A.C.E. - Associates in Cultural Exchange

A.C.E. Transfer Partner Highlight: Bastyr University

Did you know that A.C.E. Language Institutes have ‘No TOEFL’ agreements with 11 partner institutions for transfer admission? If they are academically admissible, students can complete their English language training at any A.C.E. Language Institute location, then transfer into one of our partner schools without ever needing to take the TOEFL!


One of these A.C.E. transfer partners is Bastyr University, a leader in natural health arts and sciences. Students who complete Level 6 of A.C.E. can transfer into undergraduate or postgraduate programs at Bastyr with no TOEFL required.

Located just north of Seattle, this nonprofit private university is the world’s leading academic center for the advancement and integration of the natural health arts and sciences at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Popular Undergraduate Majors:

Bastyr University offers a broad foundation that prepares students to flourish as successful holistic professionals. Bastyr University is one of only seven accredited naturopathic medical school in the USA.  Popular majors include naturopathic medicine, nutrition, and integrated human biology.  For a complete list of undergraduate majors, please explore Bastyr’s programs.


Graduate Degree Programs: 

For student interested in natural healing and whole-person medicine, Bastyr University offers the Doctor of Nautropathic Medicine Graduate Program. Through in-depth clinical training coupled with Bastyr’s considerable basic sciences curriculum, graduates of this program consistently earn top scores on the Nautropathic Licensing Examinations (NPLEX).

For students interested in a more conventional route, Bastyr’s Master of Science in Nutrition allows students a solid overview of nutritional science, theory and research through a combination of holistic perspective with lab work. The primary purpose of this degree is preparation for advanced doctoral studies in nutrition or other health care-related fields. Learn more about how Bastyr Graduates are creatively applying their nutrition degrees.


A Research University:

Bastyr University was the first school of naturopathic medicine to receive a grant from the National institutes of Health (NIH). Subsequent NIH grants include:
• $3.1 million for breast cancer research awarded jointly with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
• $4.52 million to study the healing powers of Asian medicinal mushrooms on breast and prostate cancer, in partnership with the University of Washington

Focusing on Integrative Oncology Research, Bastyr University is on the front lines of complementary and alternative medicine research. Learn more about research studies done at Bastyr.


Campus Life:

Throughout the campus experience, Bastyr emphasizes health and a connection with the environment. Nutritious whole foods are available daily to students in the award-winning Bastyr dining commons, which uses fresh herbs and vegetables grown in the Bastyr Medicinal Herb Garden. The Dining Commons features a fully stocked salad bar option, creative hot meals and fresh-baked goods.

Bastyr’s Student Village, an alternative answer to traditional student dorms, features cottage-style apartments designed to encourage student interaction. They include free wireless internet, free utilities, free laundry machines and furnished single suite rooms.

For information on how to apply for conditional admission to Bastyr University, please visit their international student page. For inquiries about how to apply to A.C.E., please email enroll@cultural.org.


Images courtesy of bastyr.edu.

How Grizzly Bears and Wolves Helped A.C.E. Students Improve their English

A.C.E. Level 5 students at the West Yellowstone Grizzly &Wolf Discovery Center

Smiles abounded and cameras clicked as Level 5 students from A.C.E. Language Institute at Montana State University saw their first wolves at West Yellowstone’s Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Spending the day learning about the habitat and behaviors of wolves and grizzlies provided the students with the chance to learn more about one of the most important ecosystems in the United States, one that is only a couple of hours from their campus in Bozeman. While important, the primary reason for the trip was to cultivate interest and build background knowledge – an essential part of becoming a skillful reader. The Level 5 reading course is a unique opportunity for students to learn reading strategies, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills through content.

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A.C.E. Instructor Valley Peters (far right) poses with A.C.E. Level 5 Reading Students


“Wolves in Yellowstone” is a pilot course at A.C.E. designed to teach students how to grapple with authentic texts. Student develop reading skills such as annotating texts, creating concept maps, hypothesizing, interpreting illustrations and charts, and making inferences. Students improve these skills by demonstrating comprehension of a wide range of texts, such as magazine articles, letters to the editor, non-fiction literature, historical data, and websites. In previous levels, students are exposed to graded reading appropriate for their stage of learning. As we prepare students to exit the program, we want students to develop skills for extensive reading, especially of texts with academic vocabulary. This course also builds critical thinking skills as students examine multiple perspectives on the controversial reintroduction and management of wolves and draw conclusions based on course readings.

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A.C.E. students examining a pelt in the Warming Hut


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The Center is home for seven wolves that live in two different packs. The wolves were born in captivity and are unable to live in the wild.


While at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a biologist gave students a tour of the facility and answered student questions. Students viewed two wolf packs and five grizzly bears during their visit. Between animal observations, students learned more about the animals’ history in Yellowstone and what day to day life is like for these animals in the wild. The displays reinforced information they had read about in previous class texts and prepared them for discussing new concepts like the “trophic cascade” in which ecosystems experience an array of effects when a keystone species is removed and reintroduced. Students also viewed an IMAX movie of Yellowstone which brought the history of the nation’s first park to life through stories of Native Americans and early trappers. Upon returning to their studies following the field trip,  students commented on how much easier it was to understand the readings. What I noticed as an instructor was a new light in their eyes when we talked about wolves – several light bulbs had flickered on that brought a new dimension to our reading course!

By: Valley Peters, A.C.E. at MSU Instructor, Special Correspondent to the A.C.E. Blog

Want a more detailed look into A.C.E.’s trip to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center?  Take a look at our student’s perspective video, here.

For more information on the creative programs at A.C.E. Language Institute at MSU, please visit our website at www.cultural.org/esl/msu.php

Kazakh Entrepreneurial Leadership Program Visits Seattle and A.C.E.

E2's 2014 Summer Entrepreneurial Leadership Program participants pose outside the A.C.E. Central Office

E2’s 2014 Summer Entrepreneurial Leadership Program participants pose outside the A.C.E. Central office

On July 21st, A.C.E. welcomed our 3rd annual group of E2 Summer Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (SELP) students at the A.C.E. Central Office. These eight future Kazakh leaders spent several hours with President & CEO David Woodward, and Director of Marketing Lori Maxfield to gain insight into the finer details of operating a non-profit in the field of international education, as well as a clearer understanding of what it means to “Make the World Your Community,” A.C.E.’s mission. Through thoughtful discourse and stimulating questions, SELP students demonstrated a proactive passion for learning and high level of English communication skill as they made the most of their time analyzing A.C.E. The SELP students were in Seattle for several weeks and also attended A.C.E. English courses.

Students who are selected for E2’s Summer Entrepreneurial Leadership Program spend 70 hours interacting with US business leaders in Kazakhstan before traveling to the United States to interview CEO’s and managers of 20 companies in Seattle and Chicago. These companies range from the multinational powerhouses like Amazon and Boeing, to locally owned businesses like Trophies2go.com. This year’s SELP participants were mostly business students focused on learning from the core beliefs and values of successful American companies, with intent to apply this knowledge in their local market of Kazakhstan.

A.C.E. hosts the business English portion of E2’s SELP, which encourages students to work out idioms that had been heard, yet misunderstood, during their previous company meetings. SELP students left the A.C.E. Language Institute at SPU with a confidence boost in their new-found understanding of business English slang, remarking that the A.C.E. business curriculum “taught us a lot not only about business English, but also about culture and people here.”

Through A.C.E. English language courses, SELP future leaders were also educated on American culture. Upon learning that the students were preparing to attend a Chicago Cubs game, an A.C.E. instructor saw a great opportunity to teach an important part of American culture by educating SELP students on the rules of baseball. In response to the flexibility of A.C.E. instructors, E2 communications and operations director Joshua Goetsch remarked, “This kind of customization and real time adjustments is what sets our students experience at A.C.E. apart. This active relationship is what makes the instruction truly exceptional.”

SELP future leaders received certificates of completion at the A.C.E. coursework graduation ceremony

SELP future leaders received certificates of completion at the A.C.E. coursework graduation ceremony

In 1995, A.C.E. Senior Advisor Tom Goetsch recognized the complexities that Kazakhstan faced during its shift from a Soviet Socialist Republic to a global market economy. E2 Educational Services was conceived in 1996 to meet the distinctive needs of this nation in transition by providing context-intensive education to develop young leaders able to renew their country.

Since the inception of E2 Educational Services, Tom and his son Josh have successfully brought 220 select Kazakh students into the United States for business and leadership training. Additional to E2 and his collaboration with the Kazakh Ministry of Education, Tom Goetsch has brought his regional expertise of Central Asia to the table as an A.C.E. Senior Advisor for the past five years. For more information on the history and current events of E2 Education Services, please visit www.e2es.org. For more information on A.C.E. Group Programs, please visit us at www.cultural.org/groups.

Brazilian Scholars for English and STEM Training Bring Positive Energy to A.C.E.

BSMP Students

Brazilian STEM students engage in English training at A.C.E. at URI.

As Brazilians brought positive energy to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazilian students through the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP) program are doing the same at A.C.E. Language Institutes.

BSMP is part of a Brazilian government initiative to send 100,000 fully-funded students abroad over the course of 3 years for non-degree training in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. A.C.E. currently hosts 47 BSMP students across all of our language institutes. The program provides intensive English training to scholars with lower levels of proficiency before beginning their academic programs in the STEM fields. After an academic year of study in the United States, BSMP students return to Brazil to complete their undergraduate degrees.

The drive of BSMP students has helped to motivate lower performing students.

As upper level undergraduates, BSMP students enter A.C.E. Language Institutes with more experience of university academic life than many A.C.E. students. Ben Hsu, Instructor at A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University, observed that since “BSMP students were already in university for two years, they have a more realistic idea of what is expected from them in an academic environment.”  Ben draws upon that experience by specifically pairing BSMP students with classmates who may be struggling. The drive of BSMP students has helped to motivate lower performing students, and the results are shown through a boost in confidence.

Rosemar, a BSMP student at A.C.E. at SPU, enjoys the shared learning. He states that he just “loves being in class with many cultures that have the common goal of all learning English.”

The cooperative learning is a theme at A.C.E. at Montana State University as well.  BSMP student Vanessa compares her English training at A.C.E. at MSU to her previous programs, noting that A.C.E. curriculum “really demands all my concentration to follow the course” and that “I really think that my English is improving.”

BSMP students are engaging with the campus community.

Though highly focused on academics, BSMP students have also shown themselves to be approachable and outgoing, both inside and outside of the classroom.  At A.C.E. Language Institute at the University of Rhode Island, BSMP students are engaging with the campus community by collaborating with the Department of Modern Languages to help students practice their Portuguese. In coordination with A.C.E. and URI staff, BSMP students regularly participate in language partner activities, movie nights, and social activities with American students. BSMP student Jessiká remarks that she “met new people who I should remember throughout my life” during these extracurricular activities. A.C.E. students find camaraderie even when cheering on their home teams in the World Cup!

Our BSMP students have proven themselves to be excellent students with an amiable disposition and strong academic motivation.  This past July 4th, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff formally announced the BSMP program will continue for another 3-year cycle beginning 2015 with another 100,000 scholarships for Brazilians to study abroad. A.C.E. is excited to continue to host Brazilian students in this next phase of the BSMP program!

A.C.E. Culminates 40th Anniversary Celebration at NAFSA

A.C.E. NAFSA Luncheon

A.C.E. Luncheon at NAFSA

On Wednesday, May 28, friends and staff of Associates in Cultural Exchange commemorated the A.C.E. 40th Anniversary at NAFSA 2014 in San Diego. The luncheon event was a celebration of the dedication, friendship, and hard work committed to our organization by the  friends and family of A.C.E. over the past four decades.  President David Woodward opened the event by welcoming distinguished guests and presenting certificates to members of the A.C.E. International Advisory Council.  Scott Hardman welcomed guests on behalf of the A.C.E. Board of Directors.  In honor of Board member Jeff Parker, BMO Private Bank was acknowledged for their generous support of the luncheon.

View all photos from the event by clicking here.

A.C.E. International Advisory Council members

A.C.E. International Advisory Council members with certificates

Representatives from each A.C.E. host university spoke about their partnership over the years, including Dr. Norman Peterson,  Executive Director of International Programs at Montana State University; Nancy Stricklin, Assistant to the Provost for Global Strategies and Partnerships at the University of Rhode Island; Dr. Ross Stewart, Lead for Global Initiatives at Seattle Pacific University; and Brother Shamus McGrenra, Retiring Director of International Admissions and Student Services at Saint Francis University.

Brother Shamus

Brother Shamus McGrenra speaks

The luncheon also served as a platform for Brother Shamus McGrenra to formally announce his retirement after a 40 year career in the field of international education. A transcript of Brother Shamus’s retirement speech can be downloaded here. Building upon Brother Shamus’ progress, Sam Heikinen was introduced to fulfill his role.

James Donaldson

James Donaldson gives keynote

The culminating keynote speaker was James Donaldson, President & CEO of America China Education Services and A.C.E. IAC member. After his career playing professional basketball in the NBA, James began to promote various study abroad and cultural/sports exchange programs and more recently served as a liaison with Tsinghua University in China.  James inspired the audience with his remarks on building cross-cultural cooperation across organizations to support the youth of the future.

On behalf of the A.C.E. staff, we thank you for your continued support over these past 40 years!


President Woodward welcomes distinguished guests

Download the transcript of Shamus McGrenra’s Speech
View all photos from the event at http://trlphoto.shootproof.com/event/631490/view#a_all-mason




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