Student Spotlight: Abdulla Al Mehdhar

Abdulla is 26 years old and came to Rochester from Yemen about a year ago. Abdulla is attending OACES (Office of Adult and Career Education Services) for English classes and HSE (High School Equivalency). He has a cousin whose wife attended OACES and referred the school.

Before coming to OACES, Abdulla was nervous; he only knew a little English. Although he was nervous, he was confident in the education based off the fact that most people who are interested in learning English come to OACES.

Abdulla first came to OACES for four months before COVID hit and classes went remote. At this time, he decided to not take classes remotely. It is very difficult to learn English virtually when you don’t understand the language to begin with. While at home however, Adbulla did not stop his own studies. He continued to watch English videos on YouTube to improve his English until he could come to school in person again. With the reopening of OACES this Fall, Abdulla has been able to join in-person classes again. Since attending classes, Abdulla has utilized his digital literacy skills in order to be successful.

Digital Literacy means understanding technology to Abdulla. The digital literacy skills he has recently gained are how to conduct research online and how to submit homework assignments. In Abdulla’s spare time, he likes to study English videos on YouTube. YouTube has always been a great source to learn English. Since the pandemic, more students are watching English videos online. Learning doesn’t stop when to leave the classroom. Abdulla has utilized his resources and made the best out of the situation. Learning English online may not be as easy as in person, but since the pandemic, a multitude of resources have popped up for people of all levels of English.

Since taking classes, Abdulla’s English has significantly improved. He now feels ready to get his HSE and go to MCC (Monroe Community College). Abdulla knows that his dedication to improving English an get HSE are going to drastically change his life in the future.

Abdulla has learned from this experience that is he very capable of being successful in the U.S. He has not given up and comes to school every day. Abdulla is most inspired by his family, especially his wife still living in Yemen. Abdulla aspires to go to MCC for Business Administration. However, he needs his HSE before he can attend.

Abdulla’s advice for others is to, “Come to OACES if you need help, all day every day…school is school, but you need to come here [OACES] to improve one’s English to get a better job”. Adbulla was faced with the harsh fact that his English needs improvement and he needs a high school diploma in order to get a better paying job to support himself and his wife back home. Abdulla made it very clear that the teachers and students at OACES make himself and others successful. The students and teachers are all in this together, it’s a community setting where everyone is looking out for another. Due to this nature in school, students tend to be more successful.

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