BU CELOP News

CELOP Alumni: Where are they now? Jose Alberto Galarza Villasenor, Mexico

November 21st, 2017 in Highlight.

Alberto

CELOP alumnus Jose Alberto Galarza Villasenor comes back to CELOP for a visit this Fall.

Jose Alberto Galarza Villasenor dreams big. He is currently preparing to apply to Master’s Degree programs in both the U.S. and UK—including programs at Harvard, Tufts, Oxford, and Cambridge to name a few. Galarza Villasenor, who goes by Alberto, plans to focus on political philosophy and leadership studies in graduate school. “My goals are broad, but my dream is to have a space to make change in policies, politics, education—all the areas that make a country work. I want to effect change—that’s my dream. I don’t see it in any one position, but I want to make changes.”

Along the road to achieving his goals, Alberto decided to enroll at CELOP at Boston University in Spring and Summer of 2017 to prepare for his TOEFL exam. When asked why he chose CELOP, Alberto asserted, “Because it was the best English school that everyone back home in Mexico recommended. I spoke to my teachers at the University of Guadalajara and told them I wanted to study at a good school to learn very good English to prepare for the TOEFL. That’s how my journey to CELOP came to life.”

Alberto received a Law Degree from the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico—his home country. He arrived in Boston to study at CELOP in January 2017. When asked what some of his favorite memories at CELOP were, Alberto responded, “Most definitely the teachers. All my teachers knew about every student’s development. So the thing that I liked about CELOP is that the teachers have good communication with students—they have a very personable approach to the program that reaches students, and they are very great teachers.” When recollecting a few specific memories, Alberto shared about an experience after he first arrived when he got sick with a fever. His teacher, Renee Delatizky, stepped up and helped him to navigate the pharmacy. “When you feel sick, you also feel homesick. When someone has empathy for you, you feel like you have a connection, and that really makes a difference. You feel like you’re not alone.”

Alberto, who currently resides in Boston, is preparing to take the GRE ahead of his applications to graduate school. When asked how CELOP helped him prepare for where he’s at today, he responded, “In all the ways. If I didn’t study here for 8 months, I couldn’t even apply to a Master’s Degree—it made all the difference to allow me to pursue my goals.”


This is the second installment of a new ongoing series “CELOP Alumni: Where Are They Now?”. If you have any suggestions for alumni we should feature, please leave them in the Comment section below or email Ruth Donaghey at rdonaghe@bu.edu.

Student Experience: Current CELOP Student, Yasmin Almousa, shares her experience at Old Sturbridge Village

November 21st, 2017 in Highlight.

By Yasmin Almousa

CELOP Student Yasmin Almousa, second from the right, with her classmates and teacher Olivia Szabo at Old Sturbridge Village.

CELOP Student Yasmin Almousa, second from the right, with her classmates and teacher Olivia Szabo at Old Sturbridge Village.

On the first week of November, my classmates and I were told that we were going to go on a trip the coming Friday to Old Sturbridge Village. I could describe myself as somewhat into history; however, I was not elated at the idea of taking a 1-hour bus ride to a remake of an American town from the 1800s. On the 3rd of November at 9:30am, my classmates and I rode the bus down to Sturbridge. The moment we reached our destination, I immediately sensed an aura of quietness. We were no longer in the city, and I loved it.

We were met with perfect weather and the fresh air swayed through my nostrils. As we entered, I noticed how huge the village was and how many displays there were for us to visit. The atmosphere was very lively yet calming, and there were many visitors; however, the area was big enough to allow us to roam around as we liked. There were many places to visit, and they all told a different story. We began to explore the area and the distractions within, starting at the Oliver Wight Tavern and continuing all the way to the Blacksmith Shop and Freeman Farmhouse.

I truly felt like I was walking through a town in New England during the 1830s. The people in the houses who told the stories of those who lived there, also explained that the buildings were all authentic and had to be brought in piece by piece. I have never experienced anything like that before, as in museums you do not really get to interact with the artifacts, while at Old Sturbridge Village we were.

This trip was not only interesting, but it also taught me a lot about the way of life and culture of New England in the 1830s and I would love to go back!

Yasmin Almousa, center right, with her classmates at Old Sturbridge Village.

Yasmin Almousa, center right, with her classmates at Old Sturbridge Village.

CELOP Hosts Annual Halloween Party

November 17th, 2017 in Highlight.

CELOP celebrated its annual Halloween party on Tuesday, October 31st. Students, faculty, and staff all helped to set up the main lobby to prepare for the event. Over 35 students participated in the costume contest, with several faculty and staff who joined in. The event also marked the official launch of the CELOP Instagram. Follow us today @bucelop!

Student Experience: CELOP Students Reflect on Recent Trip to Old Sturbridge Village

November 17th, 2017 in Highlight.

“Before I visited Old Sturbridge Village, I have never known about USA’s traditional culture and history. But after I visited there, I could know their old lifestyles and differences between our country and USA. And more, I can understand this day’s culture in USA. This experience makes me know a lot of information about USA. And I really want to go again and try to do many things.”

  • Hyung Joon Kim
    Korea

“Last Friday we went to the Old Sturbridge Village where we could see the people and culture from 300 hundreds years ago. In this village I saw many people who played a role as the people lived 300 years ago, and I also saw many old buildings. The life is quite different from now. This period maybe people’s life was not as convenient as nowadays, and people had to work very hard to earn a little money, and faced a lot of problem like poor, illness and low-level education. But people still faced all these troubles with a very positive attitude. In this trip I liked the Salem Towne’s house best. When I came into the house, there was only another 2 people here, and we all walked very quietly. As I went upstairs and looked into a room, there was some sunshine through the window illuminated every corner of the room, I felt like there were still someone who lived here and they just went outside to feed their cows and would come back very soon. I felt a kind of peace and happiness in these few minutes. If I had the chance, I really hope I could go back to that period as a trip, to learn and feel their lives, it should be an amazing experience.”

  • Jingyi Mao
    China

Faculty Spotlight: A moment with…Olivia Szabo

November 17th, 2017 in Highlight.

Olivia photo

  1. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

Working with our amazing students. They’re such interesting people, and I love getting to know them and helping them with their goals. I think I learn a lot from each and every one of them.

  1. What did you do before working at CELOP?

I lived in Seattle and worked at the University of Washington. I taught in a similar program, but the UW’s program is even bigger than BU’s CELOP. Some of the students who take classes in that program have already been accepted to the UW, so it was a great challenge for me to work with them.

  1. Where are you from?

I’m from a small town on the Danube in Hungary. I grew up speaking Hungarian at home and started learning English at school when I was 9. An interesting thing about my family is that my Mom also started learning English around the same time, and then she started teaching English in the form of private lessons instead of working in a regular public school. Believe it or not, my Mom and I ended up going to college together and we both got our degrees at the same university in Teaching English as a Foreign Language! It was actually in my Mom’s language school where I first started teaching English when I was still in high school, so I’ve been teaching for over 25 years!

  1. Favorite thing to do in Boston?

I love the theater, so I really enjoy seeing plays. We’re so lucky to have so many great theater companies in this area!

  1. If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chirashi sushi – I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

  1. What’s your favorite TV Show?

Stranger Things – such an amazing tribute to the 80s and so well done!

  1. What is the best destination you’ve travelled to?

I love going home and visiting my family and friends in Hungary. Budapest is an amazing city, and traveling around Hungary is fantastic. It’s a truly beautiful country with great food and people who love to welcome and feed you. If you go, make sure to spend at least a week there; don’t think you can get away with only a few days! You definitely won’t be disappointed when you visit. Hungary (especially Budapest) is one of the best kept little secrets of Europe!

  1. Favorite restaurant in Boston?

Life Alive Café at Central Square in Cambridge. Excellent organic food that is actually coming into a space on the same block with CELOP in January 2018! I can’t wait for it to open!

  1. What are your hobbies?

Listening to classical music and playing board games with my family. I also love traveling and trying all kinds of food.

  1. What is your hidden talent?

I’m a pretty good swimmer. I can easily swim a mile in 40 minutes.

  1. What would people never guess you do in your role?

I really enjoy conferencing with my students during office hours and helping them with their individual needs. I think most students don’t know that this can really help them with their learning and in turn can help the instructor do a better job in the classroom.

Meet Our Current Students: Ayano Togawa, Japan

November 10th, 2017 in Highlight.

AyanoGrowing up in Japan’s Yamanashi prefecture southwest of Tokyo, current CELOP student Ayano Togawa could see Mt. Fuji from her window. “I have a big glass window in my room that you can see the mountain from. It’s beautiful.” While Ayano decided not to go far from home for college—she is now a sophomore at Waseda University in Tokyo—her decision to study abroad this year brought her halfway across the globe to CELOP at Boston University.

Ayano is part of the longstanding Waseda All Year program at CELOP, which welcomes students each year from one of the most academically selective and prestigious universities in Japan. The program gives Waseda students the opportunity to build a strong foundation in the English language through courses at CELOP.

When asked why she chose CELOP, Ayano’s reasoning was twofold. “Actually, I wanted to come to America because I play jazz piano. America is a really good place to learn more about jazz. New Orleans and New York are very well known cities for jazz, but also Boston for the music schools. I wanted to come to this city to learn English especially, but also to learn more about jazz.”

Ayano’s interests are vast. She is currently majoring in International Liberal Arts at Waseda, and aspires to be an English teacher in the future. Her goal is to become licensed to teach middle school and high school aged students.

So far this semester, Ayano’s favorite thing about CELOP is the diversity she has in her class. “In my core class, there’s a lot of different kinds of people. Students, former workers, professionals. I can listen to their stories and experiences about their careers. There are also many nationalities in my class—Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, African, Saudi Arabian. It’s really amazing for me to learn English here.”

Outside of class, Ayano has a unique opportunity to practice speaking English in her on-campus dorm. “My roommate here is American. She speaks English fast and quickly—but it’s good practice for me. She’s an engineering student here at BU.”

When asked what she would tell a student thinking about studying at CELOP, Ayano replied, “Advice? If they want to come to Boston, they should come to BU CELOP. It’s really good to improve your English skills. If they want to improve speaking, they should choose CELOP. They can learn amongst many cultures and nationalities.”

Staff Spotlight: A moment with…Colin Large

November 10th, 2017 in Highlight.

Colin

CELOP’s Associate Director, Academic Programs takes a moment for a brief interview.

  1. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

Learning from the students what needs we meet and how we could improve to meet more of their needs. I also enjoy working with other groups on campus to help integrate our faculty and students into the fabric of BU.

  1. What did you do before working at CELOP?

I was the interim Director for the Center for English Language Programs at New Mexico State University. I also taught English to international students.

  1. Where are you from?

I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s a beautiful city in the shadow of tall mountains.

  1. Favorite thing to do in Boston?

I love history, so I really enjoy being able to see the historical sites from the foundation of the US.

  1. If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Green chile chicken enchiladas on blue corn tortillas topped with an over-easy fried egg. Put some refritos and rice on the side and add a sopaipilla with honey for dessert, and you are guaranteed to see me with a smile on my face.

  1. What’s your favorite TV Show?

My wife and I are currently watching Star Trek: Voyager, one episode a night.

  1. What is the best destination you’ve travelled to?

The Crimean Mountains along the southern coast of Crimea. I got to meet Crimean Tatars, swim in the Black Sea, and see a Genoese fortress from the 15th century.

  1. Favorite restaurant in Boston?

Chicken & Rice Guys—they have a food truck in Boston, but a restaurant in Medford.

  1. What are your hobbies?

Gardening. I love to be able to watch new life grow out of the ground. I especially love it when I can eat what I grow.

  1. What is your hidden talent?

Singing – my high school choir won a competition at Disney World.

  1. What would people never guess you do in your role?

My daughter thinks that all I do is attend meetings. I think most people assume that I am too busy to talk. A big part of my job is to be available to listen.

Staff Spotlight: A moment with…Ja-Hon Wang

November 3rd, 2017 in Highlight.

CELOP’s Admissions Coordinator takes a moment for a brief interview.

CELOP’s Admissions Coordinator takes a moment for a brief interview.

  1. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

Working with students through a problem. It is difficult being a student in a new country, at a new school, speaking a language that is not your first language—I understand that. As a native English speaker who not only works at CELOP, but also studied at BU, I love using my knowledge to help students defuse their situation. Problem solving together allows us to know each other better and makes CELOP a closer community.

  1. What did you do before working at CELOP?

I was a student at BU studying Sociology and Nonprofit Business who spent a lot of time mentoring and leading events for underclassmen and international students adjusting to life at BU and in Boston.

  1. Where are you from?

Long Island, New York, but my parents are from Taiwan.

  1. Favorite thing to do in Boston?

Spend a day eating and shopping for Asian groceries in Chinatown.

  1. If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably Taiwanese House-Style (Jia Chang) Tofu (家常豆腐) with a side of garlicky vegetables. Why? Because it’s saucy, but not too heavy and there are a lot of yummy ingredients to choose from.

  1. What’s your favorite TV Show?

I’m not a big TV fan, but my favorite movie is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

  1. What is the best destination you’ve travelled to?

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Google a photo and you’ll want to go.

  1. Favorite restaurant in Boston?

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen

  1. What are your hobbies?

Cooking, Baking, Playing Cello, Running

  1. What is your hidden talent?

I can flip my eye-lids inside out? I can also eat a lot of food. My family calls me “garbage can” because whatever they can’t finish on the table, they give to me to eat.

  1. What would people never guess you do in your role?

I work as the Admissions Coordinator, but people would never guess that I spend a few minutes in the morning playing Tetris in the CELOP Kitchen. I am one of the first peoples in the office so I have to reorganize the contents of the fridge so I can fit my lunchbox inside. And then during my lunch break I have to reorganize all the lunchboxes again so that I can get my lunchbox out.

CELOP Alumni: Where Are They Now?

November 2nd, 2017 in Highlight.

Mohammed (Allen) Alfadhel, Saudi Arabia

CELOP sits down with alumnus to talk science, English language training, and how he got to where he is today

Allen at his work station in the Nanoscience Research Center at Suffolk University.

Allen at his work station in the Nanoscience Research Center at Suffolk University.

Back in the Spring of 2013, Mohammed (Allen) Alfadhel’s typical day began by taking the Blue Line from his apartment in East Boston to Government Center. He would then take the Green Line to BU West, arriving by 9AM just in time for his morning classes at CELOP. After class, Allen would have lunch at Panera on Comm. Ave., and spend the rest of his break studying—often in the CELOP main lobby. “My spot was by the window—the tables and chairs in the corner to the right. I would not go home until I finished my work.”

Allen’s dedication during his four semesters at CELOP paid off—he is now a senior at Suffolk University majoring in Physics. Outside of classes, Allen devotes his time to working in the Nanoscience Research Center at Suffolk. His current projects are impressive—ranging from superconductivity to analyzing the structure of DNA with a scanning tunneling microscope. He’s also involved with a radiation shielding project with MGH and is helping to spearhead mixed reality research at the university. Next week, he’ll be working with drones. “Some people call me ‘fabricator’ because I create so many different things.” In the small amount of spare time Allen has, he’s a talented illustrator, photographer, and artist.

Allen with an original illustration he created of Albert Einstein. The portrait hangs in the hallway of the Nanoscience Research Center.

Allen with an original illustration he created of Albert Einstein. The portrait hangs in the hallway of the Nanoscience Research Center.

It’s hard to imagine, when speaking with Allen, that his English level was low when he first arrived in the U.S. from Saudi Arabia nearly five years ago. “When I first came here, I didn’t speak much English. I used to call my brother to translate for me, and would hand the phone to the CELOP front desk if I needed to ask for something.”

Looking back, Allen views CELOP’s coursework paired with activities outside of class as key to his growth. “The CELOP trips were fantastic. My favorite was to an organization where we packaged food to deliver to the elderly. It gave me the opportunity to interact with other Americans.”

Soon, after participating in several CELOP Student Life activities, Allen was able to create his own opportunities to practice English. From participating in international student meet ups in downtown Boston to starting his own Photography Club at CELOP, Allen began to thrive in his new environment. He hasn’t stopped since.

When asked what he would tell someone thinking about attending CELOP, Allen said assuredly, “Go for it. Especially if you know what you want to do after it. That’s why I studied English for Science. It’s what I like most about CELOP—that academic focus. It didn’t make me ‘bored’ so to speak. I was studying English for something I was interested in.”


This is the first installment of a new ongoing series “CELOP Alumni: Where Are They Now?”. If you have any suggestions for alumni we should feature, please email Ruth Donaghey at rdonaghe@bu.edu.

CELOP hosts its 11th Annual College and University Fair

October 20th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

Our Students Eager to Pursue Academic Dreams at American Universities

By Sean Malvey

Contributors: Hui Laki Luo & Megan Fu

Focusing on the “O.P.” in CELOP, the Center for English Language & Orientation Programs hosted our annual College and University Fair for students. Admissions representatives from 16 New England colleges and universities (see list below) were present to answer questions about their undergraduate and graduate programs. For the 11th year now, CELOP offered our students the opportunity to explore specific academic and professional degrees, and learn more about the various admissions requirements at each institution.
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