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Adult Education's vital role in NYC

The Family Education Department at IRC in NY offers English classes to newly arrived adult refugees and immigrants in six-week cycles. Family Education programs are geared not only towards acquiring English language skills, but also equipping clients with the necessary life skills required to gain knowledge and confidence to navigate their new communities. The classes provide fundamental information and skills to help clients quickly learn various systems to access services and travel around the city on their own. Courses cover various topics and levels range from basic to more developed skills to ensure participants master essentials like how to fill out application, to how to use the subway, and make a doctor’s appointment.  

The IRC in NY's dedicated volunteer ESOL teachers encourage experiential learning and often assign ongoing projects to help participants apply what they learned in class to real world scenarios. For instance, participants are currently working on cookbooks filled with their own recipes to share with each other. Additionally, participants get hands-on experience through field excursions to the grocery store and pharmacy to practice their new skills in relevant environments.

Adult education classes are a lively, supportive and immersive experience for clients to gain language skills and confidence.

Photo: Zoe Pappis/IRC.

Soon after the class cycle starts, participants build friendships and bonds with one another as they work through class material. These peers share their experiences and laughs at situations they have faced since arrival, building a community while developing critical skills. They also help each other and the teacher, which make classes more interactive and fun.  

As a newly arrived adult refugee, and in most cases with a family to support, making the choice to attend English classes can be challenging and stressful knowing the urgency of finding jobs to support themselves and their families. Yet, our clients make a conscious decision of coming to class undeterred by the busy schedule and the frigid temperatures. Some attend classes while working different hours during the day, all in an effort to build new paths for educational and career successes in New York.

 To support the Adult Education program at the IRC in New York, please click here.