Professional Development in a Second Language

Reza BabaeeI’m an international doctoral student and English is not my first language. It was a challenging experience to learn oral and written communication skills in English at the doctoral level. As soon as I started my PhD, I found out that Renison University College offers two courses tailored to graduate students whose first language is other than English through their English for Multilingual Speakers program. The courses cover both writing and also speaking. I took both courses right at the beginning of my PhD to improve my English communication skills. Throughout my studies, I’ve constantly used the knowledge I learned in the program. Both courses are free for graduate students.

The writing course covers topics that graduate students need to know for their academic prose, such as formal vocabulary, correct grammar, and proper punctuation. The course also has written assignments that are reviewed by the instructor, including detailed feedback. In the speaking course, I learned and practiced the set of skills that is required for professional academic communication, including pronunciation, body language, and eye contact. I also benefited from a good portion of each class, usually at the beginning, spent on practicing vocabulary and idioms used in colloquial English. The course also includes three presentations by each student, two of which are recorded and reviewed by the instructor to provide feedback.

Both courses helped me in my academic writing as well as speaking and presentation skills. The feedback I received in both classes continues to be useful in my studies.

Reza Babaee is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research is on software analysis and verification, and how to predict the behavior of the software by collecting samples as it is running.

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