CELOP welcomed hundreds of students from over 35 countries for the Fall 2013 Semester. A majority of the students checked-in over two days on September 18th and 19th. The check-in process started with the Admissions staff checking immigration information and making sure each students was registered for their preferred program. As students checked-in, they also met with CELOP faculty and advisors to get help and advice on their classes. However, it wasn’t all about class as CELOP’s Student Life Coordinator was there to tell students about exciting activities and tours around Boston and Boston University.
Many students also showed up for the Welcome Party on Friday, September 20th. There was food, music and even games. Students were given an “ice-breaker” game that encouraged them to introduce themselves and speak with someone they had not met yet. Prizes, including CELOP t-shirts, were given out to students that won the game.
CELOP welcomes all our new and continuing students and we hope you have a great fall semester!
This summer, CELOP partnered with the Boston University College of Engineering to offer a Global Engineering Career Readiness Program. The customized, four-week program was designed to establish a foundation for both academic and workplace success for international Master of Engineering students through intensive English language and cultural immersion.
The program focused on oral and written communication in technology and product development, US and academic culture, skills for successful graduate study and a global career preparation, including job searching, resume writing and interviewing. CELOP faculty assessed students in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing and provided a comprehensive evaluation upon completion of the program.
Kirstie Miller, Director of Professional Education & Corporate Relations at the College of Engineering, worked collaboratively with CELOP to launch the program. She praised the success of the program and said, “The Global Engineering Career Readiness program was designed to support our growing population of international students as they acclimate to the English language, US culture, and academic and workplace expectations. As a result of the program, these students have acquired a set of communication skills and knowledge which will set them up for success, both while at BU and in their eventual professional careers. We are thrilled with the results and have no doubt this program is poised for growth.”
The students also completed course evaluations and expressed positive feedback. As one student wrote, “Yes I would recommend this program to other international engineering students because it helps with adjusting academically and socially and gives a great feel of the environment at BU.”
Students come to CELOP to improve their English but teachers and educators also come to improve their skills.
For five years, CELOP has worked together with the Comunidad de Madrid to bring educators from Spain to CELOP’s Intensive English Training Program for Educators. It’s a four-week program that focuses on four areas: English for Academic Purposes, English for Classroom Teachers, New Ideas in Teaching, and Field Trips & Activities.
The program is taught by a group of experienced CELOP teacher trainers, many of whom have worked with the Madrid teachers in previous years. Teaching practitioners from several Massachusetts public schools are also invited to share their experience and teaching ideas.
Striving to empower both students and teachers for the classroom – it’s all part of our mission.
“If a friend accidentally spilled coffee on your computer, how do you react?” Dr. Mariko Henstock asked her third year Japanese II class on a Friday afternoon to act out the scenario in a role play. The majority of the American students in the class demanded that their friend pay for the damage. The Japanese students, who were visiting the class that day, were in shock by this. In contrast to their American counterparts, they had no expectation that the other person should pay for it, and responded “it’s okay” when it was their turn to role play. “They experienced the huge difference in culture,” Henstock explained about the activity after class. “Both sides learned a lot, and both sides were so excited.”
Dr. Henstock, as the Director of Outreach and Co-Curricular Activities for Japanese at the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, regularly organizes language exchange activities with CELOP, and recently presented on this topic at the Boston University (BU) Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (CEIT) 2013 Instructional Innovation Conference. Titled “Examining the Bi-Directional Benefits of Language Exchanges”, the presentation discussed the benefits of Lunch Exchanges and Exchange Classes. According to a survey of CELOP students who took part in Fall 2012, 97% of CELOP students agreed that the exchanges have motivated them to study more English, increased their confidence to speak English, and that now they want to come back to BU even more because of the exchanges. Henstock highlighted some CELOP students’ comments in her presentation: “it is a lot easier to talk during class visits,” “not just learning Japanese and English language, but also learning partners’ thinking and character, etc. will help me in my life,” and “what is surprising is that my common sense isn’t common sense in the US.”
You can get the sense from talking to Professor Henstock that the benefits go deeper than practice with listening and speaking. “Ever since I came to [the US], I always was thinking I want to help the friendships between the two countries,” she explains. For Henstock, friendships can translate to real world change. She cites an example about a BU student giving a speech at MIT about challenging stereotypes. “What he is saying is he had this stereotype of Japanese people just wanting to be alone and isolated. He didn’t really have any contact with Japanese people, and so through lunch exchanges and class visits he met Japanese students and then thought, oh they are so fun, and nice. So the theme of his paper is about challenging stereotypes.” If friendship has the power to break down stereotypes, and promote understanding between groups of people, then the exchanges are doing a very good job of that – 97% of CELOP students that took part agreed that they made BU student friends through the exchanges. “We can potentially change people’s lives, and I think we have succeeded in that regard for a number of students. There are so many problems internationally; if we can make a difference, one person at a time, and help form friendships, then that’s just a wonderful gift.”
Dr. Henstock’s presentation abstract and slides can be found and downloaded on the CEIT Fifth Annual Instructional Innovation Conference website.
CELOP welcomed 49 students from Ritsumeikan University on February 14th. The students are enrolled in an intensive program of language and culture, and American history and politics. Students are enriching their experience with visits to BU College of Arts and Sciences classes, and field trips to sites rich with history and culture, like the Freedom Trail, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Harvard University.