Alumni IEC Teachers and Staff International Student Life Student Success

Voices of IEC: Meet Our Student Aide, Marjan!

June 27, 2017

What is life like when you move to the United States? Ask an IEC@DVC Student Aide!

IEC@DVC Student Aides assist in the classroom, provide students help with language learning, and offer guidance on adjusting to life in a new country. Today we are speaking with Marjan, our Student Aide from Iran. Student Aides like Marjan are an inspiration to our students, who often share the same goals of becoming fluent in English and graduating from an American university.

Let’s meet Marjan. You will notice that some words are underlined: these are phrasal verbs Marjan casually used in her interview. The definitions of these phrasal verbs are at the bottom of this article.


IEC@DVC: Tell us a little about yourself and your education, specifically with English. 

I began learning English in Iran in pre-school, and after going to school in the US during 1st, and 7-8 grades (at a boarding school in Long Island), and then back home to an International American High School, I came to the US for University. I received my BS in Business Administration and Master’s in Urban Planning from Boston University. I eventually settled in CA, and later got an MS in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Needless to say I love learning.

IEC@DVC: Wow! And after you graduated, how did you end up at IEC@DVC?

I worked in Real Estate, and design for a while. Later, as my son was growing up, I began helping out in his classrooms, until I began teaching English to Afghani elders at AEA in Fremont about 10 years ago, and to young, adult students in Oakland, for the past three years on a volunteer basis. That’s when I decided to go back to school for a certificate in teaching English. In 2016, I enrolled at UC Berkeley for a certificate in TESOL. I will complete the practicum next semester.

IEC@DVC: What do you do at our school?

I have been helping teachers here at IEC since Sept. 2016, I’m like an extra set of hands, eyes and ears in the classroom who can possibly bring a different perspective on what is taught to students. I help out when I’m asked.

IEC@DVC: Can you tell us what you like best about being a Student Aide?

I love working with International students, and enjoy seeing their progress. I learn so much from them as well, about their culture, their ways, and about being young adults. It’s very rewarding when you see you’ve made a difference and have empowered someone on their path. I also love the environment at IEC and learning from all the unique and qualified teachers here. Their experiences are such a valuable resource for me.

IEC@DVC: Do you have any advice for new students?

My suggestion for students entering is to try and brush up on their English as much as they can as this is a fast-paced environment, if they’re serious about going to college in the U.S.

Useful Phrasal Verbs

During our interview with Marjan, we used these phrasal verbs. Do you know what they mean?

End up

Definition: To arrive somewhere (often by accident); to be in a situation that probably was not planned.

Example: And after you graduated, how did you end up at IEC@DVC?

Example: We wanted to go to the beach, but it started raining so we ended up going to the movies instead.

Help out

Definition: To help (a person or a situation).

Example: I help out when I’m asked.

Example: Could you please help me out?

Brush up on

Definition: To practice/improve again after not doing an activity for a long period of time.

Example: My suggestion for students entering is to try and brush up on their English as much as they can . . .

Example: I need to brush up on my academic English: it’s been a long time since I was in the classroom!

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