement
squads to monitor cruel slaughter practices and that the
government is currently looking into revising the country's
animal protection law." Those Korean government's acts seem
that they are trying to protect animals' right. Many
organizations for animal rights from the entire world, however,
are strongly protesting against this Korean government's policy.
For example, according to PETA, People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, the largest animal rights organization in
the world, "If the sanitary and environmental problems
associated with the consumption of dog meat are so dire as to
require governmental concern, efforts should be directed at
banning dog meat; not legalizing it." In other words, they want
not to hygienically advance the way of slaughter but to
completely quit eating dog meat. However, in this point, I am
strongly against such their insistence and thinking for two
main reasons: The dog meat is just the same food as other
animals that people usually eat like pigs, cows, horses,
chickens, and others; furthermore, eating dog meat is a kind of
custom begun a long time ago by their ancestors.
First of all, it is suitable to eat dog meat because of
the idea that it is just a kind of meat people usually eat. There is
no doubt that in normal life, most people's favorite materials of
food are cows, pigs, and chickens. People have even developed
a variety of kinds of ways to cook them according to their taste.
Why are they complaining and pointing their fingers only to
people who eat dog meat while eating those poor animals, such
as pigs? Don't they consider other animals' rights to live
without being killed as humans' prey? According to article
named "The Sanitizing of Violence in Our Society" from the
web site, all-creatures .org, "At the same time we may be
having these feelings towards our own companion animals, we
may also be chewing away upon the flesh of another, just as
lovable an animal, such as a chicken, a pig, or a cow."
Likewise, It is clear that insistence on stopping only eating dog
meat is egoism, which should be cured for social development.
Next, there is no qualification for people from other
cultural areas to blame people who are from the cultural area
where eating dog meat is right because it is one of their own
customs since long ago. No, it becomes rather an important
culture than a custom now. In that eating dog meat is not
extreme relativism, which we should ostracize and expel such
as a cannibal race's culture, there is no right to quit and suspend
it. Todd A. Brian, a professor of the English Language Institute
at the University of Florida, said, "Each person has several
circles in his or her mind; there is the smallest circle in the
middle of circles, and others are located while covering smaller
circles like a whirlpool. The smallest circle's inside is the most
important thing each person thinks, and the biggest circle's
outside is reverse." Likewise, some people who hate to eat dog
meat could put dog meat inside circle as the same that they put
their family inside, whereas others who eat dog meat could put
it outside the circle the same as putting cows outside. What I
want to say is that people should understand cultural relativism
among countries, and shouldn't blame it.
On the other hand, some people object to eating dog
meat because dogs are one of a few animals that can sympathize
with humans. Those people say dogs are loyal and honest. We,
however, have to know that these dogs' characteristics are not
attachment and devotion toward humans but just an instinct
called "the pack instinct" they have inherited from their wild
ancestors. ACT Companion Dog Club explains dog's pack
instinct, comparing to wolf s-the club assumes that the wild
ancestors of the dog are thought to be very similar to the
modem wolf and it can understand our dogs better by studying
the instincts of the wolf-"Within wolves' group a 'packing
order' is established with a 'pack leader' (alpha dog). And most
are happy to follow a leader." As far as a dog in a family is
concerned, this explanation means that the dog in the family
recognizes family members, especially a man, as a leader in that
ELI Student Voices 2
group. We can also find such dog's instinct in our normal life.
For example, suppose that husband and wife were fighting near
their pet dog. In this case, we can see that the dog is barking at
only the wife. It is because the dog recognizes the husband as a
leader. In this sense, I want to say that don't misunderstand that
dogs are sympathizing with you humans. They are just being
faithful to their instinct.
In short, eating dog meat is right and reasonable for
two reasons I have referred to above: first, it is the same meat as
pigs, cows, and others. Second, it is a cultural part that should
be respected. Some people, on the other hand, may still disagree
with eating dog meat on the idea of dogs are their friends and
family members. I can understand them. Who can butcher and
eat a friend and a family member? However, they also have to
understand the people who eat dogs. It is their life way and their
culture. One Korean minister said in a social gathering, "Do
you want to live 100 points (100 points mean perfect life in
Korea) of life? It is easy. Just suppose that alphabetA is 1 point,
B is 2 points, ..., and Z is 26 points. 'Love' is 54 points. Just
loving someone is not 100 points of life. How about 'hard
work'? It is 98 points. Also, just working hard is not perfect.
'Money' also gets 72 points. Therefore, what is perfect life? It
is just 'Attitude'." As he said, how about changing your attitude
about people who eat dog meat? Eating dog meat could be cruel
to people who love dogs; on the other hand, they have to
understand there are other people to whom it is just culture.
Differences Between Men and Women
It is very weird that those psychologists always try to
distinguish the differences between men and women. And it is
really funny that they think that they are about to discover new
facts. They say that men want to be independent and women
want to be close and secured. Men talk about sports, ladies and
cars but women talk about house, children and money. Girls
play with dolls and boys play with cars. I think these facts are
There are no differences in interests or thoughts
between men and women. It's difference in levels! Yes I think
that GOD created men first then he had a better idea! I'm not
saying that I wish the life is a world of females. No of course!
How can queens be without their soldiers and slaves? What I'm
trying to say is that men were born to serve the women and
keep them safe. It is the nature that makes boys love cars to be
drivers, play armies to be protector and kill animals to prove
that they are with no heart naturally. But girls instead care about
animals, how tender we are! And play inside the house with
dolls and take care of our selves. GOD is preparing us to be
You still can't believe me! Come with me to the mall
and see how women dress and how men dress! Women love to
wear skirts, makeup and care about themselves, but men are so
messy that they don't give them selves a min. to take a look at
the mirror! Even if they try to dress well we call them gays.
Yes, that's true that 60% of men are gays and only 10% of
women are gays. That drives us to a fact that being a woman is
better than being a man.
Also if you watch the both sexes behavior you will
find a great different in levels. Men get angry often more than
women. Lose their patience faster than women. If you watch
the male in all ages you will see an annoying boy, a selfish
teenager, a cheater husband and a bothering old man who
complains all the time. But if you look at a female you are just
finding the cure of a sour eye. The cute little girl who makes
you feel that you're sank in the sea of love, the passionate
teenager who will please you with her spoiled spirit and the
woman who can guide the world behind her with her attractive
smile. Do you think we women lose our attraction when we get
older? No, of course, when we're grandmothers, we have these
beautiful inner feelings that make people respect us and find us
beautiful! Yes, haven't you heard about the inner beauty that
reflects on our outlook. This is what we are: the most beautiful
thing that GOD ever created.
So finally and before I get into the end, I would like to
ask those men to go back to their work in serving women, and
you women I wish you the good luck in life and to the better.
Choosing a Major
For many students it is not so easy for them to choose
their major. Sometimes, it is even necessary for them to change
their major after they have already started. On the other hand,
some students do not have any trouble choosing and feeling
secure with their choices. And you? Why did you choose your
major? What aspects did you consider in making your choice?
In my case, it was a hard process to define my major because
after I started doing one, two years later I realized my
professional vocation. So, I had to go back to the University to
apply for another major. Therefore, when I finally made my
choice, I had considered three important points: my real
interest, the future opportunities, and the potential for financial
Regardless of major, it is important to consider your
real interest because maybe you are going to work your whole
life in it. For you to discover your real interest, you can follow
some steps. For example, you can ask some questions of those
who have already completed the major you intend to do. With
this information, you will be more prepared to compare options.
In addition, you can visit universities and talk to teachers who
teach the subjects you are interested in. Yet another step is to
talk to students and ask them if they are enjoying the courses.
There are also many books in libraries and other information
about careers that can be useful to help you choose the best
major. And if you still are not confident to make your choice,
you can talk with a counselor to develop your ideas. Sometimes
it is good to talk to somebody neutral who listens to you
without judgment. Even though choosing my major was not an
easy process, I considered these methods useful in discovering
my real interest.
ELI Student Voices 3
Another point to consider when choosing a career is to
analyze its future opportunities. You need to be aware of these
opportunities so you do not become frustrated with your major.
The best way for you to get up-to-date information about the
career is by reading journals, business magazines, and talking
with people are already working in it. In business magazines
there are rankings with other professions and ads for available
opportunities to work in the field. Also, there are some
programs you can work in during the summer while you are
studying. This is excellent experience because you can work
before you finish your studies, and if the employer likes your
business profile, you may get the job permanently. Looking for
future opportunities is a hard process, but if you do this early in
your schooling, probably you will have more success in your
Financial success is another significant fact to be
considered. Many people choose a major but forget to analyze
their potential to earn money by it. It can be a big risk. For
example, an academic career is a profession with many
advantages, such as flexible schedule, summer vacation, school
holidays, but it is not a profession you can earn a lot of money
in as when working in financial marketing in New York. Every
major has its financial advantages and disadvantages, so you
need to be able to decide how important this is in your life.
Nonetheless, even though it is impossible to know
exactly the profession in which you will have the most personal
and financial success, these are several points to consider in
order to ensure a safer and more mature choice in your career.
My Best Rival
I was raised by my grand mamma in rural Korea for 3
years. At first I entered an elementary school in Seoul, the
capital of Korea, but I had to move to a southern part of Korea
because of mom's health. My mom was very sick and my dad
had to work, so there was no one to take care of me. At that
time my younger brother was studying in my grand mom's
house. I used to meet my brother just on vacation. I remember
it was my first time to live together with my brother. To a little
boy nature was the best toys and playground. After class we
went fishing or collecting insects. Furthermore the fact made
me happy was that I could do everything with my brother. I am
three years older than him, and in childhood three years have a
great difference. So I was superior to him in every field. I was
taller and stronger than him, and I could run and swim faster
than him, and I got a better grade in school. After sunset we
used to play Chinese chess together. It was an exciting game
playing each with 16 pieces of chessman. Of course, I had
always beat him and I sometimes got a handicap by playing
without 1-2 chessmen. I can't exactly remember the day but
my brother won the game for the first time. At first I thought I
made some mistakes, so I offered one more game to him, but I
lost again. I was a little nervous about that because I had won
and I was supposed to win every game. It was a great dishonor
to me to be beaten by a little brother. However, it was only a
beginning for 'Passion of big brother'. My brother got to grow
faster than me and he won the first in his school. After the
chess game, he surpassed me in every field. Now, he has
become a big guy, and he is 4 inches taller than I. Whenever
we play basketball, it has been tragedy to me. Our rivalry is
continuing until now, but I love him as a good competitor and
my 'little' brother.
Why Going to the Theater for Movies Is
Better Than Watching at Home
I am a movie fanatic. I always go to the theater to
watch movies in my free time, and I always follow the latest
news about actors, actresses, new movies and Hollywood. I
especially prefer horror and comedy movies to the others but,
actually, I like all of them. Watching movies in theaters is the
best way to enjoy them because of the atmosphere. You can see
other people's reactions to a movie, and you can share the
excitement, sadness, horror and fun together. This is why I
strongly disagree with the author of the essay we read in class
titled "The Hazards of Moviegoing."
First of all, watching movies on TV has some
disadvantages. For example, when I watch a movie on TV, I
can't concentrate as well as I do in the theater. This is because
sometimes the doorbell rings, or sometimes other people in the
house make noise. Also, TV channels have lots of commercials
so you lose your concentration on a movie when you try to
watch it on TV.
On the other hand, in the theater you have the
opportunity to see the reactions of other people. You can feel
the atmosphere more and so you can focus more. Also, there are
no neighbors, no commercials, no phones, and no noise, so it is
a good way to keep your concentration and enjoy the movie.
As a result, I can guarantee that you can have a better
time in the theater, rather than watching movies on TV. You
can enter the magic world of stars, and you can feel like acting
in a movie just like the actors. Finally, you can watch new
movies earlier than people who just watch movies on TV.
English and Korean: A Little Similar, but
Rather Different Languages
Jang Hoon Park
When many Korean students learn English as their
second language, it seems to be very difficult. Because they
have already learned and used their native language, it must be
hard to learn another one. Are Korean and English totally
different languages, then? Are there any similarities between
them? What is the reason of the differences? In general, most
differences are caused by using their own alphabets Hangul
and English. On the contrary, in the case of Spanish, it has
many similarities with English, because they use almost the
ELI Student Voices 4
same alphabet. Language reflects history of its native country.
Korean and American have different ancestors and different
histories, so Korean and English became different languages in
many aspects: writing systems, grammar, etc.
The Korean alphabet, Hangul, consists of 10 vowels
and 14 consonants. To make one word, it requires three types of
sounds: an initial sound, a medial vowel, and a final consonant
(the last one is not essential). Especially, a single vowel must be
combined with another consonant, and then it becomes
meaningful because Korean is a syllabic language. On the
contrary, English consists of 5 vowels and 21 consonants.
Vowels and consonants have same forces, so one word is made
by a linear arrangement of alphabets. Sometimes only one
vowel can be used to make a word. It is a difference between
these two languages in writing systems, and it makes Korean
student hard to study English.
In grammar, many differences can be easily found.
First of all, a fundamental structure of a sentence is different:
the position of verb. For American, it is natural that a verb is
written just behind a subject. For Korean, however, a verb is the
element mostly placed in the last of a sentence. By that reason,
when people speak in Korean, they must listen to others'
sentences carefully and perfectly because verbs take the most
important role in most times. In other words, in Korean, people
speak their decision at the last part of the sentence. Second, in
Korean, honorific words and sensible words are much
developed: many honorific expressions of nouns, verbs, even
adjectives. In case of sensible words, there are about fifty kinds
of different expressions to express yellow tone.
Hangul and English, both are phonetic letters, it can be
a similarity between two languages, but they are not totally
same. Each vowel and consonant of Hangul has its own sound.
In other words, there is only one pronunciation for one alphabet
in Korean. In case of English, there are some principals of
pronunciation, but there are so many exceptions. For example,
'ch' sounds in 'cheese' and 'Christmas', 'a' sounds in 'rate',
'advice', and 'ant', they are different sounds in spite of same
alphabet. It is one of the most difficult parts for some students
to learn English because they must memorize a lot of
vocabularies how to pronounce.
Fundamentally, American and Korean have their own
histories for centuries. Including certain Germanic tribes from
the continent in the fifth century A.D., there has been some
ethnic groups who lived in the Britain, for example, Norse,
Anglo-Norman, etc. So English had been formed naturally, and
come under the influences of many other languages like Celtic,
Anglo-Saxon, Norman-French, Anglo-Norman. On the other
hand, Korean was invented by King Sejong and some scholars
in 1443, distributed in 1446. Compared with English, Korean
has not much changed because Korea has been a racially
homogeneous nation for two thousand years.
By now, it is natural that English and Korean are a
little similar, rather different, because of their own ancestors
and histories. Though both alphabets are phonetic letters, there
are many exceptions. In addition, writing systems and grammar
are totally different.
The Causes and Effects of Good Health
The most valuable asset that we can possess is good
health. No other is as important. Material wealth, fame or
power combined cannot equal the value of having and
maintaining good health.
Good health does not come automatically. We should
constantly work to be in good health and once we have
achieved it, we must continue to maintain it. To acquire good
health, we must do three things: eat nutritious and healthy
foods, exercise regularly and maintain a positive mental
When we eat nutritious and healthy foods, we give our
bodies the right fuel needed to fight illnesses and diseases as
well as providing our bodies with energy to perform whatever
we need to do each day. Exercising helps to strengthen our
bodies and tone our muscles, and burs excessive fat as well as
calories. It also helps provide for the release of hormones that
help our mental health. Lastly, maintaining a positive attitude
helps us to avoid depression, anger and other mental illnesses
that can lead to poor health. A positive mental viewpoint gives
us a bright outlook on life, a "can do" attitude and a willingness
to put our best foot forward.
By using these three "remedies," we can guarantee
ourselves better health on a regular basis. If we avoid abusing
our bodies by doing things within limits, this helps avoid stress.
Exercising too much or not at all, and not resting enough can
cause stress in our bodies.
When Benjamin Franklin wrote his now famous
saying: "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy
wealthy and wise," it basically meant for us to not abuse
ourselves. "Going to bed early" means that we get enough rest
for our bodies and minds. This helps us to get a good start each
day and keeps us healthy. We are thus able to work better and
this leads to being prosperous and staying smart.
Although these three factors, eating healthy, exercising
regularly and having a positive mental attitude sound easy, they
aren't. They require careful thought and the understanding of
nutrition and exercise as well as a strong resolve. Yet, the
effort is worth the result. A long healthy life is worth its weight
The Secret of Success in Multicultural
Jang Hoon Park
Due to progress of transportation and mass media,
nowadays, the world is globalizing much faster. It is not
difficult to find people who go abroad to study or work. It is a
very desirable thing not only for the person concerned because
it can be his or her good experience and career, but for the
whole group because it helps them achieve more successful
result. In the case of the whole group, however, if it does not
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consider some policies and practices for multicultural people, it
will not succeed in obtaining the synergy effect. The University
of Florida English Language Institute (UFELI) is a good model
of a multicultural organization that uses this consideration.
There are four main policies: a free atmosphere in class, a
language assistant system, some after school or weekend
activities, and a promise between teachers and students.
Some students come to the UFELI to improve their
reading, writing, listening skills or grammar. However, most
students want to speak in English fluently before everything
else. It is not easy for them to speak in English because they
have hardly experienced talking with native speakers in their
countries. Therefore, the UFELI tries to make a free atmosphere
in class. Teachers come to the class casually dressed, and
students can feel comfortable and make conversation without
hesitation. Around fifteen students in a class, fewer than in their
own country, are also proper for students to speak free in class.
Second, a language assistant system provides valuable
aid for students who have much trouble in speaking in English.
There are two language assistants in each class of the UFELI.
They take half of the Listening/Speaking classes. They are
young enough almost the same age as students to be friends
with students; therefore they can be at once both teachers and
friends. Of course, instructors mostly have much more
experiences in teaching than language assistants. Sometimes,
however, language assistants can teach better than them. They
can easily sympathize with the students because they have been
students until comparatively lately or are current students, too.
After school or on weekends, UFELI students can join
in some activities. On weekdays after school, every day from
Monday to Friday, teachers and language assistants prepare
different activities. There are some sports activities like playing
tennis, soccer, and bowling. Students can make friends from all
over the world while they are enjoying the activities and
competing with them. Other activities are entertaining activities
like coffee talk, cooking, watching movies, and shopping.
Students can hang out with friends to chat, to discuss, or
sometimes to debate, of course, in English. The entertaining
activities are very good opportunity to improve ability of
speaking in English.
The most important and recommendable policy of the
UFELI is a special promise between teachers and students. At
the very beginning of each semester, teachers propose that
students always speak in English. Of course, it can be difficult
for new students. However, after they become conscious of
their goal, studying English, they do their best to speak in
English not only in classrooms, but always and everywhere.
Teachers, language assistance, and even all the staff in the
office try to help students speak in English. They wait until
students make a full sentence, and then correct it. In the case of
students, they try to take seats with the people who speak a
different first language. Also, it is a common thing to make a
trip in a group composed of international students rather than
the same nationality. Teachers and students, both of them trust
Many organizations could not succeed because of not
considering the multicultural facts. It is indispensable for both
of employers and employees, or teachers and students. In the
case of the UFELI, teachers and language assistants try to make
a free atmosphere and to plan helpful activities for students. In
addition, students always have the promise about English in
mind and practice it. Good policies and trust between teachers
and students made UFELI one of the most popular and best
institutes in the U.S. Other multicultural organizations like
international companies and schools should be required to learn
the UFELI's policies.
Looking Out the Window
When I wake up early and look out the window, I can
see people ready to go to theirjobs. Some are walking and
talking with each other. Other people are running because they
will be late to begin their work. On the comer, you can find all
kinds of food vendors ready to begin their labors with
customers waiting to buy. Other people are only eating
breakfast or drinking a cup of coffee and enjoying another
beautiful day. Looking in the other direction, I can see birds
flying or hear them singing in trees under a beautiful blue sky.
However, the most important thing that I can see is that I am
alive, and it is another beautiful day to enjoy life, sometimes
difficult, other times easy. All things considered, this is a
beautiful life and a beautiful place to live while enjoying the
miracles of nature. We as human beings are very blessed to be
here. Thank God!
My Parents' Role
Juan Felipe Serna
Since I was a child I have been trying to be a better
person each day. My parents have played an important role in
my life as a student and as a person by helping me
economically they buy my clothes, food, pay for my tuition,
and pay for my living expenses; and spiritually they teach me
moral values and give me advice in order to be a better person.
These two factors have helped me become the person I am
We are a big family and I admire my parents for
raising my brother, my sister and me because we have a lot to
learn from each other. They raised my older brother and sister
in such way that they would give me a good example, as well as
the other younger children in the family such as my cousins.
My brother and sister are very responsible; they went to the
University and now that they have finished their majors they
have professional jobs. Now I am following their example and I
am a Civil Engineering student, and I will graduate in one year.
We have to thank our parents because they have encouraged us
to study so we can be better persons.
Since we were little, my parents have bought many
books for us. These have taught us many things, from children
"stuff' to science, culture, and many other important things.
Two of these books that are important to me are "Cien afios de
ELI Student Voices 6
Soledad (One hundred years alone)" and "La Bruja (The
Witch)," both written by the famous Colombian writer Gabriel
Garcia Marquez, winner of a Nobel Prize in literature several
years ago. These books opened my mind to see life in a
different way, and they changed my way of thinking. For
example, after reading "Cien afios de Soledad"; I realized it is
sometimes good to be alone because you can learn new things
about yourself. But now that I am studying, my parents buy me
books in my major, and this has helped me become a better
student and a good reader.
Another thing that I have to thank my parents for is
that they have encouraged me to have certain experiences that
have taught me about other cultures. For example, I have visited
the United States many times on vacations, but when I came
here the first time as a child, I was shocked when I went to
Disney. Nowadays, I can compare USA's culture with mine and
learn how different we are. But my parents think that the most
important thing is to learn about our own country first, so in
Colombia we have made many trips around the country. They
think it is important to value our own customs and traditions.
They have also taken us to museums, and the one I like the
most is the "Antioquia's Museum" located in Medellin. It has a
collection of paintings by a local artist named Fernando Botero;
now he is the most important oil painter in the world. We also
have gone to the Gorgona's Islands to the see the whales and
other animals; my parents wanted us to see how beautiful nature
can be. So thanks to the different things they have shown us in
our country and around the world, we have learned to admire
different cultures and nature.
My parents have helped me in everyway they can.
Thanks to them I am part of a happy and educated family, and
we are able to better understand each other. In short, I owe all
these positive qualities to the efforts my parents have made to
give me economically and spiritually support.
La Feria de la Chinita
The most traditional holiday in my city, and maybe in
Venezuela, is "La Feria de la Chinita" that translated in English
means "The Chinita's fair". People celebrate it on November
18th of every year. It's a holiday because many years ago the
Virgin Mary appeared to an old woman, and many people, most
of them elderly, thought this was a miracle.
The elderly usually go to the Maracaibo Basilica,
which is in the downtown. Young people go out all night until
dawn, which is another way to celebrate this important holiday.
It is more common that young people go out all night long
while others go to pray in the Basilica.
The night of the 18t day of November people gather
and go out together to one of the many parties that are
organized for that night all over the city. These parties are
popular because famous artists perform there; but the main
reason why they are popular is because people dance and have
fun until dawn.
With that big holiday the Christmas season begins in
my city and consequently, in the whole country. It happens
because citizens usually "re-decorate" their houses and decorate
the Christmas tree. The main avenue of Maracaibo is decorated
with many, many lights which make the avenue beautiful and
bright in the night time. This holiday brings happiness and
pleasure for all the citizens. Sometimes people from other parts
of the country travel for spending some days in the city.
Those days, on the radio a specific kind of music is
played. It is named "Gaita". The gaita is the typical music of the
city and it was chosen for being played st Christmas as well
because the holiday brings Christmas with it.
My sister is the best person I have ever known, and the
tenderest person ever. She has this nice and quiet smile that no
one could resist its kindness meanings. I can't understand how
GOD created this perfect human and put the most beautiful
things inside her big heart. This person is a school of love or
maybe it's better to say this person is Love itself. My sister
taught me how to be good to people even though they never do
anything that made them deserve my kindness. She treats
everyone as a special person, and she gives each person the love
and the care that he needs. My grandmother came once to visit
us and she intended to stay for three months. No one loved her
or even could stand her because she was so selfish, complaining
the whole day and she repeated the stories that she said again
and again and again. She was such a boring grandmother. But
my sister was so patient and she always listened to her with a
big smile on her face. When I asked her: "How can you stand
her?" she said confidently: "She's my grandmother and no
matter what, we have to give her that love and that time that she
spent her whole life giving to our mother."
She taught me how to love, care for and respect
people. I know she never meant to teach me but her great
emotions were so bright that I could see. I used to be a spoiled
non-caring girl and had never smiled to a person unless he was
a cute guy, until my sister opened my eyes on the importance of
people in our life and the need of being friendly to the others.
And now as I'm far away from her and missing her I still have
in my mind the lessons of life that she taught me before. Now
I'm here in the USA giving a great deal of love, care and respect
to the others.
The Pressures of Being a Student in a
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT! Do you fear about
living and studying in another country? Are you thinking that it
is impossible to live in a foreign country? Do not worry about
it. Everybody feels the same when they arrive in a different
ELI Student Voices 7
country. I am going to help you with some advice about a few
aspects that can be problems while living here in the USA. This
is based on the experiences from people who study here or in
other countries. The pressures of being a student in a foreign
country are found principally in three areas: social, economical
There are many different cultures around the world,
and people in each have their own habits. In the United States,
you can find people from all countries. Furthermore, there is a
mix between the different cultures making this society the
melting pot of the world. You may agree or disagree their ways
of doing things. Maybe you do not like their ways of eating,
dressing, studying, or whatever. But my advice is that you use
the best aspects of each culture and learn from them all. These
aspects should not be a problem if you stay here. If you want
learn another language, you need know about these aspects of
other societies and cultures, and it should not be a pressure on
Cost of living is a big problem for an international
student learning English in the USA because it is very different
from other countries. So, this can cause difficulties if you live
here. When you go to buy something and you convert the price
to your country's money, you might say "OOHH!!! My God!!"
But if you compare it with how much you can earn when you
enter your career, you will see that the cost of learning a
different language has its rewards.
The most difficult aspect to living well in a foreign
country is the emotional. Because your emotions drive your life
and what you want, living far from your family and friends can
be very boring and painful, but you have to remember that what
you are doing is for your own future; after you return to your
country you can live well and see your family and friends
whenever you want.
In conclusion, just live your life and do not feel any of
these pressures day by day. Learn about other countries and
assimilate the good from the new cultures. And never think that
it is impossible to live in another country. YOU ARE
STRONG, SO DO NOT FEAR FACING THE WORLD!
My Arched Window
My arched window is full of hope and many good
things from my past, my present and my future. About my past,
if I would be born again, I would want to do the same things
that I have done in my past. My present is wonderful I have
my mother, my family, my girlfriend, and I have many ideas
about being a civil engineer and a good person. In my future, I
see that I will live well because I have been working hard to
that. So through my arched window, I can see happiness and a
few moments of sadness, but they will all serve to mature my
personality and my way of thinking about the world.
People Who Have Influenced My Life
Even though I believe we learn something from every
person we meet in our life, I have to say Jesus and my mother
have been the most responsible for the way I'm today.
First of all Jesus, because for me he is my model to
follow. I really admire the way he lived and gave his life for all
of us. I admire especially the way he loved everyone even
though some of these people hurt him, laughed at him, and even
killed him. So for these reasons and for others more, I can tell
he has made of me a better person, who every day tries to be
more like him.
And last but not least, my mother. She is the person
here on earth, who more represents the way I want to become.
She is a very intelligent, decisive, kind, dedicated, responsible,
accurate and restless person. She has made my life a bit easier
because she always taught me how to do things the correct way,
so I think she has saved me from making a lot of mistakes in
my life. I really love the way she takes care of all the things and
everyone without saying a word. I only hope one day I can be
the great mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend and person she is.
The Best Game in the World
Soccer is not just a game for me; it is really much
more. For me, soccer is life! I've been going to soccer games
since I was 7 years old. When I was a little kid, I knew all the
best soccer players in the world. I followed all the
In soccer, you experience victory, passion, pain, and
disappointment, so it really is like real life. You can even feel
happiness and disappointment both in a couple of minutes.
During a 90-minute game, you cannot just sit and watch. You
have to feel the excitement, if you're a real soccer fan.
I remember that on my 16th birthday, my team in
Turkey, Besiktas, lost to our big rival Galatasaray, and that
night I didn't speak to anyone and didn't celebrate my birthday.
On the other hand, I also remember two years ago that we won
the big game against Galatasaray and took the title! We didn't
sleep for two days and everyone celebrated the championship in
Soccer is just like that: it's not just a game, it's life! I
love this game and that's why I think it is the best game in the
Dream--One Day I Became an Ant
Kyung Ok Hong
Whenever I think of the time that I dreamed a little bit
odd dream, I can't understand why I dreamed like that. With an
ELI Student Voices 8
election of the class president one day ahead, I thought who
would be a president before sleeping. That night, I dreamed an
unforgettable dream. I was under the ground. When I looked
around me, I discovered everything in there like wall and
bottom were covered by soil. While I was thinking where I am,
suddenly a lot of ants came into my room. I couldn't believe
what happened in front of me. They bowed before me and one
of them told me something. To make matters more surprising, I
could catch what the ant said. How? It was not for some time
that I noticed I was also an ant. I cried out with surprise.
Without enough time to think what was happening to me, the
ants urgently demanded to be told orders. What they were
waiting for hearing from me was countermeasure against
cockroaches. A swarm of cockroaches was invading our area.
After knowing that, I had to take an action to prevent them from
invading us as fast as I could because a cockroach is the most
loathsome insect for me. I gave orders but I didn't know what I
ordered my ants. Then I realized I was the queen of their ants.
Following my orders, they repulsed an attack by the
cockroaches. They gave a shout forjoy and applauded me. And
then they bowed before me. In a moment, many things
happened one after another. Although I couldn't understand
why I was an ant, I enjoyed being the queen of them in my
dream. Next day, more surprise happened!
I was elected a class president by my friends, not ants.
Sometimes I think this dream was likely to be related to being a
Cross-Cultural Differences in Teaching
I find big differences in the teaching styles of college
instructors in America and in Asia. College students in America
can attend their classes in a freer atmosphere than students in
Asia can. For example, both instructors and students in America
sometimes bring coffee and cookies to their morning classes.
They even drink coffee or eat cookies in the middle of classes.
On the other hand, instructors in Asia seldom bring coffee.
Moreover, some instructors get angry if students drink
something during a class. Another example is that instructors in
America often talk to or pose questions to students. Sometimes
they even have conversations! On the other hand, instructors in
Asia don't talk to students very often. They just keep talking in
a one-way direction. Students in Asia just listen during their
classes. In summary, classes in America are friendly, just as the
people in America are friendly.
Barbara always copies what I wear. She bought her
sunglasses after she saw me once wearing them. This woman
drives me crazy. When I said I love pink, surprisingly her
closet turned into a world of pink! Her stuff, trousers and
shirts, are all the same as mine. She also likes what I like to eat
or drink. She eats vanilla ice cream just because I do, and she
never drinks coffee because I don't. All in all, I don't blame
My Best Teacher
In my life, there is a teacher who has had a strong
influence on me. She was my tutor and she taught me for three
years. When I was a freshman in high school, I really hated
English. I did not study hard in English class. So, my English
grade was poor. As a result, my mother thought that I needed a
tutor and decided to look for someone who had lots of teaching
experience. Fortunately, I met such a person. Her name was
Yung-mi Song and her major was English Education. She
taught me easily and comfortably. Sometimes, I was judged on
my homework or test grades. If I could not get an "A" in my
English class, she would give me a lot of homework. As I look
back on Yung-mi, I realize that she was a very positive role
model in my life. Without her help and dedication, I would not
have been able to overcome my fear of learning English. I am
really glad that I was able to learn from someone who had so
much to share with me. I hope that one day my English skill
will be at an advanced level so that I may have an opportunity
to help someone just as Yung-mi helped me.
Out the Arched Window
I am looking out the arched window at the wonderful
countryside. This countryside has many different flowers and
trees. At same time, I see people walking, a mom with her sons,
couples, children playing. I feel the soft wind on my face and it
is very relaxing. I don't have any stress. Every one looks so
happy. I see the butterflies. I hear the song of the birds. It's
wonderful. I feel very good!
Note from the editor: The following paragraph is a
group activity using random vocabulary from The Giver,
the assigned novel for this Semester B class.
When I woke up, I was overwhelmed by the thing that
I had dreamed. But then I realized that it was really funny and I
started to grin. However, I had to stop grinning because I
wanted to start my morning ritual. But my father saw that I
was still grinning so he frowned. We started to fight about my
waste of time sleeping and that made me ponder my behavior.
ELI Student Voices 9
Even though I did not have any bad intention, I began to
murmur and that made my father annoyed. I was a little
nervous, so I started giggling and my father became really mad
at my transgression. It was true! I was apprehensive because,
once my father gets angry, he loses his temper. He beckoned to
me with his finger and I came to him.
Note from the editor: In these last three essays we
explore the case of Teri Schiavo, the young woman who
recently died after a long legal battle. The first essay
describes the case. The second essay argues in favor of
Michael Schiavo, Teri's husband. The third essay is a
counterargument of the second essay. Which side are
you on ?
The Shiavo Case
On Thursday, March 31st, 2005; Theresa Marie
Schiavo, commonly known as Terri, said "Good bye" after
living 15 years on a vegetative state since Feb. 1990, when
potassium levels came down because of bulimia. This caused a
lack of oxygen in her body provoking the brain collapse that
carried her to bed for one and a half decades.
Even though her parents were against her husband,
Michael Schiavo, he tried to find an authorization from the
court to remove the feeding tube that had been feeding his wife,
but the petition failed many times since May 1998: The first
time was on April 24th, 2001; when he succeeded in having the
tube, but, after two days, it was reinserted. The second time
happened on October 15th, 2003 when, Mr. Schiavo convinced
the court to have the gastric feeding tube removed again, but
after five days it was reinserted one more time. But he didn't
rest. Finally, on March 18th, 2005 Florida court allowed that the
PEG tube percutaneouss endoscopic gastrostomy) could be
removed and, fortunately or unfortunately, this time the
decision was definite. She stayed without any supply of food or
water during 13 days, driving her to death.
Her husband wanted to apply euthanasia because he
alleged his wife told him once she did not like to live in that
way, even though Mr. and Mrs. Schindler (Terri's parents)
wanted to keep her alive, hoping that someday she would
possibly wake up from that state because they said she could
respond to some stimulus. For example: They claimed Terri
moved, smiled, blinked, cried, even, she used to make intents
for trying to talk; but doctors disagreed. They said these types
of reflexes were normal in a person that lives in a persistent
vegetative state (PVS); also, that people who live in this
situation are unconscious, which means, they can't feel, think or
Why I Support Mr. Schiavo
Tae Hong Chang
The final decision in the Terri Schiavo case is to not
overrule. Last Friday, March 18, 2005, the Florida Supreme
Court and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overrule the order
to remove the feeding tube, as was requested by Terri Schiavo's
parents. We, however, have to consider this case carefully. Why
do Terri Schiavo's parents want to put back the feeding tube
and why does her husband want to keep it removed?
Her doctor in charge said that she is in a "persistent
vegetative state." This means that she can neither behave nor
feel anb\ Iilnii and that she does not even know that she is
hungry. She just vegetates like a plant.
So what should we think of this situation? Actually,
removing the feeding tube at her husband's insistence, or
keeping the tube at her parents' insistence both have grounds. I,
however, support her husband's opinion. The reason is this.
First, we do not know her real mind. Does she want to continue
to live or not? Second, living without one's ego is not a real life.
Third, her husband is also a person who has his own life.
First, nobody can know Terri's real mind. She cannot
say, hear, or see anything. Doctors or nurses cannot know
whether she is now satisfied or not. They just feed her to extend
her life, the same as we do to a plant. Accordingly, I think that
her husband hates this because the people feeding her do not
really care about his spouse. They are just feeding her. For this
reason, I think that her husband wants to remove the feeding
tube, although the feeding tube is her line of survival. This
feeding is not real care for her.
Second, someone who lives without his own identity is
not living a real life. In her case, she cannot express her ideas.
She can open her eyes, but that is all. She just sees something.
She has no imagination. Moreover, she does not have her ego
right now. We call her by her name, Terri, but she,
unfortunately, does not know that Terri is really her. Is that a
real life? I think that I can say very straightforwardly: "she is
not alive with us; she merely stays with us." Continual feeding
is not necessary, I think.
Third, I read many articles before I wrote this essay. I,
however, cannot find any description about her husband,
Michael Schiavo. No newspaper or magazine is concerned
about her husband. He is also one person who has his own life.
The broadcast media and other people are not interested in him.
I think that we have to consider her husband's life. He probably
has also anguished about his wife's pain for FIFTEEN YEARS.
I think that now it is time to release him. He has dedicated
enough of his life for his spouse. He has to care about his wife,
but he has done so for 15 years, day in and day out.
Individually, he also has his own life. We have to allow him his
personal life. Fifteen years is not a blink of the eye.
Indeed, making a decision is almost too hard in this
case. I, however, agree with Michael Schiavo because we don't
know what she, Terri, thinks about the feeding tube, and Terri's
ego is not with her. Also Mr. Schiavo has his own life and he
already has devoted enough of his life to Terri. Therefore, my
ELI Student Voices 10
opinion in this case is that we should not replace the feeding
tube, just as her husband wants.
Mr. Shiavo Has No Right!
A human is born weak, rises to be stronger and then
loses his strength in his late ages. This is human, blood, feelings
and thoughts gathering together in a well-created body
supported by God and blessed with his love. Terri Schiavo:
every newspaper's headline and the main topic in each
discussion, even in the class! Her problem began in 1990, when
she got into a diet that causes a heart attack. Her brain hadn't
received oxygen for about 4-5 min., which causes brain
damage. Since then Terri became a vegetable patient in a
Floridian hospital. Doctors looked for the living will of Teri but
they didn't find it. So they asked her parents to decide for her.
They wanted her to live on the feeding tube but her husband
refused and said: "Terri told me she doesn't want to live that
way." The American law decided to unplug the feeding tube of
Terri. So Terri stayed with no food or water and waited for her
slow death, which happened on Thursday, March 31st.
From this point people are divided into two groups, the
parents' side and the husband's side. The thing that amazed me
is the essay of a student in the ELI. He was with removing the
tube of Terri Shiavo, not because of her suffering, but because
her husband is sick of being the person who cares for her! I'm
not saying that I'm against the court judgment, but I dislike the
student's point of view because it wasn't for Terri's best, and
this is big nonsense, at least to me. The ELI student said in his
essay, her husband is also a person who has his own life. Ok.
You're right, but what if I tell you this: Terri's husband won the
case of removing Terri Shiavo's feeding tube which was the
most hard and complicated situation in the States, why didn't he
ask for a divorce since the beginning? Then if her husband's
reason is to get rid of his wife then he shouldn't be the one who
decides what is better for her because he doesn't love her
enough. Her parents were the only people who might decide the
best for her because they lived with her for 20 years but her
husband lived with her 5 years. Then parents are the people
who will always love and care about their children even though
they grew up, but husbands sometimes cheat, lie or even hate.
Terri's parents are the ones who brought her to life and the ones
who raised her. Her husband saw her, loved her, and then
married her. Does that make him more responsible for Terri
than her real parents? One thing that made me mad at her
husband and parents too, is that while Terri was sick and dying,
they were fighting who will see her! When a big situation
happens, the thing that we used to consider big became small in
our point of view. But not for Terri's husband and parents; they
were fighting who will be in her room and even when Terri was
dying her husband didn't allow her parents to see her. Is that
what we call love? For me, I don't think so. If her husband
loved her then why did he always fight not to allow her parents
to see her while she was dying at the hospital? I'm not saying
that I'm against unplugging the tube but I'm against the reason
of taking the tube!
The guy said next in his essay that someone who lives
without his own identity is not living a real life. I would like to
explain to these type of people who never think about others
who they never know, that there are many kind of diseases,
cases and situations which make the person unable to express
their feelings, though they have their own identity, like
psychological problems, paralyses and other kinds of brain
damage. This thing doesn't mean that they deserve to die. What
I first heard about the Terri Shiavo case, I thought that she was
clinically died, but when I saw her on the TV smiling and
looking I thought: "Oh my God what a poor woman." I'm not
saying she shouldn't have died, but at least not starving to
death. Even though she couldn't think, she felt! If she breathes
and opens her eyes, she must be feeling. A doctor in an article
I've read said that he didn't know whether she was suffering or
not! In mercy we kill animals so why didn't we let her die in
peace. "Doctors or nurses cannot know whether she is now
satisfied or no." This is what the guy said in his essay, which he
wrote while Terri was still alive, and without the feeding tube,
and that supports the fact that no one knows what is moving
Anyway, Terri Shiavo has passed away and whether I
like it or not it happened. What I have to do is just pray to God
to keep our families, the loved ones and ourselves healthy, and
ask the government to stop controlling our lives which is not a
US property: "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we
are free at last."
Thanks from the Editor
Thank you students for sharing your writing with everyone. I
hope you enjoy reading your fellow students' essays and
paragraphs. Also thanks to Megan Forbes and the HUB for
arranging the gift certificates, to Todd Allen for publicizing this
issue of Student Voices, to the Reading/Writing instructors for
supporting their students in their writing, and to Leah Shapiro,
Eunice Johnson, Karen Owens, Hilary Hodge, and Todd Allen
for reading and evaluating the entries.
English Language Institute
PO Box 117051
315 Norman Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-7051, USA
Phone: (352) 392-3354
Fax: (352) 392-3744
ELI Student Voices 11