Thanks to help from Oakland Literacy Council and our partner, Oakland Community College, Qi Qi Wu is working toward her dream of becoming a professional photographer.
In her native China, Qi Qi worked as a photographer’s assistant. But when she arrived in Michigan three years ago, she struggled. “When I came to the United States, my English was not very good,” Qi Qi says. “It was very difficult.” She sought a literacy tutor from the literacy council and enrolled in the college’s English-as-a-Second language program.
Tutor Offers Personalized Help
Her college instructors helped expand her vocabulary and taught her grammar, while her council tutor helped her practice everyday speaking and listening. “A teacher in a classroom can’t answer questions from every student,” Qi Qi explains. “A tutor gives you personal attention.”
Qi Qi says her tutor, Megan, will set up a topic for each lesson. “We will learn vocabulary words and sentences about that topic,” Qi Qi says. “I am very happy to work with her. She is a quiet and patient lady.”
Help With Job Hunt
When Qi Qi needed to find a job to pay for her college education, her tutor helped her develop her resume and practice interviewing for a position. Last fall, Qi Qi found a part-time position in food service. Her tutor also helped her complete paperwork for college financial aid and health insurance.
Over the last two years, Qi Qi’s reading level has improved from a third-grade to an advanced level. In the spring of 2019, she graduated from the Council’s listening program after achieving more than an eighth-grade level. In addition, she completed OCC’s ESL program, which meant she could take graphic design and photography classes, the first step toward realizing her dream.
Qi Qi is on track to graduate from OCC with a two-year degree and transfer to a four-year university where she can pursue a degree in photography. One day, she hopes to open her own portrait studio.