TESOL Graduate Program at UPenn '22

Zoe Yang headshot

Zoe Yang '16

International Center

Country of Origin: Mainland China

Years Attended and Degrees

  • M.A.TESOL, University of Pennsylvania '22
  • Economics and Business, Mission College '22
  • Country: China

Mission College is where I started my journey in the United States in the year of 2013. I transferred to the University of California Santa Cruz in 2016 and graduated with a degree of Mathematics and Economics in of 2018.

As the only child from my family, I had a hard time adjusting to the new environment in the US. Without being an expert in communication and the English language, faculty from all departments provided me with all the help I could possibly get when I first landed. 

I met many friends both from classes and student clubs. It was the first time for me to open up myself and try to receive help from strangers. Here I have encountered friendships that lasted for almost 10 years from 2013. In addition, I felt safe to find people from the Mission community during emergency situations.

After getting familiar with the environment with the help of counselors in Mission, I became the Social Event Director and the Community Service Director for ASG club and organized a series of club activities for members to participate in. I met many new friends via these activities and gradually built up confidence as a leader.

I also worked as a peer mentor in the ESL department in the year of 2014 via the AANAPISI program where I happened to meet many new international students and started pondering on my career as an English teacher who does not only teach students language but also offers help for international students from sociolinguistic perspectives. 

I returned to Mainland China upon my graduation and worked as an international student counselor/TOEFL teacher in a local institution. While working on my application to University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and returning as a graduate student in the TESOL program, the experience in Mission kept coming into my mind. I believe it was my experiences in Mission that have cultivated my vision to the future as an educator, a helper and a healer.

I am graduating in December 2022 and I plan on returning to Mission as a student/faculty and continue with my other career pursuits. For me, Mission is like a homeland where I can always return to.