Language school opens in Medina
MEDINA – Lubna Zaidi has a vision for Medina as a draw for international students. She and her team would teach English and foreign languages, and offer other services to help prepare students for American universities.
She thinks some students would stay for up to a year, improving their education and enjoying small-town American life.
Zaidi is taking the first step with that vision by opening the Medina Language Center.
“I think things grow in small places, sometimes faster than in big cities where you can get lost,” Zaidi said at the language center, which is located at 511 West Ave., a former dental office.
The school’s first focus will be high school students from the local community. The center will also gladly serve younger students and adults who need help to improve their skills and understanding in English and foreign languages, as well as other school subjects.
Zaidi and her team of teachers will have an open house on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to about 5 p.m. Medina Mayor Andrew Meier, who owns the building, will give opening remarks at the celebration.
Zaidi will give an overview of the center’s programs at 1:30 p.m. and there will be free trial classes, registration and information sessions from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Zaidi currently runs the World Life Education Centre outside Toronto. The Medina center will be modeled after that school, helping students bolster language skills and prepare for college entrance exams and other important tests.
The smaller class setting has proven to help those students, Zaidi said. The school also has a youth leadership program, The Gavel Club, and Zaidi wants to bring that program with its public speaking competitions to Medina.
“The focus is on public speaking and leadership, and to first try to be a humanitarian leader before you move on to something else,” she said.
She grew up in Hong Kong and was involved in a Gavel Club, when the program was first starting. She has taught and learned at schools in Toronto, London and Dubai, before establishing her school in Toronto three years ago, working with about 40 to 60 students each year.
Zaidi also has been a volunteer with the World Life Institute Project Life program, where war orphans from Afghanistan, Kosovo and Chechnya spend the summer in Orleans County, learning English, art and enjoying the rural countryside with host families.
Zaidi has been a chaperone for children on the flights from Afghanistan to the United States. She said she was so inspired by the program she named her school in Toronto after World Life.
Her parents recently moved from New York City to Medina so Zaidi is often in town visiting them and her friends in the World Life Institute. She has a team of teachers ready to serve in the Medina Language Center.
Classes will be available in the mornings, afternoons and evenings if there is demand from the students. She would like to connect with local school districts to make the center available to help local students.
If the program grows, she thinks the center could be popular with international students spending several months in Medina, honing their language skills before college.
Zaidi thinks Medina has lots of small-town appeal that would be attractive to international students. Many are from smaller towns in other countries and they would feel more comfortable staying in Medina than a big city.
They would also be close to Niagara Falls and nearby cities.
For more information about the Medina Language Center, call (585) 765-5480.