Aline Toloto and her husband moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi from Brazil in 2017. Although Aline had taken English courses in Brazil, she found herself woefully unprepared for the demands of speaking to native English speakers.
“I could barely speak or understand what people said,” Toloto says. “It was very hard to communicate my ideas and thoughts clearly.”
During her first two months in Hattiesburg, Toloto focused on improving her English by watching T.V. shows, meeting and speaking with English-speaking friends, and attending social events. It was through her conversations that she heard about Pearl River Community College, and the ESL courses they provided.
“I started attending English classes with teacher Fred Goins,” Toloto says. “His classes motivated me to keep going and trusting that eventually I would achieve English fluency.”
After a year of studies, Toloto put her knowledge to the test and applied to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). She also applied to a graduate program in the hopes of furthering her education.
“It was very rewarding to see that all the effort I have put into learning a foreign language was worth it,” Toloto says.
Toloto is currently starting her fourth semester of her Master’s Degree in Scenic Design and Technology at USM.
Toloto’s story exemplifies the benefits of hard work, dedication, and focus, and serves as inspiration for students of all backgrounds interested in learning English as a second language.