Fulbright scholar Clareine Nzeza N'lambi tells us how the IELP program broadened her horizons and prepared her for her master's program in Education.
NAME: Clareine Nzeza N'lambi
HOMETOWN: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
PROGRAM: Intensive English Language Program
CENTER: How did you hear about Temple?
CLAREINE: I am Fulbright scholarship student, which is an award that is given by the US Department of State. I was selected from my country and as part of the program, I was required to attend a pre-academic program at Temple before starting my master’s degree.
CENTER: What was your first impression when you visited?
CLAREINE: I thought that people were really friendly! When I came during Orientation, I finally met Emily and Courtney, after I had been emailing them when I was in the Congo. I appreciated Orientation week because we learned a lot through visits and tours.
CENTER: What helped you improve your English?
CLAREINE: I was not really confident about writing in English when I was in my country. When I arrived here, I took a writing class with Kathleen and I became more confident. When she gave a writing assignment, I felt like I could write naturally without struggling.
CENTER: What did you do in your service learning class?
CLAREINE: We visited many service institutions like SHARE food program, a homeless shelter and a nursing home. I also did my own project where I worked with Cradles to Crayons, which is an organization that works with disadvantaged children in Philadelphia. I was impressed to see hundreds of volunteers coming from churches and family organizations to pack food and clothes for children. It was really nice to see that American people have a sense of giving back to the community and helping others.
CENTER: What was your favorite thing that you saw or did while at Temple?
CLAREINE: My favorite thing was visiting Old City in Philadelphia. I learned about how the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia, and I felt like I was in a very historic city. I also participated in the 4th of July parade. It was really fun to see how American people celebrate Independence Day!
CENTER: If I had only 24 hours to spend in your home country, what would you tell me to see or do?
CLAREINE: It is located in Central Africa, so we have a lot of mountains, which is great if you like hiking. We also have one type of monkey called the bonobo - they are only found in my country!
CENTER: What’s your favorite traditional meal from your home country?
CLAREINE: I like Pondu, which is like cassava, a vegetable leaf that we pound and mix with palm oil and rice.
CENTER: Did you have a favorite American food?
CLAREINE: It was my last day of the program and I thought, “I cannot leave Philadelphia without trying a cheesesteak!” And I liked it!
CENTER: What have you been doing since you finished the program?
CLAREINE: Right now I am in St. Cloud, Minnesota where I started my master’s degree in Educational Leadership. I have been passionate about education since I was very young. My dream is to one day become the Minister of Education in my country. I believe that education is the base of everything in society and we must provide education to children, and I am a Global Youth Ambassador for the Congo. I have to take this opportunity to learn more while I’m in the U.S.
CENTER: What was it like being in a program with people from so many different countries?
CLAREINE: It was a good way for me to improve my English. There were classmates who were not all on the same level, which taught me to be patient when I had to learn to explain myself more than once and use other words. It tested my vocabulary. Also, my roommate was from Russia and she taught me how to prepare for living in Minnesota, because in the Congo we don’t have winter!
CENTER: What was your favorite part of the program and what advice would you give to incoming students?
CLAREINE: Service learning was my favorite class because I was able to go out and interact with native American people, which was the best way for me to improve my language. I would tell other students to come to the U.S. and to not be afraid. The instructors are really kind and patient, even if you have a really low level of English. Just be open-minded and ready to receive comments from others. You have something to share about your own country to build relationships.