Date: February 22, 2010
For four weeks during January and February, the Andrews University Center for Intensive English opened its doors to 34 elementary, middle-school and secondary education language arts teachers from Korea. The group arrived on campus for a four-week intensive “immersion” experience, which ran from January 4–February 3, 2010. Sponsored by the GyeongGi English Village as part of the South Korean government, the visit was designed to instruct teachers how to teach English in English.
“I think of our program as a bridge that connects the University to students who are outside the community,” says Jeanette Bryson, director of intensive English programs at Andrews University. “We are a group of people who work together as a team to improve fluency and assist students in need.”
The Center for Intensive English was designed to help international students master the English language. Since its beginning in the late 70s, the program has grown to include activities and extension programs for those in the Intensive English Language Program. This is the first year Andrews was chosen as a host-institution alongside Southwestern Adventist University and the University of California-Riverside.
The Awards and Farewell Banquet concluded with awards and
“The Korean government chose Andrews out of all the potential institutions in the United States,” says Bryson. “By hosting the teachers, we provided opportunities for conversation and fluency. Actually, I was surprised that many already had a strong background in English.”
The experience completed the teachers’ 6-month study program that included online classes and conference attendances. The final step was to spend four-weeks at an American university campus, a stay that would consist of school visits, activities, traveling and classes.
“We planned a short tour and long tour for the teachers each week,” says Bryson. “We visited Chicago, spent three days in New York, and went to Washington, D.C., Niagara Falls, the University Park Mall, Michigan City and an Amish village.”
When they weren’t traveling or attending classes, the teachers spent time in campus housing and the last two weeks with a host family in the community. Of the 24 families who opened their homes to the Korean students, only five families were not affiliated with Andrews.
“My husband, Paul D. Smith Jr., and I had a terrific time with our guest, Jee Eun ‘June’ Kim,” said L. Monique Pittman, director of honors and associate professor of English. “The experience was a great opportunity for Paul and I to learn about another culture and to confirm (as you would expect) that regardless of national and ethnic differences, human beings have the same struggles, aspirations and pleasures the world over....We would most definitely recommend the experience of serving as a host family. We made an amazing new friend, learned about Korean culture and analyzed American life through the eyes of a visitor to the country.”
Students and teachers for a final farewell group photo.
At the end of the four weeks, a celebration was held for the teachers. The Awards and Farewell Banquet was held on January 28 and consisted of a dinner and various entertainment acts, such as a choral presentation, piano solo, sign language act, drama and ocarina performance. The evening concluded with awards and presentations given by Keith Mattingly, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Korean government official Young Gi Kim, a researcher for the Gyeonggie Foreign Language Research Institute. Each teacher received a certificate of completion for 120 hours of course work and cultural immersion experiences.
“After being on our campus, the students have changed their worldview of America, Christianity and Seventh-day Adventists in particular. It is amazing to me,” says Bryson. “This was not just a four-week intensive program where the teachers came and went. It was the beginning of relationships that will build and last.”