Black Hawk College offers free, adult ESL classes throughout the summer

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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) -- For some refugees and immigrants who now call the Quad Cities home, it isn't always easy to learn a new language, while also working a job.

Black Hawk College offers free, adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at its Adult Outreach Center in Rock Island and its other campuses.

The ESL program includes 10 different levels, ranging from basic ESL classes where students learn grammar, reading, and writing, to more advanced classes.

"My ultimate hope is that they'll be able to get enough english that they'll be able to participate in our culture economically, socially... That they can advocate for their own children educationally, so that their children get a good education," said Amanda Woodruff, an ESL instructor.

Coordinators say helping students learn English will hopefully open doors for them in the United States.

"So if they can communicate with their neighbors and their children's schools and also if they can communicate better to get a better job or to go onto college, then that will help them be better members of society," said Ann O'Leary, the Adult Education ESL coordinator.

Hla Tway has been taking classes for about two years. Tway is originally from Myanmar and spent about 20 years in a refugee camp in Thailand.

"I came here with my family, but I want my daughter, my son... grow up in the future to speak English," said Tway.

His teachers say he is always smiling and eager to learn. Like Tway, many students juggle classes with full-time jobs.

"I want them to know that I appreciate them coming here every day and that were happy to see them every day and we're here to help them," said Dave Stroud, the Coordinator at Black Hawk College Adult Learning Center.

Stroud says the college also works with organizations such as World Relief and helps students with their citizenship process and more.

ESL classes are open to adults who live and work full-time in Illinois. Students can take classes through level 5 at the Adult Outreach Center in Rock Island and can choose to then take Academic ESL classes at Black Hawk's main campus.

Students can continue to practice their English skills this summer. The summer session starts on June 15. Starting next month, there will also be a "Summer Conversation Group" where students can practice speaking English together three days a week.

You can learn more about the program and register here: Adult Education English As A Second Language