SOLES Student Spotlight: Aziz Alkhorasi '20 (MEd Student), TESOL

Aziz Alkhorasi
begin quoteRemind yourself that you are here for a reason and that this is your journey and everyone around you is learning with you and from you as much as you are learning with them and from them.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an international graduate student from Saudi Arabia. Growing up, English was a huge passion for me, even though it was challenging to find opportunities to use it. None of my family spoke English and schools were not as empathetic to my individual differences as I wished them to be. I kept planting my love for the language by keeping journals, and writing stories and poetry. For years, I dreamed of coming to the United States and living the full experience (getting a great educational experience, building a community, and having my individual differences fully embraced). After completing undergraduate school in my country, I started working as a TA for two universities and practiced teaching English to freshmen students with diverse goals and majors. I finally got a scholarship from my last TA job to complete my graduate school in the United States and that was when I decided to come to San Diego. I started working as a graduate assistant here at USD and my work focused on changemaking, which is another great interest of mine. 

Tell us about your SOLES degree program and why you chose it.

I came across USD's TESOL Master's Program while looking for teaching programs to enroll in. I chose this program in particular because I wanted to enrich my teaching expertise and experience so I can support my students best. 

Who has been your favorite SOLES professor, and/or what has been your favorite class?

It's hard to choose, but my favorite class is a tie between EDUC-529 Language, Literacy and Culture with Dr. Alexandrowicz and EDUC-548 Special Topics in ESL with Dr. Molina and Dr. Boruah because I am very interested in culturally responsive teaching and EDUC-529 was a great way to get us to start thinking about CRT. On the other hand, EDUC-548 allowed me to tutor culturally diverse students and that was memorable to the point that it inspired the topic of my capstone project.

Have you completed your international requirement? If yes, where did you go, what did you study, etc? If not, where do you plan to go?

I went to Madrid, Spain, with Dr. Alexandrowicz to study changemaking in K-12. It was one of the best moments in my life and my love for changemaking was blooming throughout the program. 

What do you do to you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

I try to do things that I enjoy like yoga, writing poetry and stories, and some self-care. I found that writing my daily agendas on a board was helpful to balance between work and life because I got to write self-care agenda and work agenda. 

What are your post-SOLES goals and aspirations? 

I inspire to be a mentor for my future students to motivate them through their academic and personal achievement. I plan to keep learning from my students and from my colleagues to grow both academically and personally. I aspire to bring a fresh perspective to my future job and implement changemaking and student-centered teaching. Finally, I aspire to keep doing the things I love and to stay true to myself. 

If you could offer an incoming student advice, what would it be?

When it gets tough, don't be hard on yourself. Remind yourself that you are here for a reason and that this is your journey and everyone around you is learning with you and from you as much as you are learning with them and from them. 

Final thoughts?

Although I am not a member of any of the student organizations, I often attend events held by student organizations, such as the international student organizations. I modeled for the cultural fashion show and recited a few poems for the open mic events held by USD. 

Contact:

Amanda Gonzales
amanda@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4539

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