Student Voices

Congratulations to Islom, Master of Arts in TESOL Graduate!

As an international student, I chose Virginia International University for two reasons: first, I wanted to experience the university’s diverse cultural atmosphere; second, I wanted to become a more experienced professional in my career – teaching English to the speakers of other languages (TESOL). My two years in the MA in TESOL program at VIU has been truly memorable, and I never regret having made the decision to complete my master’s degree at this university.

When I reflect on my time at Virginia International University, I see that I have been able not only to improve my skills in teaching but also gain a deep understanding of theories in the second language acquisition process. Through lessons with incredibly supportive professors, I was challenged to discover a voice that I didn’t know I had. The knowledge and experience I had at VIU gave me confidence, which serves as an internal force to drive my career further to be able to teach English successfully.

Having been educated in a supportive environment at VIU, I found myself able to understand the second language acquisition process inside out and am ready to put this knowledge into practice. With carefully-chosen textbooks and small group lessons, I became familiar with recent research theories. Through challenging me, my professors have helped me to develop my own critical thinking ability. It was incredibly useful to learn about different aspects of the teaching field and to connect these practices with modern informational technology.

Also, I benefited from the real-life teaching practice in the practicum class at VIU. I was given a tremendous opportunity to work with competent ESL instructors to observe their lessons and learn teaching techniques under their supervision. It was a great experience to teach culturally diverse ESL students at VIU. It was incredibly beneficial in terms of developing my professional teaching.

Moreover, we were exposed innumerable workshops, festivals, student activities and “Voices from the Field” talks. This was another awesome opportunity given by VIU, we gained more valuable knowledge about new achievements in our field of expertise. Through my coursework, I conducted several research case-studies on different aspects of second language acquisition, which I was able to display at VIU’s Academic Showcase to the VIU community and guests.

Having completed my MA in TESOL at VIU, I am excited to go back to my home country – Uzbekistan, to deliver my knowledge to teach the younger generation. By teaching English in my country, I will create a great opportunity for my students to become knowledgeable and see the world. I express my endless gratitude for my mentors who helped me to find who actually I am.


Congratulations to Oyshakhon Eshonova

Congratulations to Oyshakhon Eshonova (Master of Arts in TESOL), Regional Scholarship Recipient!

Oyshakhon Eshonova (Tajikistan)

I would like to express my gratitude to Virginia International University for awarding me with a full tuition “Regional Scholarship”. There is no doubt that this contribution will excel my professional development and will motivate me to study harder.


Back in Tajikistan, I worked as an ESL teacher. Therefore, my decision of pursuing a Master in TESOL was obvious. I applied to several different institutions in the US. However, VIU has an advantage in campus size, location, affordability, and student body diversity. I love that the campus is not huge, and as a student, I am getting the necessary attention from professors and university staff. I

I am sure that I will gain immense professional skills by working with the faculty from my program. Upon completion of my degree and I will return to Tajikistan as a highly qualified ESL teacher.

When it comes to applying for scholarships, a student should know that it takes time, hard work, and passion. A strategic plan is required to be implemented to make sure your scholarship application is more efficient and effective. I am proud to be chosen among other scholarship applicants and eager to contribute to VIU’s academic and cultural life in the future. Thank you VIU!

Education Students Visit Historic Schoolhouse

Field Trip to the Vale Schoolhouse

By Elif Sigindere Omur

The Summer II EDUC 500: “Introduction to Education and Educational Research” class visited the Vale Schoolhouse on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 along with Dr. Rebecca Sachs and Dr. Jillian Wendt. Members of the Vale Club and Friends of the Vale Schoolhouse, Liz Jones and Chris Leichweis, hosted the visit and shared their expertise. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. We had the opportunity to see how education was approached in the past in Fairfax County.

Students attended the school from the surrounding Oakton, VA area from 1884-1931. The schoolhouse consisted of just two rooms—one room for primary students and one room for secondary students—with two doors for entry into the main area of the schoolhouse. One door was used for girls while the other one was for boys. During class, girls were typically seated on one side of each room while boys sat on the other. Class was started by ringing a bell, which towered over the schoolhouse and could be rung from indoors. The schoolhouse was heated by a small pot-bellied stove. Students were required to provide wood for heating the school in the cold winter months.

Elif Sigindere Omur is a first-year graduate student in the Master of Education program at VIU. More information on the Vale Schoolhouse can be found at Additional information about the School of Education can be found at