October 20, 2017

From the director of a computer programming company in Brazil to a University of Central Florida Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate student, Sandra Pauleti has come a long way to follow her dream of becoming an English teacher.
Since a young age, Pauleti knew two things: she wanted to learn that “beautifully strange language” called English and she wanted to help others by becoming a teacher. When she wasn’t tutoring kids in math, Pauleti was learning English through cartoons, books and school. By the time she started college, she realized her dream was out of reach and she decided to pursue another passion instead, computer science.
A Realization
Fast forward years later and Pauleti had a solid career in computer programming and a family of her own. Everything was going well for Pauleti, until she became seriously ill. After going through surgery, treatments, medicines and tears, she had a realization.
“At that moment I promised God and myself that if I made it through the valley, I would change my life,” she said. “I would stop giving so much importance to the material things, I would spend more time with the people I love, and most of all, I would pursue my dreams.”
Although it was tough, Pauleti stuck to her promise. But before leaving everything behind and boarding a plane with her family, she did some research.
“I was searching for universities in the U.S. that had the TESOL program, since not many do,” she said. “That’s when I discovered UCF. I researched the program and its professors, and I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
A New World
Pauleti is now in her third semester of the program and is confident that her major life change is one of the best decisions she’s made.
Besides the diversity in the classrooms, her favorite part of the program is the knowledge and experience her professors bring to the table. According to Pauleti, fulfilling her dream wouldn’t have been possible without professors like Gergana Vitanova, Marcella A. Farina, Keith S. Folse, Kerry Purmensky and Mark Kerlin, who all encouraged her to persevere throughout the program.
“I know that I’m getting the best possible experience because of the professors, the students and the courses,” Pauleti said. I’ve learned a lot since being here, and I would highly recommend this program if you’re looking into teaching English to foreign language speakers.”
In the future, Pauleti hopes to work for a nonprofit that will help others discover what she has.
“I’d like to give other people the opportunity I had,” she said. “English has opened many doors in my life that have presented me to a whole new world of information.”

Master of Arts in TESOL
The Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provides students a strong foundation in language acquisition, use, and pedagogy. Students take courses in Applied Linguistics, Grammar, Assessment, Second Language Acquisition, and Methods of TESOL. Our courses are designed to prepare students to immediately step into the world of teaching ESOL here in the United States or abroad.
TESOL is an exciting field with many possibilities for work overseas, in community colleges, Intensive English Programs, private language schools and public schools. We strive to offer our students a strong foundation in theory with numerous opportunities for work in the field. We have local and international practicum experiences in Spain, Taiwan, and Central America.
Learn more about a Master of Arts in TESOL.