The Richland College English for Speakers of Other Languages program and Richland College Continuing Education recently welcomed 28 students and one faculty member from the University of Gyeongnam Geochang in South Korea to Richland College.
During the visit, which took place July 2-25, the students participated in English language and American culture learning experiences, comprised of integrated reading and writing courses, cultural awareness sessions, listening and speaking master skill set learning, language exposure activities and excursions.
“Part of Richland College’s vision is to build world community,” said Gabe Edgar, a co-team leader for the UGG Korean Delegation. “There are more than 1,100 international students currently learning at Richland; however, not everyone can commit to spending years away from home. This sort of program opens a middle space for our international partners, whose students want more than a few superficial days. It’s for those that want to dive into the deep end of American culture and language.”
With the Korean Peninsula being at the forefront of many news stories in recent months, the timing of this visit allowed the Richland College community the opportunity to grow in their cultural awareness as they interacted with the South Korean delegation, who in turn were able firsthand to experience American education and culture.
Each day, the South Korean students had approximately six hours of instruction in a non-traditional classroom setting. These lessons included learning line dancing, comic book creation, playing board games and holding guided conversations with American students from the Richland College Honors Program who volunteered to help. In addition, the students joined other international students at Richland College for English classes through the ESOL program, which gave them a chance to practice English with learners from other countries.
The UGG students also went on four cultural excursions during their time with Richland College. These included Fair Park for fireworks on July 4, Whole Foods for a lesson on sustainability and food, Southern Methodist University for a look at a four-year university and the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center. In addition to the four main excursions, the students were also invited to dinner in groups of four and five at American homes, not just for a home-cooked meal, but also to give the students an intimate view of American life.
“The program was an absolutely unqualified success,” said Edgar. “We received tremendously positive feedback from the students, both in person and on anonymous surveys they completed. We even had one student begin paperwork to become an international student and study nursing in the U.S. If we counted all the people who had a hand in making the program so successful, they would outnumber the 28 South Korean students by three-to-one!” said Edgar. “That sort of effort is only possible when we’re all in it together.”
This cultural and language exposure summer program was made possible by Richland College’s administrators, the School of World Languages, Cultures and Communications, the Continuing Education division, the Multicultural Center, the ESOL staff and faculty, the Health Center, the Richland College police, the Honors program, the Office of Student Life and others.
Richland College offers courses, programs and services to empower students to achieve their educational goals and become lifelong learners and global citizens, building sustainable local and world community. For more information, visit richlandcollege.edu.