A.C.E. - Associates in Cultural Exchange

A.C.E. Cultural Experiences: York-Benimaru Summer Program 2016

Throughout the year, in addition to individual students, A.C.E. welcomes delegations and groups to our institutes who take part in our core program or special customized programs. Recently, York-Benimaru Group Program Coordinator Annie Roy took the time to share with us her adventures with this summer’s group!

I recently had the pleasure of working with 19 select high school students from Fukushima, Japan and their two chaperones, Mr. Mansunobu Uichimi and Ms. Yuki Saito, when they visited Seattle with the delegation from the YORK-Benimaru Foundation. The program sends students to practice their English in Seattle for 10 days, followed by an immersive homestay experience in Manitoba in Canada. The group from YORK has been coming to A.C.E. since 2000!


Annie, Yayoi, and Ai

For 10 days we went on adventures all over Seattle: to the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Uwajimaya, a Mariner’s game, and many other places. It was wonderful to learn about their lives in Japan as we explored the city. All of the students were absolute joys to get to know and had a desire to learn about new cultures while practicing as much English as possible. They showed an impressive amount of maturity, excitement, and enthusiasm the entire time they were here.

All of the students were absolute joys to get to know and had a desire to learn about new cultures while practicing as much English as possible.

One of the most memorable experiences was volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Ballard. The York students played games and taught origami to the Ballard children while talking about everyday life in Japan and America. I know the YORK students had a wonderful time interacting with American children, practicing their English, and being able to teach aspects of their own culture. However, I also saw how the youth at the Boys and Girls club had a significant cultural and life experience as well.


About to meet the kids at the Ballard Boys and Girls Club

We were also lucky to have five volunteers from King’s High School help out with activities throughout the week. This was a wonderful experience for both groups of students, as they were able to learn a lot about each other’s culture, all the while sharing important aspects of their own. It was fun to see them share different life experiences and discover how much they have in common.

On the bus!

Overall, the York students learned a lot, built relationships, and made lasting memories. Without question, everyone who spent time with them would agree that they blessed us and we gained valuable cultural experiences and friendships as well.

— Annie Roy, York Group Program Site Coordinator

Turkish Travels: A.C.E. Staff Visits Former A.C.E. Students

Turkish Travels: Question and Answer with A.C.E. Staff Amy Engblom

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“It helps to know where the students come from to be able to help them adjust to life at MSU.”

Amy Engblom, Student Advisor and Activity Coordinator at A.C.E. Language Institute at Montana State University. traveled from Bozeman, Montana to Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey in May 2016 and visited former A.C.E. students and Turkish university professors.

Q: Amy, why did you travel to Turkey?
A: Well, I lived in Istanbul for many years and wanted to return and visit friends there. It had been four years since I had been to Turkey.

Q; So, did you also go to Turkey for work?
A: I thought that since I was already planning a vacation trip to Turkey that it would also be nice to see Gazi University where a lot of our Turkish students study in the Civil Engineering Dual Degree program with Montana State University. We also have some students from Istanbul Technical University in Bozeman so I thought it would be good to connect with them as well.

Q: How was your experience visiting the universities in Turkey?
A: It was so wonderful to see our former A.C.E. students at Gazi University in Ankara! One of the students even picked us up from the airport. We spent time talking about the Intesive English Program and they were surprised that I could speak Turkish. We discussed partnership and how to help prepare students to be successful. It was really good to be there and meet the professors. It helps to know where the students come from to be able to help them adjust to life at MSU.

Q: Did you go site-seeing?
A: Yes, a student took us to see the memorial tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara. It was an amazing place! We even go there in time to see the changing of the guard soldiers. In Istanbul, we had a nice evening with a teacher from ITU and took a drive along the Bosporus river.

Q: When do you plan to go back?
A: Well, I live and work in Bozeman, Montana now! It’s a long trip to Turkey, but I recommend it!! I’m glad I get to work at A.C.E. with students from many countries because it’s fun to share our different cultures and experiences.

Dear A.C.E. Teachers – A Special Thanks on National Teacher Day

Dear A.C.E. Teachers,

For the hours you spend teaching us in class.

For the hours you spend planning each lesson and grading our work.

For the hours you spend up at night thinking of how you can help us understand the English Language in all of its craziness.

For the advice, the life lessons; the smiles, the laughter; the worry, the hope…

On National Teacher Day 2016 we thank you for every single day you believe in us to do our very best and succeed.


A.C.E. Students from Tokyo Cook For Community

Two weeks of intensive English study at A.C.E. Language Institute. Two weeks of American cultural immersion with home stay families across Seattle. Visits to city organizations specializing in nutrition, community outreach, and health care.

So what’s left to do?

Cook a delicious, authentic Japanese meal and share it with friends and family!

On March 11th twenty-four Japanese nutrition students took part in a farewell celebration at Seattle Pacific University’s Community Kitchen. On hand were the students and chaperons from Tokyo Kasei University (TKU), SPU students, and staff and faculty from A.C.E., where TKU students had honed their English for the previous weeks.

“I really enjoyed my stay in Seattle… [the] Community Kitchen was very impressive. Also, a lecture by a Japanese dietitian was interesting. It became a great reference to think about my future.” – Mio, TKU Student

The event was the culmination of cultural and academic immersion in Seattle. Weaved around English classes at A.C.E.’s Language Institute at SPU were trips to Farestart, a Seattle restaurant specializing in job training for homeless individuals, and Swedish Hospital, where students got a first-hand look at local community healthcare and wellness. At Bastyr University, TKU students interacted with Basytr students in an acupuncture classroom and enjoyed the organic lunch bar. Families across Seattle let TKU students into their homes, giving them precious cross-cultural memories that every student took with them back to Japan.


TKU students talking with a Bastyr acupuncture student

“I was so impressed by the eagerness of the students to explore Seattle and meet people on their own. It’s amazing to see the growth and confidence they gain in such a short time.” – Virginia Gabby, A.C.E. Assistant Director for Global Initiatives

Students from TKU have been coming to Seattle every year since 2008. TKU, an all-women’s college in Tokyo, focuses on the humanities, nursing, home economics, and child development, so the two-week nutrition program fits with university curriculum. 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the partnership between TKU, A.C.E. and SPU – a monumental achievement all three organizations hope to celebrate in both Seattle and Tokyo. There is certain to be more learning, laughter, and of course, delicious food in the years to come!


Students and A.C.E. faculty and staff pose for a group photo

A.C.E. Leads Professional Development Workshops For Pakistani Teachers Visiting MSU

IMG_5867 (2)
Montana State University recently hosted 20 Pakistani teachers for six weeks at part of the Teaching Excellence and Achievement program through the U.S. State Department. A.C.E. Language Institute was tapped to provide a series of professional development activities.

A.C.E. teachers at MSU met with Pakistani teachers initially to learn about their teaching contexts and talk shop. Three A.C.E. teachers also presented best practices that Pakistani teachers could take back with them. In a separate workshop, lead ESL instructor Valley Peters introduced reflective practice activities including collage, metaphor, and a journaling approach. Pakistani teachers produced colorful and engaging collages demonstrating their teaching beliefs and aspirations. In their final session with A.C.E. teachers, Pakistani fellows presented a 10 minute mini-lesson highlighting a new technique that they had learned during their program. They received feedback on the strengths of their lesson and ideas for improving it. Both A.C.E. and Pakistani teachers learned a great deal from the exchange!




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers

%d bloggers like this: