Student Highlight | Tania Huitrón | (Former) Advanced English Student
We recently caught up with a former student, Tania Huitrón, and found out how life is going for her post Excel. She first started studying at Excel in September 2015 because she wanted to improve her English in order to get a Master’s Degree in The United States. It also helped her both personally and professionally since her work in Mexico as the academic coordinator of a Spanish school for foreigners required her to take workshops in English with other teachers from schools around the world. She says that studying at Excel was beneficial not only for furthering her proficiency in the language, but also because the teachers helped her apply the language to real life. “The methodology used by the school has been very useful because it also helped me to lose the fear of speaking in English in front of a group.” She explains, “We practice a lot in class with the presentations of projects in front of our classmates. So in a way, I got more confidence to express myself in English.”
“The methodology used by the school has been very useful because it also helped me to lose the fear of speaking in English in front of a group.”
Her favorite part about studying at Excel was meeting people from different parts of the world and knowing their stories and sharing hers. “Learning English at Excel has given me the opportunity to form a multicultural group of friends.” Although being a Spanish teacher gives her an advantage on how to learn grammar, she says the most difficult part of learning a language is expressing herself fluidly and understanding idiomatic expressions. In order to gain extra practice in this area, she and several other students started getting together after school to have lunch, or to form a study group. Since everyone was from a different country, they had to speak in English. The four of them bonded and found that in a place where none of them have any other family in town, they could share stories of their lives, families, and marriages. After three years, they still try to get together every week and celebrate birthdays and special days together. They communicate daily through a WhatsApp group they started while in school.
The Best Experience Tanya had in Dallas
The best experience Tania has had in Dallas is meeting her travel, adventure, and life partner. The second time she returned to study at Excel in January 2017, she attended a birthday party and her life changed. She met a handsome, kind, lovely, and funny Argentinian guy who had been living in Dallas for 4 years already. They had a great connection and spent all their time together while she was studying here. He showed her a part of the city that she had not known until then, a city that she fell in love with because of all the cultural, social and outdoor activities it has to offer. After a year of having a long distance relationship that included many trips back and forth between Dallas, Mexico and Argentina, they are now married and living in Dallas. Of course her group of friends that she made at Excel came to celebrate the wedding with her, even incorporating some Brazilian flare to the dancing at the reception.
Tania describes herself as kind, authentic, and self-driven. She is the type of person who travels to Amsterdam to attend the concert of her favorite band, The Lumineers. If you haven’t figured it out already, one of her favorite hobbies is traveling, especially with her husband – they definitely have the wanderlust bug! She also enjoys exploring different restaurants in Dallas and discovering new dishes and flavors of exotic foods from around the world. Dallas also has plenty of concerts for her to enjoy, so she doesn’t always have to spend ten plus hours in a plane to enjoy a good show. Now that she is living in Dallas, Tania wants to get her certification to teach and continue her career of teaching Spanish as a foreign language. She also plans on getting a certification in leadership because her goal is to get a job as an academic coordinator for a Spanish language school.
“…Laughter was our universal language. It was very special.”
She reminisces about her days at Excel saying that every day was fun and meaningful. “I liked the teachers a lot and I loved learning with other students because there was always something interesting to learn from the cultures of others.” One memory that really stuck with her was a Halloween party when everyone raced to get a chair in their costumes in order to win the game. “I remember that I laughed a lot with all the students. It was a connection between all at the same time – laughing without being able to stop. At that precise moment, no matter the original language of each person, we were able to communicate in English. Laughter was our universal language. It was very special.”
Tania’s recommendation for new students is that they have an open mind to learn, not only English, but also about new cultures and the country where they are studying. “Have an open mind to listen to what the teacher and other students have to share. Studying abroad is the best opportunity to grow, and the best opportunity to practice the language in real life. Do not be afraid to live in complete immersion.”