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

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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!



Top 10: Student Activities at A.C.E. Language Institute at MSU in Bozeman, Montana

At A.C.E. Language Institutes, students have the opportunity to enjoy many activities on university campuses and in the community. A.C.E. at Montana State University staff member Amy Engblom reveals the top 10 student activities for our Montana Institute!  

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 RockiesIMG_1020

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

6.Picnics and Pizza in the Park
We enjoy the beautiful summer weather, playing football and frisbee together and eating delicious pizza.

7. Helena, Capital City of Montana
We visit the State Capitol Building, eat lunch downtown, and see the famous sites. Visit HelenaIMG_1379

8. Native American Indian Pow-wow
This gathering of many American Indians shows their dancing, drumming, and costumes.
pow wow

9. Lewis & Clark Caverns and Virginia City Day Trip
Montana frontier cowboy culture mixed with an amazing walk through a limestone cave in the mountains. Lewis & Clark Caverns and Virginia Citycavern-city-msu-activities

10. Graduation Parties and BBQ
We have fun celebrating the success of our students with hamburgers, cake, and lots of applause!

Friends, Food and Fun – A.C.E. Helps Students Share Cultural Perspectives

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.

Aki recalls how they met. “I was at the SUB (Student Union Building) getting a coffee, and I hear in Japanese, ‘Are you Japanese? Let’s be friends!’ I was so surprised, and happy.”

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.

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Aki and Sara spend quality time at the SUB

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.”

Where’s that?

“Conveyor belt sushi!”

Needless to say, there is no limit to where Aki and Sara’s friendship – and appetites – will take them!

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