After telling him about another older, Iranian student I had tutored who wants to pass her interview to go to Canada, we settled in to our one hour lesson. I had him listen to what it means to pack up to go overseas. He was stumped by words such as “luggage” or “departure” or “arrival.” Oy vey! Anyway, I told him what to expect on his flight over to L.A. where he hopes to study for four years in an art school. Apparently his parents have enough money to pay for his education and he wants to do well. In the mean time for purposes in English, he may be too much of a perfectionist type and doesn’t want to make mistakes in his grammar so he keeps to monosyllabic responses.
I asked how his girlfriend had done on the interview for her visa and he told me it took her only 5-7 minutes. Simple yes/no questions at first and then some more difficult ones later.
I told him what his strategy should be for tomorrow’s interview. Instead of answering quickly with the easy questions like, “How many are in your family?” he should take his time and relax during those questions with LONG answers. Throw in his grandparents, pets in the family, how old each person is, etc. All they want to do is make sure that he has a grasp of English. I said that if he looks relaxed with the first questions, they won’t ask the more difficult ones because time will be up.
However, if they DO ask the tougher questions, he has several responses that might help buy him time to gather his thoughts, such as: “That’s a good question, let me think a second.” OR “I’m sorry, would you please repeat that question for me?” He got to practice those stall techniques when I asked him “What will you miss the most once you are in L.A.?” He didn’t know what “most” meant.
Oh, I will be praying he can get through this interview tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. He doesn’t strike me as the type who gets up that early, living the life of an artist (actually he is a website graphic designer and very good, I saw his examples). He has a tatoo on his arm that is in Chinese, I didn’t ask him about it. He also wears torn up jeans and sweatshirt. I suggested he might wear a suit for the interview but the artist in him wants to be free and comfortable. Can’t blame him. I told him to call me at 10:00 a.m. once he has his visa in hand. He was all smiles and paid me another 3,600 tenge which I quickly turned into a Christmas present for my dear husband at the Green Market. (Hint, it is green!)