Born in Vietnam, Ngan has lived in the United States for several years. She first lived in Chicago but joined family in Chattanooga two years ago. Ngan dreams of becoming a dental hygienist, and most U.S. dental schools require the TOEFL. Needing to improve her English, Ngan researched English as a Second Language programs online. “I saw that the ESL program at UTC was highly recommended by former students,” she says, so she enrolled.

In class, Ngan receives personalized instruction to improve her language and test-taking skills. ESL students at UTC take content-based classes on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Other courses include TOEFL prep, public speaking, functional English, and comparative culture. “I really feel like the ESL program is preparing me for the TOEFL. It goes further than just the basic skills,” Ngan says. “I took English classes at another college, and they did not go past the basics of grammar, writing, reading, and speaking.”

Outside the classroom, Ngan enjoys exploring Chattanooga and hanging out with friends. She likes the city’s climate and atmosphere. “Chattanooga isn’t too cold in the winter, and it isn’t too busy,” she says. “I like hiking and seeing all of the trees.” The vibe here is different from in Chicago, she says. “I felt rushed [there], and the weather was too cold for me. I feel like life is calmer in Chattanooga.”

Now Ngan is one step closer to passing the TOEFL, continuing her education, and achieving her dreams. After one semester in the program, she suggests the ESL Institute to students interested in preparing for the TOEFL or learning English for other reasons. “I can recommend UTC because I like it a lot,” she says. “I feel more confident after taking the ESL program and feel that it improved my ESL skill a lot.”

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