Workplace ESL Assistants (Workplace ESLAs)

“All of the work I did through VISAS was with UVA employees… The people I worked with were incredibly amazing and so eager to learn English that it made diagramming sentences and going over the alphabet and vocabulary words the highlight of my week. These employees are some of the best, most hardworking people at this university.”

M., Workplace ESLA

Program Summary

Spend one hour per week helping UVA employees with digital literacy, English language support, and conversation practice.

Many UVA service employees are refugees and immigrants who have recently resettled in Charlottesville to make a better life for themselves. VISAS Workplace ESLAs have an opportunity to welcome these newcomers and to help them improve their English and literacy skills. Training and supervision is provided for volunteers who meet weekly with learners, individualizing instruction within a larger group workshop setting. Volunteers and employee learners meet together in the Language Commons (298 NCH) for their session.

Program Outline

What do Workplace ESLAs do?

Workplace ESLAs work with recently resettled UVA service employees on their English and digital literacy skills and goals. Training and supervision are provided.

Time Commitment and Schedule

Total of 1.5 hours per week: 1 hour working with your workplace partner plus 15 minutes before and after with interns and other volunteers to plan and debrief. To be a WP volunteer, you must be available for one of the scheduled class sections.

Position Requirements

Advanced to superior proficiency in American English language and culture is required for this position. Otherwise, an interest in getting to know people from other cultures and to share one’s own culture is the only requirement. 

“I really enjoyed working with the students at O-Hill because they always walked in with a smile and a willingness to learn. Even on my bad days, they always managed to cheer me up with their excitement for learning and diverse cultural stories. These are some of the best students I have ever had the pleasure of working with and I am so proud to see that they have improved so much. Thank you so much!” 

T.T., Workplace ESLA