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ASU Global Launch alumni find success at university

Global Launch alumni Houria Alabbas and Sebastian Cordova

Global Launch alumni Houria Alabbas (left) and Sebastian Cordova. Photos by Kevin Hornsby

February 12, 2018

Arizona State University's Global Launch program propels students, educators and other professionals to thrive in the global marketplace through academic preparation services, training in multilingual communication and professional skills development.

Houria Alabbas and Sebastian Cordova, alumni from Global Launch's Intensive English Program, share their experiences with the program and how it prepared them for success in the classroom and beyond.

Question: Let’s start by introducing yourselves.

Alabbas: My name is Houria, and I am from Saudi Arabia. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology in the College of Health Solutions.

Cordova: My name is Sebastian Cordova, and I am from Ecuador. I am a sophomore at ASU getting my degree in aeronautical management technology with a focus on professional flight at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Q: Why did you choose Global Launch?   

Alabbas: I chose this program because it was the most recommended program in [Saudi Arabia].

Cordova: I read a lot of articles about ASU and Global Launch, and learned that ASU is a top university in the world. I learned that Global Launch is diverse.

Q: How did Global Launch prepare you for ASU?

Alabbas: It gives you opportunities to improve your language skills in a place where making mistakes is acceptable. It is a place where you will find support all the time. We weren’t only learning the language. It is also about learning American culture and discussing other global issues, which opened my mind to many different topics. My favorite Global Launch activity was Reading Theater because it’s a combination between listening and watching movies to help understand context and conversation.

Cordova: Global Launch helped me get involved with ASU students because the classes were on the Tempe campus. I got involved in (the) ASU environment, which helped me not be afraid of my first day at ASU as a freshman.

Q: You both have different majors. How did Global Launch help you succeed in your specific degree programs?

Alabbas: I was able to learn skills like writing academic papers and summaries, citation styles and academic research, which all helped in my graduate study. The English program was a simulation of real ASU classes, what to expect from the professor, and how to perform to be successful in my classes for my degree.

Cordova: Global Launch helped me to communicate effectively. My major is aviation, which involves a lot of communication not only with your co-pilot, but with the tower. You have to be in constant communication, so the Global Launch conversation clubs were a really good way for me to practice. It was also good to meet new people from different backgrounds and countries who do not speak Spanish, so I was forced to practice.

Q: Do you think you are at an advantage over the ASU students who only rely on taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam for admission?

Alabbas: I think I am. I learned about how to do all of the things like comprehension and composition, learning about new cultures and the university, and making new friends. After the program, I was still able to get a TOEFL waiver to start my graduate program.

Cordova: Yes. It is important for students to complete the program through the most advanced level because if you want to start at ASU after you complete the program you can get a TOEFL waiver. With that, you won’t have to spend money on an extra exam like TOEFL or IELTS ( International English Language Testing System) and you can start your degree right away. If you take a test, you’re not going to learn about what going to college really feels like or how to meet new people in a new country. Without Global Launch I would have never grown as a person or be living here in the U.S. 

To learn more about the Intensive English Program, request materials or to become an educational agent, go here or contact

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