Drawing Inspiration from Our Community: stories from MB school
Oxford Omnia Deputy Director of Education Simren Sekhon introduces us to two students from the Matteo Bertero English Centre, Kinh Mon, Vietnam.
Xuan is a 17-year old high school student in Kinh Mon. She studied at MB English Centre IELTS class and was a teaching assistant for the children’s class. This role is perfect for her as she is patient, energetic and very kind. Her goal is to study in New Zealand. MB supported her with her application and she has written about her experience as a TA and her role in the planning and realisation of MB events throughout her application. She worked really hard practising for the IELTS, taking the donated MB laptop home to study further. Her hard work paid off when she achieved 6.0 in her IELTS and a 6.5 for her speaking, surprising herself with how far she has come. Xuan has been an amazing asset to the MB team as she is hardworking and instrumental in events organisation at MB. She previously led a flowerpot workshop, where students were encouraged to bring in old clothes and towels to be transformed into plant pots using cement. The event was creative and fun, just like Xuan. Our previous project manager, Amelia, sat down with Xuan for an interview, which we’d like to share with you below!
How has MB enhanced your life?
MB is the first English Centre I have worked in. Before MB I was more introverted and didn’t participate in many extra-curricular activities, but now I am an active TA, supporting and running additional activities at MB, and I am a founding member of the first English Club at Kinh Mon High School. My teacher realised that being a TA at MB developed my skills in events organisation and helping others to improve their English, so they provided support for the English club.
Whilst volunteering at MB, I made new friends with many people; students in other classes, volunteers from around the world. The volunteers provided me with support in writing my motivation letter to study abroad in New Zealand. I had actually never communicated with foreigners before. When I first arrived for the Teaching Assistant interview with Amelia, I was so nervous because I thought my English speaking skills were not good enough to be a TA. Working here and having many conversations with international volunteers has really helped to improve my English skills though, which are getting better and better every day. Especially, it’s improved my confidence! I’ve been able to improve my English speaking skills and score higher marks of 6.5.
Additionally, attending the IELTS class helped with practicing for the exam. When I had difficulty in IELTS, I was invited to MB for extra practice with Nam, who helped me to improve my skills despite his busy schedule – he always found time to help me. I feel very grateful for his help; he would give me advice and corrections any time, day and night! He has inspired me by sharing his experience with applying to study abroad, and it has motivated me greatly to come back to Vietnam to improve the country after my studies. Before meeting Nam I was more interested in working abroad but now I see the potential in Vietnam and have become more patriotic.
What’s your goal in the future?
When I was younger, I wanted to become a teacher, but now I want to be an entrepreneur and start my own business. First, I want to study abroad in New Zealand; I hope to study Business Administration and Economics. Following this, I would like to work abroad to learn more and develop my skills then come back to Vietnam to help develop the country. Before I come back to Vietnam, I would love to travel and volunteer to gain more knowledge and help others to learn English.
What do you hope for MB in the future?
- I hope it will continue to grow and attract more disadvantaged students so they can learn English and better their future – help more poor students to study English.
- I hope more volunteers will come to Kinh Mon so we can learn more about different countries and cultures. I hope that future volunteers will stay in Kinh Mon for a long time so we don’t have to say too many emotional goodbyes. This will be better for the students too, as they become familiar with the pronunciation, accent and build a stronger relationship with the volunteers.
- Kinh Mon is becoming polluted so in the future I hope the team at MB can plant more trees and create a better environment, inspiring others to follow their lead.
- I hope in the future MB finds some investors and sponsors to improve the facilities at MB – for example, providing more computers and projectors. Investment can help make MB more beautiful with a nice garden, BBQ area and better toilet facilities. Adding smaller tables and chairs would also make it a more accessible space for younger students.
Phuc is 15 years old, living in Thuong Quan, and has studied at Kinh Mon High School. Alongside this, he has also studied at MB English Centre as a student in the IELTS class. Given his excellent English skills and helpful nature, he has also been a TA at MB English Centre. He provided a supportive role in the English classes taught by MB volunteers at the local Thuong Quan Secondary School – a place he enjoys returning to, to give back and help others receive a quality education. Amelia also sat down with Phuc for a short interview, in which he discusses how his new laptop has added to his learning at MB, which we hope you’ll enjoy below!
How has attending MB benefited your life?
It provided me with the opportunity to meet new people. I have made many new friends at MB and I have enjoyed various social activities with the staff, students and volunteers – they even helped me learn to swim at the local waterpark! Here, I also get to practice my English more often, especially in conversation with native speakers. In this way, I can learn more about different countries. Being a TA has also helped me to gain more experience and confidence in teaching.
How has the laptop benefited your life?
Sometimes I use my laptop to help with my homework, especially if I am working on projects and presentations for school. I also use my laptop to watch English movies and listen to English songs, I love music! It also helps me to communicate with friends; we have many chats on Facebook and it makes it easier to receive information about my classes and social activities at MB. Having a laptop at home has even helped me to attend some online English competitions – grammar and pronunciation competitions. I participated in the IOE competition held by VTC company in Vietnam, which is a competition held to test English ability, mostly grammar, pronunciation and listening skills.
What do you want to do in the future?
An English Interpreter!
I’m sure you’ll agree with us that Xuan & Phuc are incredible inspirations for their immediate community and for us, no matter where you may be reading this from. Without doubt, they are beacons of hope for what quality learning can enable in ambition, confidence and progress – a route we dream of for all our students, in their individual paths.
We are privileged and humbled to have had a part in their story and look forward to seeing the incredible things each and everyone one of them will continue to achieve and enable in the world.
Sending everyone our best wishes of health & hope in the meantime,
Simren Sekhon, Deputy Director of Education, on behalf of MB English Centre.