Alternative Venues: An EFL Writing Center Outside the University
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Recent years have seen an increasing presence of writing centers in diverse English as a Foreign Language (EFL) settings, particularly in East Asia and in Europe (Bräuer; Chang). These new centers face familiar issues such as a lack of resources, the need to adapt pedagogy to the local context (Reichelt et. al.; Broekhoff), and ideological resistance to the idea of peer learning (Turner) or even providing support for writing at all (Bräuer). In some cases, these difficulties may force potential writing centers to seek a platform entirely outside of the university, bringing both challenges and new possibilities as the center adapts to a community setting and clientele (Rousculp). This article describes the founding of a writing center in Niš, Serbia, in an alternative venue - an American Embassy-funded resource center. This institution has offered significant advantages, including a central location and strong preexisting member base, but it has also shifted the writing center’s focus away from university students towards the diverse writing needs of the broader community. This article discusses how these factors have affected the writing center’s mission, the tutors’ training and experiences, and the development of local pedagogy and concludes with suggestions for other writing center administrators on working in such alternative spaces.