Faculty blog by Matt Pezsek, APP Instructor
To the new students of the Academic Preparatory Program (APP), welcome and congratulations on starting an exciting new chapter of your life at AUIS! Just as students start their new life here, a new semester has started in APP. Every semester brings change and excitement for not only students but also teachers.
Recently, APP has started Foundations and Access. Foundations was started to help students with lower English abilities improve their speaking and listening skills whereas Access is for students who will start their APP experience at a later time. When I first arrived in February 2013, neither of these programs existed. It is amazing to see how much APP has grown in a relatively short span of time. I believe it is a testament to not only the popularity of AUIS as the premier institution of higher learning in the region, but it is also proof that students from the KRG and Iraq are aware that APP is the best program for learning to read, write, and speak English at a high level.
As a teacher who usually teaches Level 1, I am fortunate to be one of the first teachers students meet when they enter APP. When the students first arrive, it is fascinating to see the variety of students AUIS is fortunate to get. Students from all over the KRG and Iraq come to study here, and many of the students have either lived or have family who live in diverse places, such as the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Finland, Norway, and the United States to name just a few. In addition, even though all students enter into APP to learn English, many of them speak additional languages. In addition to their native Kurdish or Arabic, I’ve had students who are fluent in French, German, Finnish, Norwegian, and Dutch. In a way, APP and by extension, AUIS is like a mini United Nations with a wide variety of backgrounds. Yet, despite this diverse population, the students are all united in the fact they have the same desire to have an American-style liberal arts education in English that will prepare them for their lives in the region or abroad. This desire has always been a constant I’ve noticed each semester when I meet new students for the first time, and I ask them why they chose AUIS.
AUIS is like a mini United Nations with a wide variety of backgrounds.
Of course, learning in a foreign language is not easy, and many students often worry they will not be able to keep up with the teachers who only speak English. However, new APP students need not fear! A vast majority of current AUIS undergraduates and graduates went through APP at some point in the past and succeeded. New APP students will pass into the undergraduate program and graduate from AUIS, too!
Even though APP is a tough program, help is never far away! New students can ask past APP students who are now in the undergraduate program about their experience, and they can also ask current APP students. Most importantly, students can ask any APP teacher for help. It doesn’t have to be just the teachers they have. All the APP teachers enjoy interacting with students and are willing to help in any way they can. Ultimately, everyone (fellow students, teachers, and administrators) in APP and AUIS has the same goal of wanting to help students succeed.
This new semester in APP promises to be exciting, and I look forward to helping the students enter into this new chapter of their life.