Instructor JiSoo Abbuehl helps international students express themselves in English

JiSoo Abbuehl serves to establish a conducive learning space for international students. She worked with many international students and helped them express their thoughts and opinions in English.

courtesy of Jisoo Abbuehl

JiSoo Abbuehl serves to establish a conducive learning space for international students. She worked with many international students and helped them express their thoughts and opinions in English.

JiSoo Abbuehl, an adjunct instructor of Washburn’s Intensive English Program, has been working at the university since 2014. Abbuehl strives to help international students share their thoughts and opinions in English, rather than their native language, as it’s not easy for all international students to do so.

Yuhei Morimoto, a sophomore majoring in computer science who has taken a class previously with Abbuehl, says that Abbuehl is a pretty good instructor for English learners.

“I learn new things, like idioms, citations and how to deliver speeches,” Morimoto said. “Students may develop their four skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking by taking her class as her speaking is clear and straightforward.”

Yuki Takshashi, a freshman majoring in liberal studies, is currently taking Abbuehl’s class. Takahashi finds that Abbuehl cares about, motivates and helps students in various work and also, in some ways, provides counseling.

“I am learning more about speech and listening skills. I have gotten many opportunities to speak and utilize English in lessons and group discussions,” Takashashi said. “I learned many things about American culture and how we can explore our life best in the U.S. from her.”

Abbuehl double majored in microbiology and English at Inje University in South Korea for her undergrad. She earned her master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Emporia State University. It was at Emporia where she met a compassionate and dedicated professor Shins from India during her master’s program, who went above and beyond to help her reach her potential.

She likes to utilize her time off-campus in exploring new ideas and places.

“In my spare time, I’m always looking for new recipes because I enjoy cooking. I also like hiking because it helps me stay focused when I’m dealing with some stress or anxiety. I love oil painting, listening to music and watching movies with my husband. I also love traveling because traveling has always been my passion,” Abbuehl said. “Furthermore, I like taking walks, painting, cooking, spending time with my family and friends, and trying to learn something new. I also try to look for some wonderful teaching ideas.”

Abbuehl mentioned that she enjoyed reading the book “The Choice” by Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor which talks about how people can be in charge of their lives, no matter what kind of circumstances they’re in or the problems to deal with. She also really loved the movie “Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times” which was about the beautiful friendship between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama which shows how we can navigate our life’s challenges with compassion and joy. She also watches 60 minutes documentaries which showcase fascinating stories on current events from different parts of the globe.

Her favorite coffee shop was PP’s, which she often frequented to visit and meet with colleagues. It has since been replaced by the B&B Theatres. Paisano’s Ristorante, an Italian restaurant southwest Topeka, also holds a special place in her heart.

“It is so valuable to me because I had a wonderful time and had a delicious meal together with my second mom and dad,” Abbuehl said. “Whenever I walk by the restaurant, I am reminded of that delightful moment.”

Her destiny with Washburn University started after meeting a professor who taught methods for teaching English as a second language.

“Her class taught me how to teach non-native speakers, and I was impressed by her interactive teaching style and informative lessons. After finishing the course, the professor offered me a job, and I became an ESL teacher at the Topeka Public Schools’ Adult Education Center,” Abbuehl said. “While I was working there, Kelly and my professor were also working there for the Intensive English Program.”

She was then introduced to this fantastic program, which helped her integrate into the Washburn community.

“I have noticed that some of the new students feel frustrated, confused and sometimes depressed when they have difficulty expressing themselves or understanding others in English. My main goal is to create a brain-friendly environment for their students, so they feel comfortable and enjoy their learning experience,” Abbuehl said.

Abbuehl also says students should interview or talk with other students on campus to help them practice speaking and engage in authentic language practice. She enjoys seeing their students grow throughout the semester and feels it’s a wonderful place to be.

Edited by Aja Carter, Simran Shrestha and Glorianna Noland