Learning about students' cultures inspired Fred to make a career out of teaching students from all over the globe in the International & English Language Programs at the UW.
IELP is such a benefit to students, especially because of the teachers. What’s kept me working here for 20 years is my fellow instructors.
— Fred Servito
After graduating with a bachelor’s in architecture from the University of Washington, Fred Servito had a good idea of where his career was headed: some traveling, a temporary job and then graduate school for architecture.
But when his travels took him to South Korea to teach English, Fred’s plans changed.
“I enjoyed it so much that when I returned to the States I decided to pursue a master’s in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages),” Fred said. “I really enjoyed that student interaction and learning about the students’ cultures.”
After earning his master’s in TESOL from the UW, Fred taught in Korea for two more years before becoming an instructor in UW International & English Language Programs in 1999. He’s taught for IELP ever since and still finds himself excited each time a new quarter rolls around.
“Every quarter it’s a new class, a new set of students with their own enthusiasm,” he said. “After 20 years, it’s still really interesting.”
IELP represents many students’ first experience at an American university, which gives instructors like Fred an opportunity to act as campus ambassadors.
“The teachers are the ones really helping them adjust to life in the States and in Seattle,” Fred said. “For us, it’s all about forming connections. When that ice is broken, and you form the connections and get to know the students, that makes the experience so much stronger.”
Fred values the opportunity to watch the progress IELP students make as they advance through the program.
“I’ll often see a group of students when they first arrive, and then a few quarters later I’ll be teaching them in an advanced class, and it’s just amazing how far they’ve come,” he said. “It’s really rewarding.”