The A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University is a bustling hub of activity during the city’s gorgeous summer months. The swell of Group Programs and college prep ESL students requires expert staff capable of handling multiculturalism and with strong administrative skill sets. A.C.E. offered a mirror of their own development as global citizens to three younger professionals who aided these groups and students the past two months.
Born in Iran, Danyal Lotfi moved suddenly to the U.S. when he was fourteen. Relearning “normal” at that age posed difficulties: “new country, with new people, a new culture, a new language, and a completely different lifestyle than what I had grown up with. One of my biggest challenges was communicating with my classmates and friends at school.” Four years later he enrolled at Western Washington University studying Political Science and Law, Diversity, and Justice, speaking perfect English and navigating the American social scene. During his summer college internship at the Language Institute, he said “I believe that organizations and programs such as A.C.E. are an essential part of creating global citizens and an environment where students from various parts of the world can come together, learn about the American culture, and engage one another in cross-cultural dialogue. I admire this mission and value the kind of work A.C.E. does. When I look at the students studying here, I see a younger version of myself and understand the struggles they are experiencing…with a little bit of courage and patience, I was able to adapt and build my Iranian-American identity.”
Another college student saw his experiences reflected when assigned to every scheduled event of an A.C.E. Group Program, the York-Benimaru Foundation High School Program. Takatsugu “Taka” Kawahara came from Yokohama, Japan and studied at Bellevue College, capping his one-year International Business Program with an A.C.E. internship. Glued to the Japanese students for classroom time, excursions, and meals, he said, “they spoke to me a lot about their hobbies, dreams and things they are interested in.” His own journey, started in fall 2012 at Bellevue, was echoed in their progress. “I am getting to be able to catch what she is saying in English!” they would tell him, “I can pronounce these words correctly!” Taka said, “those things do not seem a big deal for us but they are the happiest moments. It made me realize that the pleasure of learning is the most important when studying anything.”
New permanent office personnel at the Language Institute is Bosule “Bo” Park. Her parents grew up in Korea and moved to the U.S. as adults, specifically to Oahu, Hawaii. She was an English major at Kapiolani College and afterward traded one beautiful place for another. Eleven years ago she began to call the Emerald City home and most recently worked with outbound U.S. students for humanitarian and compassion work at another international local non-profit. Her additional strengths in digital and general marketing make her position as Office Coordinator an even better fit. “Working at A.C.E. is a recent dream come true. I’ve been wanting to work with international students without having to move abroad, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Even though I don’t directly work with the students, being around them makes me happy.”
A.C.E. provides cross-cultural professionals at every level of their career the opportunity to grow their skills and network while adding another stepping stone to their personal journey as we make the world their community.