Jeewon’s school is for life, not just for language
2017-11-01 15:45:00 -
Education
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By Michaela Althouse

‘Jeewon’ in Hindi means ‘life’ – which is exactly what Sudesh Jeewon feels he gives his students at the Dublin College of Advanced Studies.

 

Around 100 part-time and full-time international students are enrolled at the Capel Street school, which teaches different levels of English and prepares students for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.

 

Jeewon has been in charge of the school for a year, since he was approached by its prior owners in dire financial straits. In the 12 months since, he says he has paid off most of the school’s debt and filled its classes to almost full capacity.

 

An immigrant himself, Jeewon left his home country of Mauritius at the age of 27 to study in the UK. Now a father of three, he has been in the education business for 13 years, setting up in Ireland — initially in Killarney — after his school in England closed five years ago. 

 

“School is a noble business,” he says. “We are opening the minds of people and doors for people.”

 

Jeewon says his students — mostly from Brazil, but also Mexico and Malaysia — come to Ireland because of its more flexible immigration policy compared to the UK. All they need is a letter from the school and proof of funds. 

 

Ireland is a great place for his students, he says, because they are allowed to work part-time – and because the Taoiseach is a son of an immigrant. He also notes that Ireland is growing as a leader in agriculture, IT and aircraft leasing, and full of opportunity.

 

This is a far cry from his experience in the UK, where many of his students there were targeted for removal by the Home Office. They were easier to find than illegal immigrants not on record, Jeewon suggests, and many language schools closed as a result.

 

“They come and they don’t get harassed by immigration officers,” Jeewon says of the very different experience for language students in Ireland. “They are very free, and Ireland itself is a very welcoming country.”


Care of duty

The Dublin College of Advanced Studies emphasises its teachers’ ‘care of duty’ to their students, serving as part tutors and part parents to young people far away from their families and home. 

 

Jeewon recalls one student in particular who was fainting in class from too much pressure, and whom he accompanied to the hospital. The school subsequently helped her get a job, and she is now thriving and working at a restaurant. 

 

Other tasks for the school’s staff besides help with finding work include helping students get their PPS numbers and ID cards and opening bank accounts. As a result of their help, many former students stay in Ireland long after graduation.

 

However, the focus of the school is on learning English. Jeewon calls it the language of business, technology and commerce, which gives the students many more options in employment. Even students who return to their home countries are excited to learn English in order to find better jobs or receive promotions, as well as make friends abroad.


Valuable asset

Jeewon feels that educating immigrants is a valuable asset to both Ireland and the world at large. Immigrants work twice as hard and get farther than native students who may not realise the opportunities available to them, he says, adding that the success of immigrants can then lead to jobs for locals. 

 

He notes that some of the top business leaders in the world are the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, such as the founders of Apple and Google.

 

“They learn every single thing they can learn, and they become the leaders of industry,” he says. “[They] have that courage that immigrants have to take things one step further.”

 

As for Jeewon’s steps further, he is unsure where the rest of his life will take him. There are plenty of possibilities, including Canada, New Zealand and India. But for now, his work will keep him in Dublin with his school and his students.

 

“We have to help them in whatever way we can,” he says of himself and his staff. “We help them because we came as immigrants, too.

 

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