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Abbie, Communication Consultant

The Speaking Center has provided me with amazing opportunities to grow as a student and leader. When training to become a consultant, my weekly shadowing hours were often spent in  30 minutes sessions with Interlink students. These students were always so excited to practice their English speaking skills outside of the classroom. After leaving these consultations l was often incredibly inspired by these student’s stories and constantly learned so much about different cultures and perspectives.


After I became an official consultant I began leading Interlink consultations on my own. One instance in particular had a great affect on my knowledge of communication.


I was recently provided the opportunity to work with an Interlink student visiting the Speaking Center for the first time. He was understandably nervous since he didn’t know what to expect, and I was nervous as well because this was my first consultation with a new Interlink student. Because he had only been studying English in the United States for about two months, I realized very quickly that I had to be aware of my pace, language, expressions, and gestures. These were all skills I had learned before in other consultations, but I never realized how attentive I had to be to myself. At one point I was even kindly asked to slow down in order to be understood. I had not even realized I had been speaking so fast! Through a lot of carefully-worded sentences and deciphering of body language on both his and my part, the speaker and I were finally able to meet in the middle and actually hold an interesting discussion about our similarities.


As I continue to practice my communication skills, I have made an effort to spend more time working with interlink students. This opportunity has allowed me to grow and be more mindful of others. Things that might come easily to me could be difficult for others to understand and vise versa, even if English is their first language. Ultimately I learned that even outside of the Speaking Center communication is key, and that it takes time and dedication to make sure everyone is heard and understood. I love working with Interlink students in the Speaking Center and can’t wait to continue growing alongside them in the future.

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