Abdullah Alanzi - Saudi Arabia

Portrait of English Language Center student Aalanzi Abdullah

I used a lot of resources that helped me find what’s best for me in terms of cost of living, safety, demographics, area, and what’s surrounding (nature). Only three schools met all my requirements. I opened the Gonzaga website, checked it out, and it was very easy to browse compared to other schools. It was easy to find my major and requirements and costs. I liked a photo I saw on the website of the International Day of Tolerance, where everyone was holding hands. It showed diversity. That’s how I chose Gonzaga.

Communicating with people was hard but easy now. I knew how to speak, how to write, how to read, but I couldn’t understand the accent. The American accent was hard. When I would leave the ELC, it was a totally different world. In the ELC, everyone was understanding of my lack of understanding and would slow down. In ESL, I didn’t only learn English, I learned about the culture a lot, especially in the higher-level classes. The lower levels taught me English, but higher levels opened up discussions about other deep, controversial topics in addition to English. That was very interesting for me.

The caring environment makes the ELC at Gonzaga special. The relationships here are not just teacher – student relationships, where the teacher gives you lectures and homework. There is communication. There are relationships outside of class during activities, events, in the lobby, during lunch. You talk about life, not only class.

Something I took away from here in general and the ELC was how to treat and deal with people who are not from my background. I plan to work in investments, and I believe more than half of those working with me will not be Saudis. I learned acceptance of others and how to be open-minded. These things were not directly taught, but I definitely gained these skills throughout my time here. You come to class, you see different people, you hear different languages and smell different kinds of food. I could see students from certain areas would uphold certain beliefs and perspectives during class conversations.

I’ll miss this place a lot. You probably see how connected I am to this place still. All the people that came to the ELC and graduated since still talk about the ELC and how much they love it and Gonzaga. When I come here, it’s about the memories and the current feeling.