Chinese Students Immersed Into English Language and American Culture
On July 29, twenty-five students and three chaperones from the Xiangyang No. 5 High School and Experimental Middle School in Xiangyang City, Hubei Province, P.R. China, arrived on the Elms campus to study at the English Language Institute at Elms College (ELIEC) for one week.
Lisa Porter, Ph.D., and Rebecca Stone, Ed.D., were hired as English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors for the ELIEC. Alexandra Valencik, who holds a bachelor's degree in Chinese language and literature and is completing a master's in the same program, served as the student activities coordinator and resident advisor. Dan Gagne, an incoming freshman at Bard College in New York, was the student assistant .His role was to help with the afternoon cultural activities and to build relationships with the students on more of a peer level.
In order to get the full Elms College experience, the students and chaperones dormed in Rose William Hall. They attended classes in the mornings, where they studied English through American history and culture. In the afternoons, they practiced their language skills as they were immersed in American culture-visiting Sturbridge Village, playing basketball and volleyball with area high school and college students, touring the Emily Dickinson Museum and enjoying a barbeque and ice cream sundaes.
On Tuesday, the students had the opportunity to meet members of the Elms College community, who became "conversation partners" for 90 minutes. The groups discussed everything about their respective cultures, from food and music to the Olympics and college life.
More delegates from the Xiangyang schools arrived on Wednesday to participate in an information session with administrators from Elms College. Mr. Li Zegui, principal of the Experimental Middle School associated with the Xiangyang No. 5 High School; Ms. Zhu Xiaoping, vice principal of the Experimental Middle School; and Ms. Liu Hui, assistant to the principal, presented Elms College with a beautiful calligraphy wall scroll, inscribed with the words of Zhuge Liang, one of China's most revered philosophers and strategists.
"The scroll was a gift to the college from the Chinese delegates," explained Joyce Hampton, Ed.D., Elms College director of English language learning and international programs. "It was a great reminder that although this program was intended to educate and immense our Chinese visitors into our culture and education system, it was also a learning experience for everyone here in the Elms community."