Mr. Christopher Sayles: ULIS is a big family!
My name is Christopher Sayles, people usually call me Chris. I’m from America, and I began working at ULIS in September 2015 as a specialist of REI.
My personal involvement with REI is in the area of English education, and currently (and the foreseeable future) that work is in cooperation with ULIS. Basically, my work can be broken down to two areas: teaching and working at the Center for Testing and Assessment. I have taught classes for two different programs, CIE and ISP. The common thread of these programs is to develop the English capacity of students who study their subjects (economics, chemistry, engineering, etc.) in English-speaking classrooms, whether that is in Hanoi or overseas.
My involvement with the Testing Center is mostly concerned with English proficiency tests for a variety of education levels. For those tests, I’m involved with different stages of development, including item writing and editing.
This is a new field for me, and I want to be clear that my colleagues are the true experts and heroes. I have been learning from them much more than I may have helped them. Actually, working in the Testing Center has been the big surprise for me. I discovered fairly early on that I enjoy it much more than teaching. It has also shown me how much better I could be if I, myself, were professionally trained in this area, so I have decided this is the direction I want my future development to work towards.
I have been overwhelmed at the level to which I have been drawn into the community here at ULIS. At first, it was just the Testing Center, but through participating in various events and outings I have met and been befriended by many people in various departments. I have worked at a large university in the US, and I feel like the ULIS community acts more like a family than colleagues. So what I have enjoyed most is the feeling of being part of the ULIS family.
Nothing that the average foreigner hasn’t had to deal with—and probably the same issues that every Hanoian finds frustrating. The good news is that nothing has been so bad as to make me want to pack my things up and move back home. Actually, a lot has already happened in the past year: we have added three new full-time positions, plus we have moved our offices to some better facilities in the A-1 building. So, I can see that the administration cares about us and our work. As for other areas, I will let my much more knowledgeable colleagues make those determinations.