Student Success Story: Jimena Pursues English Proficiency for Professional Development

Many of INTERLINK’s students are young adults pursuing studies abroad so they can complete a 4-year undergraduate degree in the U.S. However, we also serve a number of students who are mid-career professionals looking for opportunities to advance their career, their professional skills and their interpersonal communication skills.

Image of a woman working on a laptop in a factory with an industrial mask on. Text overlay says "Meet Jimena Escobar: Engineer and INTERLINK student from Ecuador

Before coming to study with INTERLINK, Ms. Escobar received her degree in environmental engineering from a university in Ecuador where she worked as an environmental consultant in a private business. She explained that she studied in a program related to safety and the environment in the mining sector.

Jimena learned to use geographical tools and software like Qgiz and ArcGIS to make maps. She had gained the experience to obtain a permit from the Environment Minister to become a consultant for environmental projects in Ecuador. She says most of her duties involved conducting audits in the private sector, like plantations, gas stations, and electric power facilities. Those audits required Jimena to produce detailed reports and environmental plans.

Deciding to Study English in the U.S.

Though she was already successful in her career, she recognized the importance of English in her work, and that improving her English skills would create more opportunities for her. She had taken some English classes in Ecuador, but was not seeing the progress she had hoped. Jimena thought studying English in the U.S. would be the best way to learn, as it would allow her to speak and practice the language regularly with native speakers, and share that learning experience with others.

“I decided to go out of my comfort zone and invest in my personal development. I think that exploring a new culture is the best way to expand my horizons. So, I found the INTERLINK program the perfect opportunity for my family and me.”

Moving to the U.S. was the first time Jimena left her home country of Ecuador. She understands the significance of learning about other cultures and traditions, and was excited for a chance to learn more about American culture while living in the U.S.  She thought it would be “a great opportunity to learn another culture and for my sons and my husband to learn about a new culture.”

English and Cross-cultural Learning

Jimena has learned a lot about American culture during her time here. Before she arrived, he thought Americans were serious, but she has found that people here are friendly. She was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of activities through her son’s school. School activities in Ecuador mostly surround holidays and cultural events. Game nights like Bingo were a great opportunity to connect with her new community and develop relationships between families. Jimena was also surprised by the variety of music and theater classes offered to students in the U.S.

In general, Jimena finds U.S. culture to be more casual than that of Ecuador. She noticed that Americans often use first names when addressing others, which is usually only reserved for close friends in Ecuador. She observed American fashion and education to be more casual as well. “Education [in Ecuador] is more traditional. Students learn more grammar, short listening, and teachers don’t talk with students one to one. They give instructions about what to do in the book. No one is speaking in English.”


INTERLINK’s classes work well for Jimena’s learning style because she is fully immersed, building relationships, and thinking critically in English. The projects she does in class help her apply her English skills to different topics. She likes that her teachers are patient and “… can understand all the students even though they’re from many different countries and have different accents.”

Through her time at INTERLINK, Jimena has gained valuable skills that will help her achieve more success in her career. She has become much more confident about her English skills. She has learned a variety of technology and tools that will help her collaborate with colleagues as she continues her career. 

When asked what she wants Americans to know about Ecuador, Jimena says “Ecuador is a beautiful country. There’s a lot of diversity in the different regions – different food, different climate and landscapes. People are very generous. There are many activities to do all over the country: snorkeling, hiking, and sightseeing historical places like Cuenca.”

Translate »
Contact us about learning English!