By Alexis Clark
Mauricio Fabian had initially planned to complete the Intensive English Program (IEP) at Tennessee State University to learn English and then return to his native home in Veracruz, Mexico.
However, after successfully completing the program in under a year and excelling in learning English, Fabian made the decision to stay in Nashville and pursue his Master of Business Administration at TSU. He will be the first in his family to obtain a master’s degree. Just as impressive, he is the first in his family to journey to the United States in pursuit of an education.
TSU’s IEP is the only Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) accredited intensive English program in the state of Tennessee. It is also the first and only accredited program at an HBCU. The IEP is specifically designed to serve international students seeking admission to graduate and undergraduate programs.
“I learned how to write, read, and pronounce words,” Fabian said. “It’s good to have this program because I know many students who want to learn English. They want to learn, and this can support their future.”
After receiving his certificate of achievement in the program, Fabian promptly enrolled as a student. He expressed his gratitude to the university and acknowledged that the opportunities at TSU and in Nashville were too valuable to ignore. Currently, there are nearly 40 participants in the Intensive English Program. An environment that is bridging language barriers and fostering community integration.
The IEP became accredited in December 2020.
“Through this program they get better jobs, they get to communicate better and help them integrate into their new life,” stated Engin Ayvaz, the program’s director. “Not only are we serving TSU, but also the Nashville community.”
Jewell Winn, the Executive Director for the Office of International Affairs, highlighted how people from all over the world invest in TSU’s program to learn the language and then return to their home countries to teach it. Others, like Fabian, choose to remain and pursue their degrees at the university to seek better employment opportunities in the states.
“I have much pride when I am able to say that TSU is the only accredited program,” Winn said. “TSU has connected so many people through our IEP.”
The Office of International Affairs has been operating at TSU since 2012. When Ayvaz began his career at the university in 2017, he made it his mission to officially obtain accreditation for the IEP. Fabian, being one of the program’s first students during the post-COVID-19 period, has been an asset in assisting other students. “He is an excellent student,” Ayvaz said. “He was so adamant and committed. He didn’t miss a class, and he didn’t miss an assignment. He progressed so well and helped others.”