For Jenifer Fedun, graduating from the MTESOL program will enable her to pursue her ultimate dream: opening doors for college-aged and adult learners who have immigrated to the United States in pursuit of an education.
“My mom was an immigrant to this country, and she successfully learned English,” Jenifer says. “I have a really big heart for people who are trying to learn English to pursue a degree or gain the skills necessary to be successful here.”
Jenifer previously taught English as a Second Language (ESL) overseas as a volunteer, where she discovered she enjoyed the challenge of teaching older students.
“It can be so frustrating to learn a new language as you get older because it doesn’t come as easily as when you’re a child,” she says. “I think the reason why I enjoy teaching to this age group so much is because I get a lot of satisfaction from being a comforting source of information and knowledge. I can tell them it’s OK, this will take time, but that’s why I’m here.”
A couple years after earning her undergraduate degree in English from California Baptist University, Jenifer began looking for affordable graduate schools with a high-quality reputation, and came across ASU Online. As a self-motivated, organized and diligent student, she knew the move to online would be a fairly seamless transition.
“I like working by myself, and the quality of ASU Online is pretty incredible,” she says. “My interaction with professors is equivalent to how I felt during my time as an undergraduate on campus. At ASU, you get the feeling people care about not only your success in the program, but also your success afterward. They are already thinking about your next step before you even get there.”
Fellow MTESOL student and U.S. Navy veteran Nicholas Daniels has also found his experience with ASU Online lives up to its promise.
“The way they deal with veterans is really good,” he says. “The Pat Tillman Veterans Center knows what it’s doing, and you can always count on them. With the actual classes, I like the flexibility and that most professors are available to answer questions within 24 hours.”
As the great-grandson of immigrants from the Czech Republic, Nicholas was exposed to the Czech language through his grandmother, but did not learn it when he was young because she believed English was all her descendants needed to know. After getting out of the military, Nicholas decided to move to Prague to reconnect with his roots, and began teaching ESL.
“I’ve always been interested in linguistics and foreign language,” he says.
In December 2017, Nicholas graduated from ASU with an online bachelor’s degree in art history. He decided to pursue his master’s because he felt it would open even more doors, and while he isn’t sure if he wants to pursue a permanent ESL teaching position upon graduation, he has still found huge value in what he has learned.
“The way the curriculum is designed makes it fascinating,” he says. “I also feel it’s useful knowledge for jobs in translation and copywriting.”
To be successful as an online learner, Nicholas relies on his military background — and the online library.
“The military really helped me learn how to study properly,” he says. “Failing wasn’t an option, and that helped a lot with discipline. I also use the online library all the time. In the Czech Republic, you can’t find books in English.”
Being an online student who lives an ocean away also has its perks.
“It gives me the opportunity to travel while still doing my schoolwork,” he says. “I went to London for a week and studied at a museum cafe, which was a lot of fun.”
Learn more about ASU Online’s Master of Teaching English to speakers of other languages degree program.