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!
At A.C.E. Language Institute at Montana State University, students and staff have really had some fun times together. Here is a list of the most popular activities that we plan to continue making a part of student life. Some are for winter and others for spring and summer. Some include only students in the Intensive English Program and others include MSU students. All are for enjoyment and good relationship building!
1. Yellowstone National Park
We rent a coach bus and spend the whole day travelling through this famous place full of geothermal sites, bison and other wildlife, and amazing waterfalls. A.C.E. Students at Yellowstone National Park
2. Ski Day
We learn to downhill ski at Bridger Bowl, a local ski resort only a half hour by car from Bozeman. Our students can get a special price which includes ski lessons, tickets, and rentals! Bridger Bowl
3. Museum of the Rockies and Taylor Planetarium Show
The main feature at this museum is dinosaur bones! The museum houses one of the largest collection of fossils in the world! Museum of the Rockies
4. Bowling & Billiards on Friday Afternoons
MSU’s Strand Union Rec Center has 6 bowling lanes, 14 billiard tables, arcades, air hockey and much more. Strand Union Rec Center
5. Corn Maze and Campfire
In the autumn season we go to a special farm and walk through a maze in the evening twilight…then we build a warm campfire and share some songs and company. Montana Corn Maze
7. Helena, Capital City of Montana
We visit the State Capitol Building, eat lunch downtown, and see the famous sites. Visit Helena
10. Graduation Parties and BBQ
We have fun celebrating the success of our students with hamburgers, cake, and lots of applause!
If you ask Aki, Japanese student at A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University, what makes studying in the U.S. so challenging, she might mention how difficult it is to express herself in a second language. “When I have to speak in English I feel so nervous. I have to stop the conversation sometimes to explain what I mean, and I feel so bad about that.”
Yet you would never know from the way she slips into her comfort zone when talking with Sara, a linguistics major at SPU, who has become fast friends with Aki since they met last year.
At A.C.E. Language Institutes, students study on a university campus, giving them a unique opportunity to take part in campus activities and meet university students and staff. Level 6 students can even take part in university classes as part of the A.C.E. experience. Still, it often takes a push or helping hand for many international students like Aki to make that “first friend”. Enter Sara.
Sara is part of a growing population on many U.S. university campuses that embraces the diversity represented by international students and faculty from all over the globe. SPU campus alone is home to more than 150 graduate and undergraduate international students from 35 different countries. For Sara, her background in linguistics at SPU and Japanese language study in high school and community college were a natural fit for getting to know Aki.
Sara shared her point of view. “Since I’m a commuting student, and don’t spend so much time on campus, it’s also hard for me to meet international students. We both are trying to speak each other’s language and can help understand each other and communicate.” Aki voices the same thought simultaneously, and they share a laugh.
The pair have spent time around Seattle in recent weeks. Doing what? “Have we ever hung out without eating?” Italian, Japanese udon, dim sum – their shared love of international cuisine mirrors their excitement about learning from each other and the international community at SPU. Sara has already applied to study in Japan for Spring 2017. “There’s one place I want to go in Tokyo,” Sara grins: “McDonald’s!” Aki bursts out laughing. “No, no, no! I’ll take you somewhere way better.”
“Conveyor belt sushi!”
Needless to say, there is no limit to where Aki and Sara’s friendship – and appetites – will take them!
The A.C.E. Language Institute at Montana State University welcomed seven students from Namseoul University in Korea for a four week English program, January 17 – February 13, 2016. Outside of class time, the program offered students opportunities to practice communicating with native English speakers. They participated in conversation hour on Fridays to meet American students and other learners at A.C.E. Language Institute. They also were matched with MSU student volunteers who were language partners. Parker Tilton, an MSU student and language partner, described his experience:
“Our music, our food, our sports, and our schools were all very interesting to (my Korean conversation partner); as he was trying to get a clear picture of the American lifestyle. I helped him with English in expanding his vocabulary of both everyday phrases and words that are difficult to pronounce, such as fettuccine. It was always a pleasure to be around him, and I would absolutely do it again.”
Some of their best memories came from the time they spent with American host families. The students enjoyed a trip to Yellowstone National Park to soak in the boiling river, took in a MSU basketball game, played many raucous card games, and shared wonderful Korean dishes with their hosts. I-ho Pomeroy, host of two students and Bozeman City Commissioner, invited the students to join her in presenting to the lunch Rotary club on February 2. This was an important opportunity for the students to use their English and share their culture with more people in Bozeman. The Rotarians learned about Hangul, the Korean language, famous Koreans, and about the history of the country.
The students came to love Bozeman and got to know the community through a variety of avenues. They visited the Museum of the Rockies and had a great time skiing at Bridger Bowl. In order to learn more about the Bozeman community, they volunteered at the Gallatin Valley Foodbank and at The Community Café. These two non-profit organizations provide food and meals to those in need. They packed in a lot of fun, learning, and personal growth in their short time here! At the end of their English program, students received a certificate recognizing their coursework, activities and host family exchange, combined in 100 hours of English.
February 10, 2016, Seattle, WA – A.C.E. President David Woodward led the rousing and impassioned, first ever “Diplomacy Day” at Seattle Rotary #4’s meeting at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. Several hundred Rotarians and guests gathered to welcome consular officials from 21 countries, including four Consul General’s based in Seattle from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Brazil. The event included remarks from Rotary President Cathy Gibson and guests Seattle Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim and SPU Interim Dean of Business Ross Stewart, before the keynote speech from Seattle Pacific University President Dan Martin (below photo).
President Martin elaborated on Seattle’s growing presence in the domestic and international economy, and how international and cultural education can be a difference maker, to “both help businesses grow and contribute to the well-being of communities.” President Martin also mentioned the long standing partnership between SPU and A.C.E., specifically mentioning the Culture Connections program. “[It is] a program that matches SPU student volunteers with ACE students, which allows international students to practice their English skills while also allowing SPU students a glimpse of a wider world.”
See more photos from the event in the slideshow below.