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.