It was standing room only today at Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Annual International Talent Show, held at the college’s Starnes Center in the heart of Clarkston, Georgia. Students from the college’s free English as a Second Language (ESL) program showcased a wide array of festive and colorful attire and costumes from their countries of origin. The fashion show was followed by dozens of musical and dance performances, as well as one very funny stand-up comedy routine delivered by astudent from India. The event concluded with a group sing–a–long of “This Land Is Your Land”.
Students in Georgia Piedmont’s ESL program come from approximately 80 countries and speak nearly 100 languages. The annual event is one way that the college honors the traditions of its international student communities, while also providing students with an opportunity to display their many talents.
“Our students were thrilled to bring a taste of their native cultures to the college,” said Carol Glickman, Georgia Piedmont’s ESL coordinator. “It broadens our understanding of each other and helps bridge communication and social barriers between cultures.”
Georgia Piedmont offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) and citizenship preparation classes to the community. Instruction is available for all levels of English proficiency from preliterate to advanced. So far this year, Georgia Piedmont has served nearly 1,200 students in its ESL program.
“Our presence in Clarkston, one of the most diverse square miles in the country, brings a special mission to the work of our ESL team,” stated Dr. Jacqueline Echols, vice president of adult education at Georgia Piedmont. “When refugees and immigrants arrive in our community, they have a very short time to acclimate, find a job, and begin to learn English. Georgia Piedmont’s program is vital to helping these new residents adjust to their new home.”
A few of the many countries represented included: