Student Starts an International Tutoring Program: “Project Language Arts Learning”


Alyssa Morrone

Elizabeth Duong (10) began “Project Language Arts Learning” to reach students in Vietnam studying English. She and other student volunteers practice speaking and writing proficiency with the Vietnamese students.

Elizabeth Duong, a sophomore at San Juan Hills High School, started a program called Project Language Arts Learning, which offers help to students in Vietnam learning English. Duong has recruited other high school students as tutors to reach Vietnamese students from 5th-12th grade and has weekly virtual sessions to help them practice conversational, writing, and reading skills.

With a long-standing passion for community service, she began the program with the intention of broadening her reach in volunteer work, as well as connecting with her Vietnamese heritage. 

Her goal is to help these students improve their English skills so they can be prepared for schooling, future jobs, and day-to-day social situations.

“Ever since I was in kindergarten, I’ve loved volunteering and giving to my community, so I wanted to branch out more and help as many people as I can learn English,” said Duong. “It can become a struggle when applying for jobs or interacting at school, so I wanted to offer the recourse to those who need it.”

During a session, Duong and her tutors will talk with students about their day and answer any questions regarding pronunciation and grammar. She also offers help with homework and creates writing prompts to help the students develop grammar skills.

Duong tries her best to make the learning fun for the students, and will sometimes take them on “field trips” where they order food or observe different locations, such as malls and restaurants, through Google Meets.

I think the best part is that I get to see different cultures and learn a whole new way of life. I hope that one day, I can see the kids improve so that they can use it to achieve their goals, academically and otherwise”

— Duong

“Essentially, I help them practice as much as they can on their English, like speaking and writing. Especially listening since all of us only talk to them in English,” said Duong. 

To establish a safe space where students can feel free to ask questions, Duong and the tutors create a casual and open setting where students can make mistakes and ask questions. This helps the students who are shyer and have trouble asking for help.

Starting an international tutoring program is no easy task, and Duong says that the main roadblocks that come with it are communicating with students, as they can only connect virtually. If a student misses a session or has internet problems, there can be trouble reaching out to help them.

However, Duong has persisted through these obstacles and tries her best to make sure every student has an equally enriching experience.

Overall, she has found it to be an incredible process, with the joy of being able to see the students, not just progress, but enjoy their studies. It has also been an equally educational takeaway for her and other tutors who get to learn about different cultures on a personal level.

“I think the best part is that I get to see different cultures and learn a whole new way of life. I hope that one day, I can see the kids improve so that they can use it to achieve their goals, academically and otherwise.”

With the help of friends and family, Duong is happy to see the program thriving and succeeding in reaching the students by creating a space where they can grow their skills. Looking ahead, Duong hopes that she can broaden the reach of Project Language Arts Learning to other countries as more tutors are recruited.

She also highly encourages anyone who needs help with English currently to inquire about joining the program, as well as anyone who would be interested in becoming a tutor. If this interests you, please contact her at [email protected]. She is happy to answer any questions you may have and to recruit new help with the sessions.

Kicking off the first year of the program, Duong has created a great resource for students to learn English, and for tutors to broaden their world views. As the years continue, she hopes the program will grow to help any and every student who needs help improving their English skills.