Monday, October 21, 2013

English? Check. Now off to pursue the rest of his dreams

Laith Arabi had completed two years toward an engineering degree in his native Syria before he, his mother and two brothers were forced to flee to the United States a year and a half ago.

Arabi wished to continue school right away after arriving in the U.S., but the English language was a challenge.

“I took an English placement test at OCC and I could barely write a paragraph,” said Arabi, 21, of West Bloomfield.

Arabi enrolled in a course known as the Bridge Course at OCC, which is designed for students who are ready to learn English but are not quite ready for English as Second Language credit classes.

The 15-week, six-hour a week, course offers instruction in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and English grammar and vocabulary. Bridge classes are offered in Farmington Hills, Royal Oak and Southfield campuses. The fee is $300.

“I can write five pages now, easily,” Arabi said. “The conversation class was so much fun for me. It gave me confidence to speak English out loud.”

Following successful completion of the Bridge Course, students can enroll in ESL classes.
Arabi completed the ESL program this summer and is now enrolled in college level academic classes to start pursuing his dream - medical school.

“Laith’s progress is typical of students who enroll in Bridge classes,” said Orchard Ridge campus ESL Department Chair Michael Khirallah, Ph.D. “Within five semesters, he went from zero level to writing multi-page essays.”
For more information on OCC’s Bridge Classes, contact, (248) 341-2231 or visit

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