Batavia, New York--The complexities of the English language and its various idioms can intimidate anyone, let alone international visitors. But two Genesee Community College students from Japan are not only embracing the challenge, but taking it a step further by taking on the daunting task of heading up the Toastmaster’s International Club on the campus.
Miluska Escudero, a native of Peru who makes her home in Japan, and Japan native Maki Kojiroi, have been appointed co-presidents of the club.
Miluska and Maki say they joined the college’s Communications Club because English “is not our mother tongue. We knew we would be required to speak in many of our classes in front of American students and wanted to make sure we had the components of professional speech,” says Maki. “We knew the club would give us an opportunity to practice in a friendly and safe learning environment.”
Toastmasters clubs provide an atmosphere “where members become confident, charismatic individuals who gain practice to become the leaders, speakers and negotiators the global employment marketplace is looking for,” according to GCC adjunct professor Jacqueline Di Bella, who advises the Club.
“The club is forged in friendship and teamwork,” says Miluska. “We have a strong mentoring program, the meetings are fun and the members are committed. But most importantly the members are our friends.”
Both students say as leaders, they “hope to educate the members of the club that great organizations thrive on communication and effective leadership stimulates constant communication.”
Miluska speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese and “is learning English.” She says the discussions between students and professors are the best part of her business classes, and she hopes to one day work for an international company, after earning her business administration degree.
Maki is studying Tourism and Hospitality Management, and has her eyes on a coveted internship at Disney World, with a long term goal of becoming a tourism director.
Instructor Di Bella says GCC is taking a leading position by responding to employer’s growing interest in soft skills such as communicating, team-building, leadership and interpersonal relationships. “Public speaking expertise is one of the most valuable assets a business professional can have. Good verbal skills are essential to success in every component of the work environment.”
For more information on the Toastmasters International Club at GCC, contact Jackie Di Bella via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the GCC website: http://www.genesee.edu/campuslife/students/clubs/.