ESL students experience American culture with crochet, conversation

5 people standing with decorated tree at Festival of Trees setup day
Lexi Cole, Franco Morales, Adrian Cole, Nian Lung and Levi Mang with their tree at Festival of Trees setup

Learning to speak English is about more than nouns and verbs. It’s also learning about and experiencing American culture and traditions.

More than a dozen Black Hawk College English as a Second Language (ESL) students have been involved in a crochet and conversation group called Yarn & Yak.

Students come together to learn how to crochet, practice speaking English, and connect to the larger BHC community in an informal environment. ESL instructors Susan Johnson and Angie Hammond and Optional Education records specialist Adrian Cole facilitate the group.

Although the ESL students take classes at the college’s Outreach Center in East Moline, for Yarn & Yak they meet at the college’s Quad-Cities Campus in Moline. The goal is to familiarize them with the place where they hopefully will continue their studies.

tree decorated with lights and crocheted and handmade ornaments

This semester, the students crocheted and painted ornaments to decorate a tree, Homemade Holiday in My New Homeland, which they donated to Festival of Trees.

The Yarn & Yak tree decorators included Caleb Akotoh (Togo), Denise Almeida (Brazil), Ibtissam Assaf (Syria), Sumitra Basnet (Nepal), Yawoa Besse (Togo), Adrian Cole (U.S.), Lexi Cole (U.S.), Jeanne d’Arc Maukakalisa (Rwanda), Lupe Gutknecht (Mexico), Jessie Jia (China), Akpedze Koda (Togo), Nian Lung (Myanmar), Levi Mang (Myanmar), Franco Morales (Mexico) and Alejandra Rodriguez (Mexico).

If you’re visiting the Festival of Trees, be sure to look for Tree 136!

View more photos on Facebook.

6 people standing by decorated trees at Festival of Trees
Alejandra Rodriguez, ESL instructor Susan Johnson, Jessie Jia, Sumitra Basnet, Jeanne d’Arc Maukakalisa and Franco Morales with their tree at Festival of Trees