Students Experience Bridger Bowl Ski Day

16406853_886628798106708_8811055518710963804_nHave you ever experienced downhill skiing in Montana? It is a great sport!

Recently a group of 12 international students from Korea, Turkey, and China ventured to the local ski area, Bridger Bowl near Montana State University. Most of the students took a ski lesson in the morning. Three or four learned to ski for the first time. It was so fun to see them on the chairlift and then making turns and stopping on the way down! We had lunch together in the ski lodge. Then we went out on the bigger chairlifts for the afternoon. At the end of the day we were excited and tired. It’s good to be alive in Bozeman, Montana!

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A.C.E. Language Institutes and SPU Leaders Visit the Prime Minister of Qatar – Former Student


Left to right: SPU Vice President for Advancement Louise Furrow; SPU President Dan Martin; Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani;  A.C.E. President and CEO David Woodward; A.C.E. Chairman of the Board Scott Hardman; and SPU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing Nate Mouttet. Photo courtesy of Nate Mouttet.

A.C.E. and SPU leaders were invited by Qatar’s Prime Minister & Minister of Interior, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, to visit Qatar this September.

Sheikh Al-Thani came to Seattle in 1981 as a student to begin his overseas education and study English through A.C.E. on SPU campus. In May 2016 he made a return visit to SPU to renew ties to the community.

It is an honor to be considered friends of the Qatari people.

Read more and see photos from SPU.

A.C.E. Experiences: Aki (Japan)

Several months ago we spoke with A.C.E. student Aki from Japan about her experiences at A.C.E. and making friends with students at Seattle Pacific University. We caught up with Aki again to get her final thoughts on her experience here in Seattle. 

A.C.E: You sound much more confident speaking English than when we last met! 

Aki: Of course, thanks to my teachers at A.C.E.! 🙂 They are so kind, and they really care about how students are doing.

A.C.E.: How was your final poster presentation for this session (Level 5)? 

Aki: It went great. My topic was prescription drugs. I learned a lot about my topic, and other topics from my classmates. We talked about issues like gun control, college tuition, and other things.


Enjoying summer by the water outside A.C.E. classrooms.

A.C.E.: I heard you’re getting ready to go home soon? 

Aki: Yes, I’m leaving for Japan next week.

A.C.E.: What are you most looking forward to? What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get to Japan?

Aki: I think I’ll go to a “Conbini” (Japanese convenience store) and get some rice balls. Comfort food! I miss my friends and family, and home cooking. It will be great to see them again.

A.C.E.: Plans for after you return to your home university? 

Aki: Because I am a literature major, I really want to focus on writing if I can! I’ll be looking for a job where I can use my degree from university.

With the Tokyo Olympics in a few years I also hope that I’ll have more chances to use my English in Japan. I’ve worked part-time at restaurants where English speaking tourists would come to eat, and hopefully can find more opportunities to keep up my English.

A.C.E.: Lasting memories of Seattle? 

Aki: Seattle has been so…comfortable for me. The summer weather, the kind people,  and of course all my friends and the staff at A.C.E. have been wonderful. Lately, I’ve been able to visit the winery Chateau Ste. Michelle with my friend Sara from SPU; go to concerts here in Seattle; and even hit the beach.

One of the things I’ll miss about Seattle are the farmer’s markets. I really enjoyed talking to the local producers, something I don’t get to do much of in Japan.

A.C.E.: What message do you have for international students who want to study English in the U.S.? 

Aki: Find something you enjoy doing and the language part will follow. You can learn and enjoy so much about other cultures different from your own. Having fun is definitely the best way to study English! I want to thank my teachers and the staff at A.C.E. for helping me to study English and also enjoy myself during my time in the U.S.


Aki with her friends from A.C.E.!

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

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“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.

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