Trilingual And An English Mentor

Trilingual And An English Mentor

Christina Hofer

Perspectives Editor

cjhofer@goshen.edu

Although English is not Moses Kaelo’s first language, he seems to have a pretty good understanding of it. Kaelo is a senior psychology major with a minor in Spanish with hopes of tacking on an extra semester or two and majoring in nursing as well.

In addition to his studies, Kaelo recently started working as a writing mentor for the on-campus Writing Center.

“I am from a small, beautiful town called Narok in Kenya,” Moses said, and clarifies that Kenya is an independent country in Africa, since he is often asked if Kenya is the capital of Africa. His mother tongue is Maasai, and he began learning English in school starting in first grade. Additionally, he speaks Swahili, which he also learned in school in Kenya, and he started learning Spanish his second  year at Goshen.

This semester is Moses’s first as a writing mentor, although he has been a T.A. and a tutor on campus. Moses has several reasons as to why he applied for the writing center job.

“I find writing mentoring a great learning opportunity for me,” he said. “I find a lot of self-contentment from helping my fellow GC students learn and/or benefit from a skill that I have also learned from my teachers and professors.”

He is excited to begin his job and believes that “it is always great to share our gifts.”

Since English is not Moses’s first language, he can give encouraging advice for international students who also speak other languages and may struggle with English.

“Anyone learning a new language should first accept the fact that they are not perfect,” he said, “and it is okay not to be perfect. This acceptance will reduce the fear of imperfection and hence increase confidence in both conversational and written English. The great thing about being a non-native English speaker at Goshen is that everyone on campus not only pays attention to what you are saying but also to what you are trying to say. And this makes the whole struggle with English so much more manageable!”

Moses’s plan for his immediate future is to graduate with a nursing and psychology degree, which he feels will serve as a great starting point for his post-college journey.

“I’m not sure that I have my next journey well figured out yet,” he said, “but it will come  with time.”

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