Fuquay-Varina resident Linda Frenette combined a long-held career desire to teach with a lifelong passion for volunteerism on a recent visit to Lima, Peru, where she taught English at Universidad Nacional Agraria LaMolina.
Students at the Language Center on the expansive UNALM campus ranged from graduate students to professors to alumni with a few undergraduate students as well. Frenette found the students eager, serious, hard-working and grateful. In a highly multi-cultural city such as Lima, native Peruvians have many more career options if they know multiple languages. Many are so motivated they make diligent and impressive attempts to learn English online.
Frenette found the task quite difficult.
“Even as a native English speaker who writes daily for my career whether it be a grant application or marketing piece, I found it extremely challenging to revisit the proper rules of grammar and impart knowledge of our very complex language.
“My fellow volunteers and I often laughed at the silly idioms and slang we use in our everyday lives and were humbled by just how much of our formal English education we had forgotten over the years.”
The rewarding experience lives on for Frenette is some very interesting ways. One of her fellow volunteers, Don Zobel, a retired professor of botany from Oregon, turned out to be a native of Apex and she reunited with him and his wife while they stopped in Cary to visit Zobel’s mother on their route home from Peru. She also stays in touch via facebook and Skype with some of the UNALM students she met, giving them an opportunity to practice writing and speaking in English with her and “forcing me into better habits of articulation,” she said.
And, in her unstoppable volunteer spirit, Frenette recently launched an online fundraising campaign to raise enough money to buy 100 bathrobes for the girls at a large orphanage she toured while in Lima.
“Lima gave so much to me I could not simply hop on a plane, fly away and never look back. I will always feel connected to the wonderful people I met there.”
To make a donation toward a bathrobe for an orphaned girl, visit Frenette’s site at www.gofundme.com/1j2uzw.
“It’s difficult to persuade people to support international causes when so many of our own fellow citizens need help after national disasters and the like, but the people of foreign countries typically have far less opportunities for help than we do in the U.S.” Frenette said. “The need is so great and a little help from the U.S. has a large and long lasting-impact.”