Cross-Cultural Relationships Still Happening at WashU, Amid the Pandemic


Written by: Lara Jennings, International Student and Scholar Advisor

Teach English as a Second Language (TeachESL) is a WashU student run learning club that pairs undergraduate English speaking tutors with any members of the WashU Community (Undergraduate/Graduate Students and University Employees) who are seeking to improve their English speaking/writing skills.

Co-President, Arko Dhar shared his thoughts on his experience with TeachESL:

The TeachESL program at WashU has been a rewarding experience for me over the past year.

Through participation in the program, I was able to develop a close friendship with a physical therapy student from South Korea, Lucky. I was able to help Lucky with topics ranging from grammar and oral presentations to common customs and slang words. The cross-cultural aspect has been particularly meaningful, and I have been able to learn a lot about Korea from Lucky—whether it be the language or pop culture. Being able to help out another person and form a meaningful bond in the process represent the main benefits that I have obtained from participation in the program.

Co-president, and a fellow tutor in the club, Belal Hammad, likewise notes his positive experience with the program. Through TeachESL, Belal formed a friendship with a law student from China, Jiang. Belal was able to “help her learn more about American culture and become more confident in speaking English.” Similar to my story, Belal recalls how Jiang taught him about her own culture, which was “a rewarding experience.” Altogether, TeachESL fosters cross-cultural communication between WashU students and allows members to form friendships with students they might not otherwise meet. It is a program that interested international students should definitely consider signing up for!

To join TeachESL, you can use the signup link