Happy Birthday A.C.E.! It has been an exciting 40 years of Making the World Your Community by creating new connections, facilitating learning, and building interpersonal networks among people of different languages, cultural backgrounds and communities. A very warm”Thank you!” to our partner schools, agents, senior advisory council, staff, and of course, international students who have all played an integral role in A.C.E.’s growth.
Please take a moment to enjoy this short video showcasing A.C.E.’s 40 year journey of crossing the international bridges of language and culture.
On October 6th, A.C.E. hosted the 2nd annual Run About the World 2013 5K Fun Run/Walk. The Run About the World benefits A.C.E. World Language & Culture Ambassadors (WLCA), an enrichment program that prepares youth to engage with a globally connected world by offering foreign language and cultural instruction courses. Taking place on a gorgeous Seattle Sunday, this year’s Run About the World was able to raise $6,000 and provide 22 scholarships solely from registration proceeds and sponsorships. A.C.E. would like to once again express our gratitude to our sponsors for making an impact in bridging the international gaps of language and culture! Our sponsors include the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, the University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, Seattle Public Schools, the Woodward, Shepherd and Parker families, and many more.
Starting bright and early, the 9:00 AM warm up, led by Nicole Nazzaro, founder of the Wellness Playbook and speaker on health, wellness, and preventive medicine, prepared this year’s 169 registered participants for the 5K course. The route started at Gas Works Park, continued onto the scenic Cheshiahud Lake Union Trail, and finished at South Lake Union Park. Among the participants, A.C.E. Board Members and Central Office Staff were seen running or walking shoulder to shoulder with A.C.E. Language Institute students and dozens of local community members of all ages. Even a few family dogs ran the 5K to encourage our participants to keep up! As both runners and walkers neared the pedestrian bridge on the last legs of the race, the growing sound of music from the International Festival was drowned out by the cheers of volunteers and early finishers who gathered around the finish line to congratulate each and every participant on their accomplishment.
After crossing the finish line, participants were greeted with an explosion of color from the International Festival. Focused on a mutual exchange of international customs, cultures and traditions, A.C.E. students managed booths that showcased a global assortment of local arts. From Arabic calligraphy and Peruvian weaving to Japanese Origami and Day of the Dead festivities, students and community members alike were delighted to share their culture while learning about another’s. An atmosphere of cultural celebration permeated through the air during the entirety of the International Festival and refused to be forgotten even as the crowd thinned after a long day of running and learning.
The 2nd annual Run About the World 5K Fun Run/Walk brought A.C.E’s domestic and international departments together to celebrate our strides in making the world your community. An enormous “thank you!” goes out to all participants, volunteers, and sponsors who came together to provide 22 students with an opportunity to become a global ambassador. See you next year!
Seattle is a metropolitan city with customary issues that combats homelessness on many fronts. Of the organizations dedicated to fighting the problem, Operation Sack Lunch is singular in its mission to provide nutritionally dense hot and cold meals with determined regularity and in clean, safe environments. The forces at work in a food-insecure and/or un-housed person’s life were explored by students in Level 4 at the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University with direction from Dr. Patrice Caux and Dr. Ginny Maurer. The instructors for the term, they culminated their study taking students for a volunteer day in the kitchens of Operation Sack Lunch.
Doing their part to bring the 1200 hot meals the organization provides every day, the students worked in two kitchens, stocking shelves, prepping, and cooking. These kitchens at Ozanam House and St. Martins House serve their 50 residents, chronically homeless men age 55 and over. Chef Duuna ran the show at Ozanam and Chef Paul at St. Martins, while students, Ginny, and Patrice worked side by side carrying out orders. The students were face to friendly face with the residents as they served, and retreated to the kitchen to wash the plates, pots, and silverware after.
A note from Development Director at Operation Sack Lunch Kim Jones read: “I received a great email from Chef Paul saying that he could not have gotten so much accomplished without the help from your group yesterday. Though our staff is very good at getting the meals out, many of the maintenance items such as sorting and processing overstock, cleaning the stock rooms and taking inventory, we simply could not do without our volunteers. We are so glad that your students were able to come down and work with us, and are happy to hear that we could be part of lifelong education regarding poverty issues.”
“This project was a great opportunity.”
“This service learning project was one of the most wonderful experiences in my life”
“Helping another person makes me feel happy.”
“Seeing others smiling because of something you have done for them will give you full satisfaction.”
A.C.E. Language Institutes feed the mission of making the world your community by internationally engaging the local population and supporting efforts of social service organizations while broadening the cross-cultural education of students. We look forward to our next day of service learning and meeting every resident of the cities that house our Language Institutes.
The Eiken Foundation of Japan is the country’s leading testing organization evaluating English proficiency. The non-profit has made recent forays into elementary curriculum development including external training in international locations, prompted especially by the advent of standard English instruction in elementary schools a few years ago. A.C.E. serves as the North American Liaison Office for the Eiken Foundation, administering the Los Angeles office and testing site. A.C.E. Central Office serves marketing and business development functions as the test gains wider acceptance for U.S. university admission. The rolls of Eiken Recognizing Institutions, or “ERIs,” grows each month. A.C.E. continues to expand the portfolio of services offered Eiken with a second annual group of elementary school teachers selected nationwide for pedagogy, language, curriculum, and cultural training at the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University this summer.
For everyday English in an everyday home, teachers stayed with American host families. Just hours after getting off the plane, they were meeting the “moms” and “dads” that would take care of them for two weeks. With palpable excitement they were whisked away in cars on the brightest of Seattle days.
Training in lesson plans and vocabulary appropriate for their students began two days later. Rigorous curriculum, coupled with micro-teaching demonstrations capping the two weeks, was paired with language-development excursions. Introducing unfamiliar English into a familiar environment, the trainees played an afternoon of kickball at the Boys and Girls club in the Ballard neighborhood. Two teams of equal parts trainees and kids on summer vacation made their huddle and broke on the count of three before several innings of running the bases and tagging each other out.
The Seattle Mariners ran the bases a few days later, and everyone leapt to their feet during an exciting six-run fourth inning and eventual victory over Toronto Blue Jays. The teachers ordered American ballpark favorites from concessions and analyzed the plays in English with the Americans (and Canadians, in a sea of blue caps above) around them. The day also included classroom supply shopping at the tony educational store Curious Kidstuff and more basic Dollar Tree, both full of English language resources to decorate the classroom walls: displays with interchangeable days of the week and weather, books of math story problems in English, and other materials that can be all but impossible to find out of country.
A day trip to Mr. Rainier included history lessons about the area’s designation as a National Park in 1899, visits to an early cabin from that era, study of the natural minerals that finds their way up from the bedrock, and view after view of waterfalls, rivers, and the gorgeous peak itself. With an hour and half to go hiking, the teachers went up and down among the wildflowers in bloom for these few short weeks.
On-the-spot English at the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market had the teachers asking the vendors about most popular items and place where they secured their ingredients. More competitive was a scavenger hunt in the city’s Fremont neighborhood, with questions to ask the locals and landmarks to find, racing to be the first to finish.
Proud in front of their peers with A.C.E. certificates, the teachers presented a tongue-in-cheek enactment of situations appropriate to use idioms “pardon my French” and “zip your lips,” learned during classroom and tutoring time. This thank you to the staff of A.C.E. and Eiken at the final ceremony is just the beginning of a journey taking elementary students to new levels of English learning this fall. A parallel session for middle school teachers was produced at the same time, and in these two Group Programs A.C.E. proudly continues to serve this fellow non-profit in making the world your community.
The A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University is a bustling hub of activity during the city’s gorgeous summer months. The swell of Group Programs and college prep ESL students requires expert staff capable of handling multiculturalism and with strong administrative skill sets. A.C.E. offered a mirror of their own development as global citizens to three younger professionals who aided these groups and students the past two months.
Born in Iran, Danyal Lotfi moved suddenly to the U.S. when he was fourteen. Relearning “normal” at that age posed difficulties: “new country, with new people, a new culture, a new language, and a completely different lifestyle than what I had grown up with. One of my biggest challenges was communicating with my classmates and friends at school.” Four years later he enrolled at Western Washington University studying Political Science and Law, Diversity, and Justice, speaking perfect English and navigating the American social scene. During his summer college internship at the Language Institute, he said “I believe that organizations and programs such as A.C.E. are an essential part of creating global citizens and an environment where students from various parts of the world can come together, learn about the American culture, and engage one another in cross-cultural dialogue. I admire this mission and value the kind of work A.C.E. does. When I look at the students studying here, I see a younger version of myself and understand the struggles they are experiencing…with a little bit of courage and patience, I was able to adapt and build my Iranian-American identity.”
Another college student saw his experiences reflected when assigned to every scheduled event of an A.C.E. Group Program, the York-Benimaru Foundation High School Program. Takatsugu “Taka” Kawahara came from Yokohama, Japan and studied at Bellevue College, capping his one-year International Business Program with an A.C.E. internship. Glued to the Japanese students for classroom time, excursions, and meals, he said, “they spoke to me a lot about their hobbies, dreams and things they are interested in.” His own journey, started in fall 2012 at Bellevue, was echoed in their progress. “I am getting to be able to catch what she is saying in English!” they would tell him, “I can pronounce these words correctly!” Taka said, “those things do not seem a big deal for us but they are the happiest moments. It made me realize that the pleasure of learning is the most important when studying anything.”
New permanent office personnel at the Language Institute is Bosule “Bo” Park. Her parents grew up in Korea and moved to the U.S. as adults, specifically to Oahu, Hawaii. She was an English major at Kapiolani College and afterward traded one beautiful place for another. Eleven years ago she began to call the Emerald City home and most recently worked with outbound U.S. students for humanitarian and compassion work at another international local non-profit. Her additional strengths in digital and general marketing make her position as Office Coordinator an even better fit. “Working at A.C.E. is a recent dream come true. I’ve been wanting to work with international students without having to move abroad, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Even though I don’t directly work with the students, being around them makes me happy.”
A.C.E. provides cross-cultural professionals at every level of their career the opportunity to grow their skills and network while adding another stepping stone to their personal journey as we make the world their community.
A.C.E. is pleased to announce that all A.C.E. institute locations have received accreditation. The two largest and oldest programs, A.C.E. at Montana State University and A.C.E. at Seattle Pacific University, received initial accreditation by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) on August 3, 2013. The recently established A.C.E Language Institute at the University of Rhode Island received branch accreditation by CEA on November 4, 2013. In reviewing a program, the Commission seeks to determine that the mission and educational objectives are being met, and that the program is organized with adequate resources to support student achievement. To receive CEA accreditation, A.C.E. faculty and staff must complete a rigorous multi-year process featuring a one-year self-study followed by a site visit from the CEA review team.
“Accreditation is an intensive process of self-evaluation and review. Congratulations on your achievement,” noted Nancy Storer, Chair of the CEA Commission. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. For further information about this accreditation, please contact CEA, 801 North Fairfax Street, Suite 402A, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703.665.3400, www.cea-accredit.org.
The recently established Intensive English Program at Saint Francis University administered by A.C.E. has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
When we talk about our experiences in other countries, we often focus on the food. The aromatic smells of an outdoor market, the exciting new street foods that we ventured to try, a particularly large meal at the table of a local family. Food is all about sharing in conversation, camaraderie, and culture.
This is no exception at our Language Institutes, where students regularly bring their favorite local dishes to potlucks, tell us stories about memorable meals with their host families, or share their favorite places for a slice of American pizza. In an effort to share this love of food across our Language Institutes, we invited students to participate in a Student Recipe Swap. Here are some of our favorites that we dare you not to try at home! (more…)