English at Work students often enter the classroom with different levels of exposure to the English language. When Suzen Arecius began taking classes with her Whole Foods Market cohort last March, she knew very little English prior to her first lesson. She tells us, “Before, I was shy. I did not know any English. Now, I feel more comfortable speaking with others.”
Originally from Haiti, Suzen moved to Fairfield, Connecticut in 2017. Her immigration journey was driven by a search for financial security and more job opportunities. In 2020, she began working with the Whole Foods Market Sanitation Department. “I love my work. I am able to help the customers and my coworkers. If they need me to do something, I am able to help them.”
In 2021, Suzen enrolled in English at Work through her position with Whole Foods Market. She describes to us how this course has improved her language skills, “This class was very helpful because I learned more grammar and vocabulary. I can now use the past, present, and future verb tenses!”
While Suzen enjoys her current position, she shared with us that she is passionate about cooking, and hopes to work in the Prepared Foods Department in the future. She mentions that improving her English fluency is an important step towards achieving her career aspirations: “I need to be able to communicate to my team and to customers. I understand English better and am confident in speaking, but I have more to learn.”
Suzen appreciates that her employer made it possible for her to take the English at Work course. “I thank Whole Foods for the opportunity they gave me to learn English. I would like to keep learning.” She hopes to continue her studies not only to advance in the workplace, but to support her daughter’s future education as well. “I need to learn more English and understand more. My daughter is two-years-old. When she goes to school, I want to be able to speak to anybody.” We know Suzen’s hard work and dedication will help her achieve her goals.
Congratulations on completing the English at Work course, Suzen!
The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Kathryn Keyser, Integration Programs intern, for capturing this story.