University Honors students are spending part of their summer helping international students master the English language.
This summer marks the ESL Institute’s 15th year at UTC. Students from South Korea, Mexico, Czech Republic, and Saudi Arabia are participating in the 10-week program, established by Dr. Jane Womack, English lecturer and ESL Institute Director. Some of the students plan to attend UTC once they complete the course.
Kitt McAuliffe, a junior political science major in the Honors Program, decided to volunteer this summer because she understands how challenging it is to learn a new language.
“I recently attended a session at Portland State University to learn Japanese and it really gave me a greater appreciation for other people trying to learn a new language,” said McAuliffe.
Students take grammar and writing classes in the morning and conversation classes in the afternoon, Monday through Thursday. There are five levels to the program that lead to a final examination called TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Students take TOEFL preparation classes on Friday.
“You wouldn’t believe the difference in them in the morning class compared to the afternoon, they really enjoy the conversation sessions,” said Anne Rittenberry, adjunct instructor, English.
Rittenberry gives students discussion sheets to help spark conversation. Shalin Shah, a sophomore business finance major in the Honors Program, broke the ice by bringing up the World Cup soccer tournament.
“I taught my mom English and I thought this would be fun. You also find things in common with the international students,” said Shah.
Tereza Hausmanova from the Czech Republic is in level five of the program.
“The grammar was the easiest part. Speaking and listening is what I’m working on now. I really like that everyone is around our age and we talk about American life,” said Hausmanova.