English Language Specialist Ron Serra is flying planes and teaching grammarat the same time.

In Almaty, Kazakhstan, Serra is teaching Aviation-English to pilots. Aviation English is a hybrid of aviation-related material, air traffic control communications, and English grammar.

“Aviation English provides foreign pilots a glimpse into American aviation, social acceptance, and cultural differences,” Serra said. For example, listening comprehension videos portray women and minorities as having equal opportunities in aviation careers. The aviation English program not only teaches pilots the specialized English language skills they need for their jobs, but also introduces them to American customs.

“I earned the respect of the pilots because we all spoke one language – aviation. For many people, ‘music’ is the international language, but among aeronautical professionals, especially pilots, it is aviation. Before long, we were having weekend barbecues and the colonel would provide personal tours to famous attractions in Almaty. I felt like a rock star, yet I too was being intellectually challenged.”

International pilots like the ones Serra trains are natural ambassadors and diplomats because of their job requirements, and the aviation English program is helping to broaden their knowledge of other cultures.

Related Stories

Fellow Elizabeth Plummer Makes an Impact as an Educational Technology Trainer in South Africa

Based in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, English Language Fellow Elizabeth Plummer supports teacher professional development in technology at University of Witwatersrand’s Hub for Multilingual Languages and Literacies (HuMEL). Discover Plummer’s life as a Fellow as she manages a language laboratory, leads professional programs for local teachers, and mentors student researchers conducting projects in…

Fellow Bret Vlazny Fosters English as Diplomacy in Ramallah, West Bank

Based in Ramallah, West Bank, English Language Fellow Bret Vlazny is a cultural ambassador and visiting lecturer at Al-Quds Open University. Vlazny's placement has taken him throughout the region visiting university branches from Jenin to Hebron. Discover Vlazny's life as a Fellow as he introduces strategies for integrating classroom technology, delivers blended learning training for…

Follow Us on Twitter


Flashback to former #ELFellow Jennifer Miller in #Myanmar. Outside of the classroom, Jennifer got her hands dirty l… https://t.co/dWZVrM6fGc

2 days ago