Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wishing Gökay the best in his future

Gökay is about to head back to Istanbul after working on his English at NYLC.

After spending six months in New York City, Gökay Gokmen is ready to head back to Turkey to continue pursuing his goals and take the next step. He’s worked on his English here at New York Language Center and gained some confidence in his communication skills. Next on his agenda is to find work in manufacturing engineering—his major field of study at university. He will also continue his TOEFL preparation and shoot for scores that will get him accepted to a Master’s degree program.

“I’m not sure yet,” he confesses. “I might study for an M.B.A. or engineering management.”

Either of the two degrees will eventually allow him to work for an international company in his home country and be ready to travel abroad and use his English skills. If everything goes as planned, he will matriculate into a Master’s program next fall and be just a few years closer to putting his language skills to use in a professional environment.

Gökay understands that it is necessary to like a language in order to master it fast. He, himself, likes English because he enjoys talking to people from around the globe. Speaking with friends informally and using daily language, in fact, is the easiest skill for him to acquire and feel confident in. On the other hand, using grammar flawlessly in speech, as well as in writing, is a bit more challenging, and he realizes that he needs more work on it.

Gökay was born and raised in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and moved to Istanbul to enter university. He’s been studying English since he was 10 years old and actually studied at one-year preparatory English programs before starting both high school and college to get his English skills up to the schools' standards—30 percent of his college courses were conducted entirely in English.

The English courses he had in Turkey, however, were mostly focused on grammar with very little speaking practice. As a result, although he did well in school, he still lacked the confidence he wanted in using English on a day-to-day basis. With goals for a Master’s degree and to work in the international arena professionally, he wanted more lessons and more practice with English, so he decided to pack his bags and spend several months in New York and at New York Language Center to gain some mastery of the language.  

At NYLC, Gökay worked as a marketing intern, helping the school create videos on social media and getting the word out about our programs and activities. In class, he started in level 6 (middle intermediate) and is now in the TOEFL class to work on his test-taking skills. In his six months at our school, he noticed improvements in his reading abilities. Getting the main idea has gotten much easier although extracting the details is still a challenge. He also noticed that his listening skills have improved and have made watching his favorite tv series—Breaking Bad, Dexter, and The Mentalist to name just three—easier and more fun.
Gökay with fellow NYLC students Dilek
& Antonio on his left and teacher Phil
& staff member Chan to his right.

His advice to fellow students, especially in the lower levels, is to keep up with the class work. He noticed that because of the intensive nature of the programs, there is a lot to learn and students need to study and do homework every day to get the most benefit from their classes. Making friends and spending time with classmates, of course, is also important. Gökay is happy to have met several friends at NYLC, with whom he’s practiced his speaking skills on a daily basis.

Gökay wishes he could have spent more time with native speakers during his stay in New York and is now thinking of ways to remedy this when he gets back to Turkey. Fortunately, Istanbul has plenty of English-speaking foreigners on student exchange programs, so meeting someone and keeping his English skills up shouldn’t be a problem and should help him practice and build on what he has learned and acquired here.

We hope he continues to improve his English skills and use it perfectly one day, and we wish him the best in all his future endeavors.

-- written by Joe Yu, ESL instructor 

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