A photo of Samira Artur smiling at the camera and wearing a vivid pink v-neck sweater and scarf.

Up next on #VoicesOfILI is a true role model for all of our students. Samira Artur, who originally started at ILI as a Spanish teacher, knows first hand how vulnerable it can feel when you are placed in a situation you know little to nothing about.

Samira lived in Brazil up until the age of 14, when she moved all the way to Maine.

She didn’t speak much English, as a matter of fact, there was no English program at her school so her Spanish teacher tutored her brothers and herself before classes. Samira had an easier time with numbers however and shared that her favorite subjects in school were math, science, and Spanish – because she saw similarities to Portuguese. She even continued on to study Spanish in college, got her Masters degree, and started teaching languages.

It wasn’t until a few years after Samira moved to the Northampton area that she found ILI.

Since then she has made quite the impact on not only the students but also her co-workers. Although Samira began her journey at ILI as a Spanish teacher she then went on to get her TESOL certificate and started teaching ESL, also became the coordinator for the Hampshire College Spanish program, started a Springfield College ESL class program, and most recently has been training teachers for the World Language Program. To add on to this list of accomplishments she also provides career and college support as a counselor for the Free English Program and offers support around the office whenever needed.

Samira considers herself a life-long learner and said that ILI pushes her to continue learning and growing in both her professional and personal lives. She is presented with opportunities to learn about many different things which she says makes her feel challenged and fulfilled. Samira also shared that a key component of why she loves her job at ILI is her ability to connect with students through her personal experiences.

Being able to identify with students about going through the immigration process, learning a second language in a different country, and other hardships help her build stronger bonds with current ILI students.

Outside of ILI Samira enjoys spending time with friends and family, although sometimes the two can get intertwined. Samira’s mother actually enrolled in the Free English Program! She brought her to class and the roles reversed, she said she continued to check in on her and was so proud of her mother for improving her skills and building a community of her own.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us Samira, you are a wonderful mentor for all students at ILI!