Student Spotlight: Tatiana

Tatiana came to Rochester from Peru in July 2023, joining her husband so he could attend the Simon Business School. A health sciences professor in her home country, she knew how crucial English proficiency would be during her time here. No less than two weeks after her arrival in the United States, she reached out to Literacy Rochester for help with improving her English. 

Tatiana’s ultimate goal was to gain more speaking fluency in English- she could already read and write quite a bit in English, but felt her spoken English was insufficient. By September of that year, she was matched with Literacy Rochester tutor, Dave Perry. 

Tatiana and Dave meet together once a week, and work on communicative English. One of the biggest obstacles Tatiana described in learning English is a lack of confidence- the fear of being misunderstood because of her accent or miscommunicating altogether. Here in the United States especially, a lot of our language requires a knowledge of American traditions and pastimes. When she and Dave work together, their lessons in spoken English often became dual lessons in American culture or history. Tatiana, being a naturally curious and determined individual, wanted to understand as much as she could about the language she was learning. One of the best parts of the one-to-one tutoring program, she says, is that she can focus on very specific lessons, and feels like she has room to grow. She gives this advice to her fellow English-language learners: 

“It is okay to make errors. Build your confidence. Keep trying to speak in English, or you will not improve. Take advantage of the opportunity to speak English.” 

Working with Dave has made Tatiana vastly more confident in her speaking abilities and she has expanded her English vocabulary greatly since they began working together. Tatiana now speaks with a comfortable fluency; engaging in casual English conversation and using English slang. 

“[Literacy] means being able to live comfortably in America. It has made life here a lot easier; being able to speak and read in English. It makes life easier everywhere—people speak English everywhere.” 

Eventually, Tatiana wants to return to health sciences in Peru, and she hopes to use the skills she has acquired here in the U.S to help people back home.

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