A.C.E. - Associates in Cultural Exchange

On the Pathway from A.C.E. to MBA and Beyond

A.C.E. staff met with Ko-Hsin, currently a Level 6 student at the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University, for a fun question and answer session about her pathway toward studying in the MBA program at SPU.

(L to R) Director Tim Healy with A.C.E. students Ko-Hsin and Chi

A.C.E.: So, why did you choose A.C.E.?

KH: Actually I applied to SPU for their MBA program (technology information), but I didn’t have time to prepare for the TOEFL or other standardized tests. After working with my advisor in Taiwan, based on my work experience and GPA, they recommended I finish A.C.E. Level 6 first, then transfer to SPU.

A.C.E.: What was your background in before you came to A.C.E.?

KH: That’s pretty complicated (laughs). Well, at first, when I started in college, I was going to be a teacher. But I switched gears after I recognized that it’s not my purpose. I had taken some business classes during the four years, and after graduating went to a company to work as an Executive Assistant for 3 or 4 years.

A.C.E.: So you had some good experience at home and decided to come here (SPU) for the Master’s degree?

KH: Yeah. My last job was working for a company doing marketing in the U.S. and I had a chance to travel in the U.S. I realized that English is so important, and that the world is so wide. So I decided to study English harder. I first went to Atlanta for around four or five months, then transferred to a different program. After I finished the program, however, I realized that my English level wasn’t enough; I need to learn more. I also want to stay with Chi (Ko’s husband who’s also studying at A.C.E. SPU), so I decided to apply to the graduate school at SPU.

A.C.E.: What do you like about A.C.E.?

KH: Well, A.C.E. is like family, really. We were both studying at another program, and it was so big. We changed classes every hour, with different classmates and different teachers. Here at A.C.E. we have one class and two teachers. We know each other very well, and even celebrated one of our classmate’s birthdays! We have dinners at teachers’ homes as well.

We also found that A.C.E. is really hard!   I have been in three different language schools, and A.C.E. is definitely the most difficult.  We’d never done poster sessions, or other kinds of presentations until we got to A.C.E. When we started at Level 4, for our classwork we had to conduct a survey and do interviews, as well as a PowerPoint presentation. Now, we do a lot of presentations in class.

A.C.E.: That’s good practice for your future courses at SPU?

KH: Yes, it really is. Doing my undergraduate degree in my home country, I realized that presentation skills would be a very important skill for me to succeed in the future.

A.C.E.: When you were in Taiwan deciding where to go, did you work with an advisor? What was that like?

KH: The first time I met with my advisor, she asked me, “Well, what do you want?” And I had to think of a list of things, what type of programs I was interested in. Then she asked, “Public or private school? What part of the U.S. – east, west, north, south?” So I laid out all the conditions I had, and she helped me narrow down the list by my grades, my work experience…and not having to take the GMAT or TOEFL if possible. When I was studying at another program, I didn’t know anything about SPU. But when I got here, I really fell in love with SPU.

A.C.E.: Well, we’re definitely glad to have you here! Thanks Ko-Hsin!

Creating Cross-Cultural Conversations for Students at A.C.E. and SPU

A.C.E. Level 3 students got the opportunity to meet local Seattle Pacific University students up close and personal on January 29, 2016.  As part of their final exam project, Instructor Sally Thomas asked students in her Listening, Communication & Grammar course to interview SPU students in a beginning Spanish class about an interesting topic of their choice.  Topics ranged from favorite local coffee houses to perspectives on homelessness in Seattle.  At first, both sets of students seemed nervous and shy, but after the first few minutes, they started to get to know one another. They quickly began to smile and gain confidence communicating as the interview dialogue began to flow.


Thomas noted, “This was fantastic because A.C.E. students are eager to interact with SPU students but it is difficult for them to do it on their own.  Likewise, the experience was so rich for the SPU students to share across cultures.”

The SPU Professor of Spanish, Eric Vogt, was so encouraged by the opportunity that he invited A.C.E. students to interview another class of students the following week.

A.C.E. welcomes opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to meet one another and explore other cultures.  To join the conversation, learn more about our programs at A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University.

Happy New Year from A.C.E.!

A.C.E. wishes our friends and community around the world the very best in 2016!


Fun Fall Student Activities at A.C.E. MSU – Caverns, Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Carving

By Amy Engblom, A.C.E. at MSU Activities Coordinator

Fall is a beautiful season in Bozeman for A.C.E. students to explore! The Fall 2015 A.C.E. at MSU Events calendar was packed with excursions to nearby caverns and corn mazes, as well as traditional holiday activities like Halloween pumpkin carving.

On September 11, 2015, A.C.E. students traveled to Virginia City and the Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. It was a beautiful fall day in Southwestern Montana and our trip started in the old gold mining town of Virginia City. We enjoyed seeing the train tracks and looking in the windows of the stores in Virginia City that were set up 1860’s style. We looked in the Jefferson County Court House, had a quick lunch at a café, and hurried off the tour of the caverns. The huge cave was a series of rooms and lighted stairways. Our tour guide was funny and we all were happy to get back out into the sunshine after an hour and a half tour!

bonfire-cornmaze-msu-2015Another fall activity was the Montana Corn Maze on Friday, October 23. It was a clear, crisp evening as 26 students traveled to a nearby farm to experience a traditional American autumn activity. We walked around the red barn to wait for the tractor and wagon that would take us out to the corn field. The maze was cut in the corn field in a special design and inside the maze were pictures of animals. We had to find the animal that was missing; the one who did not have its picture hidden in the maze. After the maze we took the tractor and wagon back to the farm buildings where a campfire was waiting for us. We enjoyed roasting marshmallows for making “s’mores”, a traditional American campfire treat. Then the singing began around the campfire, with students sharing songs in Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, and Turkish. We were laughing and talking all the way home. It was a night and an adventure to always remember!

MSU-pumpkins-2015October ended with an annual A.C.E. tradition at the Halloween pumpkin carving party on October 30, 2015. This year, participants included students from Japan, Mongolia, Ecuador, and Saudi Arabia. One student was so busy carving his pumpkin that he seemed like a surgeon. Another student brought her small son to help. We shared candy, pretzels, and apple cider juice. At the end, we put small candles in our pumpkins and turned off the lights in the room. They looked so great all lit up! Some students took their creations back to their dorms or apartments to put outside for decoration.

Join us at A.C.E. at MSU and get involved in these activities and more!

“Stop 4 a Chat”: Fostering Connections with A.C.E. at URI

stop4chatInspired by Thomas Knox’s “Date-while-you-wait”, A.C.E. students at the University of Rhode Island braved URI’s student union to see if they could attract American students to chat. The original Date-while-you-wait features a table set up once a week in New York City subway stations and is designed to foster connections between people.

Students mimicked Knox’s idea with a small table, an empty chair, a flower, the game Connect Four, and a welcoming smile. Students took turns sitting across from the empty chair as passers-by glanced at the table with intrigue and many took the time to sit down for a game. Students practiced striking up a conversation and using language discussed in class including how to introduce themselves as well as the art of small talk. Several students successfully exchanged contact information with local URI students and one was invited to a Halloween party!

A.C.E. at URI’s “Stop 4 a chat” is featured on Knox’s Facebook page, where he thanks A.C.E. students for taking a chance by trying out his project. Knox also took time out of his busy schedule to Skype with A.C.E. students telling them about how #datewhileyouwait started as just an idea. Knox encouraged students to believe in their ideas and to follow through with them, as his #datewhileyouwait has expanded his perspectives. Knox was recently invited to speak to college students in France and is partnering with other universities and individuals who would like to set up #datewhileyouwait tables in their cities.

One A.C.E. student was impressed that Knox genuinely enjoys connecting with people: “He is a really kind person and gentle. He was so patient with us and tried hard to understand us.”

Memorial Union event coordinator, Sherri Davis has invited the A.C.E. students back to Memorial Union to set up the “Stop-4-a-chat”table on November 20th during International Education Week. Davis fully supports this project and thinks it is a simple and effective way for URI students to have the opportunity to meet international students.

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