English Language Resource List

We are pleased to share with you a resource list on Google Docs that we have compiled for those interested in English language learning. The list includes various helpful resources and contacts that we believe will be useful for learners of all levels.

Please find below the link to access the resource list: https://rb.gy/zzlj1a or scan the QR code in the picture.

International Poetry Night

Global Connections will be holding an International Poetry Night at Webster’s Bookstore Café. Everyone is welcome to step up and to share a favorite poem from a favorite poet in their own language and its English translation, or to share one of their own poems. Are you a poet? We’d love to hear which poets inspired you. But, if you prefer only to listen to others recite, you are also welcome to attend this inspiring event and enjoy a cultural night.

When: Thursday, March 23, at 7:00 PM.
Where: Webster’s Bookstore Café on 133 Beaver Ave, State College, PA 16801.
Cost: FREE and open to the public. Donations will be welcome.

Here is the link to register for the event: https://globalconnections.wildapricot.org/event-5162387

If someone wants to be a presenter at the event, please also register here: Registration for PRESENTERS


We in Global Connections want to express our solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria affected by the terrible earthquakes that have caused an unimaginable loss of lives and suffering, along with widespread destruction. We encourage all who can to make a contribution to rescue and recovery services. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to members of our community who have relatives and friends in the region.

Discussion Group Members decide to have in-person Meetings once a Month

The Global Connections (GC) discussion group members decided that it would be great to have an in-person session once a month. Their first in person meeting happened on December 20th. It was a joyful celebration. The GC president, Bob Persiko, submited a request for a room at the Municipal Building for the last Tuesday of the months of January through April. On Tuesday, Jan 24th, they met in person in room 241. It was an informal moment when the group could share thoughts and writings. 

Global Connections Profile: meet the Lucky and Brave Baktygul Issabekova

Do you know anyone who has won the United States Diversity Visa (Green Card) lottery? If your answer is “No,” Global Connections has a surprise for you. Allow us to introduce a very lucky woman, Baktygul Issabekova. But, besides being lucky, she is also remarkably strong, smart and brave. She is a Global Connections member from far-off Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital where she worked as a sales manager. 

Baktygul moved to the USA almost three years ago with her husband Darkhan and two beautiful daughters, Darina (14) and Yasmina (8). They chose State College because her husband, an architect, was hired by a firm in the area.

“My first impressions of America were great. I really loved New York City, but America is not only New York, right? The easiest part of moving was making friends with other Kazakh and Russian (her second language) speakers who live here. The hardest part was facing COVID 19 just a few months after we arrived.”

While Baktygul loves living in the US with her husband and children, she does get really homesick at times. “I miss my mom, my dad and my sisters, my other relatives and friends.” She also misses the food and the restaurants in Kazakhstan and the physical and natural beauty of her homeland. “The Kazakh mountains are true works of beauty,” she says.

Baktygul recalls that she heard about the possibility of getting a Green Card from a friend. “My husband really wanted to move to the USA. I just filled out the form and forgot about it. I didn’t even hope for success. Now that I know how difficult this Lottery is, I understand that I’m really lucky.”

Baktygul has been a valued member of Global Connections for almost one year. She met the organization after an invitation from her Brazilian friend, Sabrina Lima, Global Connections’ outgoing Public Relations Officer. She tells how GC is helping her. “I met my great tutor Bruce Truitt, who helps me to learn English on a charitable basis. Also, I met a lot of other international citizens.” She says that her favorite things about GC are the in-person thematic meetings and the opportunity to experience a little bit of how other people from around the world live. “Walking in another person’s shoes is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.” 

She plans to keep studying English even harder, make new friends in America and build a career for herself. With all her luck and courage, she will certainly succeed. Fly high, Baktygul!

Know the elected Global Connections’ officers

Robert (Bob) Persiko was re-elected Global Connections’ president at the November 9 general membership meeting. This is Bob’s third term as president. 

Anna Borisova de Valdez was chosen to be the new secretary. Marco Damasceno is the new public relations officer. Kieran Holland will remains the vice-president, and Bruce Truitt will continue as treasurer. All the elected are volunteers. 

During the meeting, the members also approved changes in the Global Connections bylaws.

English Teachers Needed

Global Connections currently offers one weekly English class, conducted virtually, whose members are at the intermediate-to-advanced level. We might offer a more basic English class if we have a teacher and sufficient students to justify the offering. The target audience would likely be immigrants whose children are taking ESL classes in school. The other possibility is one-on-one tutoring in English. We already have a couple of GC members who are serving as tutors in this way. Having a “stable” of teachers who feel capable and are willing to engage in this way would enable us to respond to requests from public institutions. If you are interested, please contact Deb Leo, [email protected].

Volunteer interpreters and translators

We are often asked if we have any members who could volunteer to interpret for an individual in the community who doesn’t speak English. The need is occasional, and most requests come from the State College Area School District for cases involving immigrant families of enrolled students. So far, the languages have included Portuguese, Farsi, Vietnamese and Thai. We would like to establish a list of volunteer interpreters in Global Connections. If you are interested or know someone who is, please contact Bob Persiko, [email protected].

GC annual membership meeting is coming

All active members are invited to attend the annual membership meeting and officer election on Wednesday, November 9, 7:00-8:00, via Zoom.  Two items of business require approval:

  • 1.     A temporary suspension of the one-year term limit on the office of President in the Bylaws to enable Bob Persiko to run for a third term.
  • 2.     A change in the Bylaws as follows: 

Current text: IV.D.4 Duties of the Treasurer. The duties of the treasurer will include receiving and collecting membership dues, maintaining membership records, receiving and collecting programming fees, receiving and disbursing monies with the approval of the executive committee and keeping the financial records of the organization.

Proposed amendment:  delete the phrase “maintaining membership records” and add it to the responsibilities of the Membership Committee Chair in the Standing Rules.

Reasoning:  This is not a fiscal responsibility and therefore not relevant to what the Treasurer does. The Membership Chair is already fulfilling this function through the upkeep of records in Wild Apricot.

The slate of nominees for the 2023 officer positions will be distributed at least 15 days prior to the annual meeting, as required by the Bylaws.