Two people sitting at a table in a classroom having a conversation and smiling.

Volunteer Spotlight

Drew David has been volunteering as a tutor for ILI students since last August. He’s no stranger to non-native English speakers, having nurtured a love of learning languages and experiencing other cultures for most of his life. After studying German in high school, Drew studied abroad in Taiwan, minored in Spanish during college and spent four months in South America. It seemed he always chose paths that inevitably led him to learning a language or teaching English.

As Drew recounts, “I spent several years working in a restaurant that mostly employed people from China, and in our down time, I would serve as an unofficial teacher for my coworkers looking to improve their English. We’d discuss new vocabulary, difficult grammar points and a wide variety of cultural topics. This became my favorite part of that job, so when I left, I started looking for ways to continue to help people on their English learning journey.”

After recently moving to western Massachusetts, Drew sought opportunities to get involved in the community. When a coworker shared ILI as a possibility, he knew it was something he would enjoy doing – a place where he could meet new people and share different aspects of cultures through language. Indeed, that is now his favorite part about tutoring!

When asked what wisdom he might share with a new tutor, Drew says, “Have fun! It’s easiest to pick up language when you’re engaged with it. Keeping discussions interesting and playful not only helps calm nerves but also helps the brain absorb the language without it feeling like work.” Sounds like excellent advice to us.

In his non-tutor time, Drew works at the Public Defender’s office in Holyoke, and loves cooking, hiking and hanging out with his partner and their dog. We’re certainly happy that Drew found ILI, and his students are too.