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December 3, 2018

CMU-Q’s Language Bridges Provides Two-Way Learning

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, has celebrated eight years of learning and teaching as its latest Language Bridges session came to a close.
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Language Bridges is a student-led organization where CMU-Q students teach basic English language skills to QF service workers, many of whom work in janitorial, landscaping and facility maintenance. Over the past eight years, about 500 CMU-Q students have taught in Language Bridges to more than 1000 service workers.
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Silvia Pessoa, associate teaching professor of English at CMU-Q, developed the Language Bridges curriculum almost a decade ago. She noted that while the service workers improve their English language skills, CMU-Q students also learn and grow as they teach the eight-week course.

“I’m extremely proud of our volunteer students, who demonstrate a great deal of social responsibility and commitment to education,” Pessoa said. “These students provide a tremendous service to our community.”

The president of Language Bridges, Alanood Al-Thani, says that being involved with the program has shaped her career plans. “Being a teacher was rewarding because you see first-hand the change and excitement among learners,” she explained. “I joined the Business Administration Program because I wanted to do something entrepreneurial, and which also involves social responsibility. I have looked into other things, but I keep going back to a career that will have meaning.”

For Basma Mohamed, Language Bridges marked her first teaching experience. “I became dedicated to the program and went on to do extra work because I loved seeing the progress that was being made,” she said. “This has been a spectacular experience and I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Sara Hussein said her teaching experience enriched her academic journey by pulling her out of her comfort zone. “Teaching twice a week helped me learn a lot as an individual, particularly in the two-way exchange between teacher to learner,” she explained. “I hope to continue and to encourage others to be a part of this program and process.”

The Language Bridges program equips workers with basic English language skills. Over the past eight years, about 500 CMU-Q students have taught in Language Bridges to more than 1000 service workers.

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