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Where Are They Now Alumni Profile - Meet Shihong Tang and Yi Zhang

photo of couple Shihong Tang and Yi Zhang with text 'Where Are They Now Meet Shihong Tang and Yi Zhang'

Where Are They Now Alumni Profile - Meet Shihong Tang and Yi Zhang

Rio English classes lead couple to jobs, set foundation for future

In 2011, Shihong Tang decided to make a change in her life. She enrolled in Rio Salado College’s English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) classes to help master a new language and further her career opportunities.

“When I came to the USA in 2011, it was very hard for me to communicate in English,” Tang said. “I felt it was impossible for me to find a job if I can’t speak English well.”

Tang learned about the adult education classes available at Rio Salado College, and decided to enroll.

“It is a great start for me,” Tang said. “I liked the class, and my teacher, Daphne, gave me a lot of support. I liked all the parts in this program because they are helpful for my English learning and my daily life.”

Originally from Tianjin, China, Tang spent 20 years working as an accountant before moving to the United States to make a better life for her family. Tang’s husband, Yi Zhang, also took part in Rio’s English classes.

“The classes were a great start for me and my wife,” Zhang said. “It was very helpful for her to find a job and know more about American culture. It is a solid foundation for us to get self -confidence to start our careers.”

While it can be challenging to get ahead in the job market when you are not fluent in the native language, Tang advises students to not be afraid when considering education to get ahead.

“Learning is a great way to have a better life,” Tang said. “It can provide a solid foundation for your future. I got self-confidence at Rio. The teachers and staff helped me to know this community and gave me a lot of support when I tried to find a job.”

Today both Tang and Zhang work at Glendale Community College. Tang works as a Student Services Technician in the Testing Center and Zhang works in tech support. 

“The best thing I like is serving and supporting the students and community members,” Tang said. “I hope I can find a full-time job in a community college to serve more students.”

About Rio Salado’s English Language Classes

Rio Salado College’s English language classes are available to students aged 16 and older and are taught in a supportive environment designed for adults. Classes focus on reading, writing, listening, speaking, citizenship and digital literacy.

Classes are offered in-person and virtual live-online, with morning and evening options available. In-person classes are offered at several locations across Maricopa County. Classes are taught by dedicated instructors who are eager to help students improve their English. Learn more here.

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