||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Students Visit UW-Eau Claire
To Practice English Skills
MAILED: June 23, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE Call it culture in the heartland. Call it an opportunity for diversity. But whatever you call it, be sure to say it in English.
Since 1979, UW-Eau Claire's foreign language department has hosted an intensive immersion course geared toward teaching foreign students the English language.
This year is no exception.
Hosting 35 students from Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Turkey and Cuba, the four-week summer session course is a chance to build friendships, learn about a new culture and improve English.
"It's good for the university to bring in a diverse student body," Crouse said. "It's a chance to show foreign students our culture and it allows students here to become acquainted with people of other cultures."
The course runs daily from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and includes a 45-minute "English table" in Davies Center. Crouse said anyone is welcome to the English table, so long as they speak English.
As a part of the course, instructors and students travel around the Eau Claire community, visiting homes, a dairy farm, the Chippewa Valley Museum and local police and fire stations, Crouse said.
"We try to involve as much community as possible," he said.
The group also will take trips to Madison, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago.
Many of the participants attend or teach at technical universities in Mexico, Crouse said.
"It is the intent of the technical university to have its teaching staff present lectures speaking English," Crouse said.
While in Eau Claire, faculty attending the course can do a shadow internship, going into various businesses to observe how things are done. The excursions take place during five afternoons.
The immersion program began after a trip to Mexico by the late Leonard Haas and his wife Dorellen. The Haases stopped at a technical university in Monterrey and were eager to line up an international program, said retired professor Barbara Rolland.
In 1978, a representative from the Monterrey campus came to UW-Eau Claire and helped to set up the current program.
Though she concedes that it has been a lot of work, Rolland said the whole process has been "just plain fun."
And the students have fun as they eat lunch in Tamarack, laughing about upcoming trips to Minnesota and saying they love the people and sights here.
They said they also enjoy the chance to learn and improve their English while meeting new people and sharing experiences.
A student at San Carlos, Byron DeLeon said that practicing his English at UW-Eau Claire is an important part of his learning.
Patricia Aldape, who works at Monterrey Tech, agreed.
"I think this is the best place to learn English," she said.
Aldape customizes training programs for companies in Mexico and thinks English will help her with that job.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: June 29, 1998