As a child in Pennsylvania, I was always fascinated by other cultures and languages. My secret desire was to be a world traveler. Well, I got as far as Michigan. Fortunately, my Michigan-born husband also shared my interest in world culture. We eventually added several cultures to our extended family: Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Pakistan. Our eldest daughter & family live in New Delhi, India.
In my teaching career, I sought to develop a broad worldview in my students’ minds through history, geography, cultural studies and cross-cultural literature. My classes celebrated many world holidays like Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Cinco de Mayo, Song Kran, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Many of my students had never held a conversation with a person from a different culture. To remedy that gap in their social skills, I turned to the international student population at Central Michigan University. The CMU students came into my classroom and into the hearts of my students. I was forever changed.
Before long, my husband and I had befriended about half of the Thai students on campus and almost half of the Chinese. I proudly boast about being the only “blue eyes” at the Chinese New Year’s Festival. My passionfor cross-cultural friends became a mission after I heard a speaker relate that less than 25% of international students ever visit an American home. How then can internationals ever get to know the grass roots American? Their lasting impressions of Americans have been shaped by Hollywood, the media and large institutions. My family and I worked at reversing that statistic. Our guest book bulges with the signatures of international guests. They taught us so much about their cultures and we in turn shared American culture with them.
As we earned their trust, the students shared their hopes, fears and frustrations. Their greatest need in adjusting to a new culture was fluency in the host country’s language. In a sincere desire to give credible, professional help, I felt impelled to polish my expertise in English.
To make a long story short, I enrolled in CMU’s MA TESOL program, graduated in 2000, and started teaching ESL classes in Midland, MI. Using the correct pronunciation of my family sir name, Koop, and adding the “K” to make cope into KOPE, I presented myself (the Koop with English) and my mission statement ( to help people COPE with English.) Pun intended. Kope with English LLC was born.
Here in Midland, my focus has included business ex-pats and their families. Ex-pats need to survive not only in American culture, but in global corporations where many languages and cultural backgrounds mix. As KWE grew, like-minded staff have joined me. They, too, love working with international people. Their rich talent and expertise have resulted in additional programs, courses, field trips, and special friendships. God has blessed and we are humbly grateful.
For all of us, teaching English as a Second Language is a calling, not a mere job. The KWE staff and I have thoroughly enjoyed each ex-pat family we have served. Many relationships continue after the ex-pats and family return to their home country. Isn’t Skype wonderful?
The” would be world traveler” from Pennsylvania has found her niche in service to the many of the world’s travelers right here in Michigan.
Open letter to our cross-cultural friends,
Dear international students and ex-pats,
You are the bravest people that I know. You have left the safe, the familiar, the comfortable, the easy life, to embark upon a risky journey into the unknown. You have come to a land where the language is strange; the cultural signposts are unclear; the food is unhealthy and the people are puzzling. But anyway, we welcome you to our country. We at KWE would be very honored if you would allow us to walk with you on this journey. We offer you our commitment, equipping skills, resources and our friendship along the way.
At the end of your sojourn in the USA, our greatest reward will be seeing that you have COPED well and met your language and professional goals. May you always know you have friends in the USA who sincerely care about you.
Sincerely and compassionately,
Sandy for the KWE staff
Some of the Kope With English staff
The Kope With English staff consists of educators and business persons who have a heart to provide a quality English learning experience for their clients. See more about them on the teachers’ page.
Kope With English Mission Statement
“Our Mission: Perfecting communication skills for cross cultural areas for global business corporations, community, education and home.”
ESL Consultants are also cultural consultants, interpreters and ambassadors.
Variety of topics covered with ELLs (English Language Learners)
Architecture, American History, Michigan tourist spots, Strength Training, Everglades, Cooking & Baking, Current Events, Rules of the Road for Driver’s License, Weather, Tornado Safety, Parenting tips, Elections and Voting in the USA,
American Dialects & Regional Slang, Winterizing the house & yard, cars and motorcycles, Lawn and Yard Care, Shopping tips, Garage sales, Culture shock, & Reverse Culture Shock, Karate, Vacationing in America’s cities & national parks,
Fast food, the shopping checkout, ATMs, opening bank accounts, postal information , doctor & dentist visits, pregnancy and birth vocabulary, weddings, funerals, hospital visits, new baby reassurance, parent teacher conferences, third culture kids issues, etc.
We aim ESL to be a fun as well as packed with cultural essentials and a good communication skills in English.