I have always dreamt of gettingan MA from a renowned U.S. university. I have done a lot of researchin order to find a program that will meet my expectations and make meproud of being part of it. My program of choice is “Appliedlinguistics program”, which is offered at USF. I came to the fall 2014, and my only goal was to be admitted to the USF andstart my program immediately. During the first semester, I workedhard at INTO in order to complete the admission requirements andapply to the Applied Linguistics program. When I was a pathwaystudent, I took two graduate courses in a different school, and Ithought that I was learning, but I did not realize the differenceuntil I got into the Applied Linguistics program.

Honestly, I had learned nothingtill I got into the program. Here I have learned, gained, and gotfirmed. Initially, I experienced a hard time trying to fit into theprogram I struggled, fought, and I accomplished. No one can be inthe program and lie back. There is nothing you can do except the hardwork. The more I paid, the more I gained. The linguistics faculty wasthe key to my success. They stood beside me and gave me the supportthat I needed. They were informative and updated in terms of thelatest studies and fields.

When I started the program, Ihad five years of ESL teaching experience. I applied to the programbecause I knew that it was the only one that could help me to developmyself as an ESL teacher in theory and practice. I joined the programwith an open mind to receive, develop, and be a better ESL teacher.Now that I’m doing my teaching internship, I can see thedifference. I can see the benefit of being refined, educated, andknowledgeable in terms of language teaching based on theories andresearch. Back home, I used to teach English with no rational orresearch-based reference. I taught English intuitively, thinking thatI was creative and smart.

After undertaking the program,all what I am doing has a justification and reasoning, since it isresearch-based and there is a purpose and approach for every singleact inside the classroom. Before I could start teaching, I wasconcerned that I would never be able to get rid of mygrammar-translation approach that I used to teach grammar with.However, I have now discovered and have been told by my mentor that Ihave adopted inductive and communicative language in teaching, ableto integrate the four language skills, and reinforce the student`sacquisition of the target forms. My primary concern in every singleclass is that my students should be competent in each language skilland should be assessed in this term as well. Now that I know what mygoal in an ESL class is I will diagnose the student needs, give thestudents clear explanation, and assess their progress.

Each course I took in the programprovided me with the basics of theory and research, which helped memake information applicable through relevance and practice. I havepracticed being a teacher (micro teaching projects), and I went intotwo different roles, namely being a student sometimes, and a teacherin other times. The observation internship helped me see differentclasses and meet different teachers. It really helped me apply thetheory and research in classrooms I learned different teachingstyles, identified the cons and pros of each. It also helped medevelop my own personal teaching philosophy. The teaching internshipwas the answer to all my questions, worries, and fears. Theinternship was the consequence of all what I am implementing in myteaching internship. I was able to apply what I have learned from theprogram into a real classroom, where I have support and guidance. Itis absolutely the hard shell that I need to finalize my masterprogram.

Now that I am graduating, Ibelieve that the program has changed me a lot, and I will never stopat this point. I will develop myself and focus on my job as ateaching assistant at King Khalid University. I will support thedepartment back home with what I have learned, and I am sure thatthey will be proud of me and the progress that I have reached so far.I will work hard to develop myself in terms of research and I promisethat one day I will be a presenter at AAAL side by side with theoutstanding applied linguists. USF applied linguistics program makesme proud of myself, and I will definitely make them proud of whatthey produced.