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English is the business at Conversation Café

San Carlos library makes a spot for melting pot

Place

San Carlos Library

7265 Jackson Drive, San Diego

Between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. on Thursdays, the San Carlos Library community room becomes the English Conversation Café, a program that gives nonnative speakers the opportunity to practice English. The program led by branch manager Rita Glick started September 3 with two learners and three native English speakers. The second week, a married couple joined the conversation. I visited on September 17, when all four nonnative speakers returned for tea, cookies, and conversation.

Conversation Café (September 17)

The café is the first program of its type in the City of San Diego library system, senior public information officer Marion Moss Hubbard said in a September 11 interview. The program started in San Carlos because “there are a large number of English-language learners” in the area. “They often go [to the branch] to borrow audio and video materials. The two learners [from the first week] will be looking for employment.”

When I entered the café, Glick was part of a group looking at a map. Ferry and Linda Yo pointed to their homeland in Amasser, Indonesia. "It's so far from Brazil,” said Gabriela Moneira. She's from Fortaleza, which is in northeast Brazil.

Ruth George, Betty Land, Viktoryia Lysenko

As she talked to volunteer Susan Upchurch, volunteer Teresa Cramer joined the map discussion. I sat with Viktoryia Lysenko and retired teachers Ruth George and Betty Land. Lysenko is from Moscow, came to San Diego three years ago, and volunteers at the branch. "I have a very good time in the library because I'm speaking English." She smiled and continued, "I would like more times a week [in the café], seven times a week." She plans to take a citizenship class.

George's classes included English as a Second Language, and she brought pictures to start conversations. The picture of McDonald’s led to a request to recommend a local Russian restaurant. Lysensko recommended the Village House Kalina in La Mesa and Pomegranate Restaurant in Golden Hill.

As Glick's group discussed their religious upbringing, Linda said her husband Terry leads the Indonesian Christian Fellowship that meets at the College Avenue Baptist Church. The couple has been here for 15 years, and the café is “a good place for my husband. He works in fast food at Jack in the Box. It improves his Spanish a lot, but not his English."

Linda and her book

The couple’s recommendation for Indonesian food is the Bali Thai Café, a Mission Valley restaurant formerly owned by a friend. Linda is the author of the book Asian Slim Secrets. "When I moved to the United States in the fall, I gained 25 pounds by Christmas. In my country, I ate a lot and stayed slim," she said. Linda resumed the Asian way of eating and lost weight. She also earned a master's degree in nutrition.

Moneira came here five months ago to marry Hugh Rowles, who works for the County of San Diego. "I'm studying English and going into the process of immigration." She lives near the library, volunteers there and checks out books to improve her English. She majored in accounting in Brazil and enjoys the "English for Careers" class at Mesa Community College. "I choose a pathway and learn the vocabulary for that," she said. "I can't wait to get a permit to work.”

Moneira’s recommendations for Brazilian food are Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steak House (the site of her wedding reception), Brazil by the Bay in San Diego, and Sabor de Vida in Encinitas.

“Every Thursday is a new adventure,” Glick said. Ferry repeated the phrase, saying that helped him speak English. He talked about a language class where only the teacher spoke. “Rita is very nice. [She] encouraged everyone to speak.”

The café welcomes non-English speakers. Hubbard said other branches were informed about the program to determine if it is feasible for their locations.

To volunteer as a language coach, sign up at the library website.

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Place

San Carlos Library

7265 Jackson Drive, San Diego

Between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. on Thursdays, the San Carlos Library community room becomes the English Conversation Café, a program that gives nonnative speakers the opportunity to practice English. The program led by branch manager Rita Glick started September 3 with two learners and three native English speakers. The second week, a married couple joined the conversation. I visited on September 17, when all four nonnative speakers returned for tea, cookies, and conversation.

Conversation Café (September 17)

The café is the first program of its type in the City of San Diego library system, senior public information officer Marion Moss Hubbard said in a September 11 interview. The program started in San Carlos because “there are a large number of English-language learners” in the area. “They often go [to the branch] to borrow audio and video materials. The two learners [from the first week] will be looking for employment.”

When I entered the café, Glick was part of a group looking at a map. Ferry and Linda Yo pointed to their homeland in Amasser, Indonesia. "It's so far from Brazil,” said Gabriela Moneira. She's from Fortaleza, which is in northeast Brazil.

Ruth George, Betty Land, Viktoryia Lysenko

As she talked to volunteer Susan Upchurch, volunteer Teresa Cramer joined the map discussion. I sat with Viktoryia Lysenko and retired teachers Ruth George and Betty Land. Lysenko is from Moscow, came to San Diego three years ago, and volunteers at the branch. "I have a very good time in the library because I'm speaking English." She smiled and continued, "I would like more times a week [in the café], seven times a week." She plans to take a citizenship class.

George's classes included English as a Second Language, and she brought pictures to start conversations. The picture of McDonald’s led to a request to recommend a local Russian restaurant. Lysensko recommended the Village House Kalina in La Mesa and Pomegranate Restaurant in Golden Hill.

As Glick's group discussed their religious upbringing, Linda said her husband Terry leads the Indonesian Christian Fellowship that meets at the College Avenue Baptist Church. The couple has been here for 15 years, and the café is “a good place for my husband. He works in fast food at Jack in the Box. It improves his Spanish a lot, but not his English."

Linda and her book

The couple’s recommendation for Indonesian food is the Bali Thai Café, a Mission Valley restaurant formerly owned by a friend. Linda is the author of the book Asian Slim Secrets. "When I moved to the United States in the fall, I gained 25 pounds by Christmas. In my country, I ate a lot and stayed slim," she said. Linda resumed the Asian way of eating and lost weight. She also earned a master's degree in nutrition.

Moneira came here five months ago to marry Hugh Rowles, who works for the County of San Diego. "I'm studying English and going into the process of immigration." She lives near the library, volunteers there and checks out books to improve her English. She majored in accounting in Brazil and enjoys the "English for Careers" class at Mesa Community College. "I choose a pathway and learn the vocabulary for that," she said. "I can't wait to get a permit to work.”

Moneira’s recommendations for Brazilian food are Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steak House (the site of her wedding reception), Brazil by the Bay in San Diego, and Sabor de Vida in Encinitas.

“Every Thursday is a new adventure,” Glick said. Ferry repeated the phrase, saying that helped him speak English. He talked about a language class where only the teacher spoke. “Rita is very nice. [She] encouraged everyone to speak.”

The café welcomes non-English speakers. Hubbard said other branches were informed about the program to determine if it is feasible for their locations.

To volunteer as a language coach, sign up at the library website.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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