Student Spotlight: Gayane Samvelyan

Gayane declined to share a photo
but wanted to share her story and journey.

Gayane has been in Rochester for nearly 4 years. She has attended the conversation classes for over 25% of that time, steadily improving her speaking and listening skills. Gayane is working on her English so that she may engage in her community, meet new people, and feel comfortable in her new home.

When Gayane first attended the conversation classes, she was very worried: “I thought all students knew and spoke better English. For that, I thought maybe I need to stop the conversation class.” A concern shared by many who take the first step towards learning a new language. Despite this worry, Gayane persisted, saying “every time when I came to Literacy Rochester, I felt very [good].” She is now one of the few members still attending the weekly online class over the pandemic.

Reflecting on her learning process, Gayane acknowledged how hard she had to work: “For me, before [was] very difficult. Every word. I no understand nothing.” When asked about her motivation, Gayane remarked “when I improve my English, I feel very good about myself.” Having had the opportunity to work with Gayane myself for over the year, the improvements are clear. Consistency pays off.

Gayane offered some advice to those hoping to learn English after moving to Rochester: “People who come to Rochester, people who need to speak English, I understand the process is very hard. But you need to learn and listen; you will understand very well.” These words undoubtedly resonate with anyone who has been presented with the daunting task of learning a new language. Gayane continues to look forward, however, asking if she could do this interview a year from now to show how much she’s improved. “English for me is a very hard language. But, LR gave me a new way to learn new language. But I try, with my tutor, to improve my English.”

When students get the support they need, good things happen. Literacy Rochester contributes directly to our students’ growth. Our volunteers impact students’ lives week after week, helping adults in Monroe county achieve their goals and engage in their community for over 55 years.

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