New international students

Students from nearly 20 nations have arrived on campus

August 28, 2019
Image of welcome banner

This banner above was hung on the side of the entrance to Dion Family Student Center last week as new international students arrived at Saint Michael’s. Below, President Sterritt formally welcomes the new international students; below that, a group from Japan enjoys a ride on a ferry boat in Lake Champlain

New international students arrived on campus Sunday, August 18 at Saint Michael’s College, and International Student Orientation (ISO) ran from Monday, August 19 through Sunday, August 25. The new international student cohort includes approximately 60 students representing just under 20 countries.

This student cohort will be spread across all academic programs: Intensive English Program (IEP), Academic English Program (AEP), undergraduate, and graduate. Included in these figures are two new Fulbright scholars from Ivory Coast and Panama, and groups from Tamagawa University, Tokyo Women’s Christian University, and the International College of Technology – Kanazawa (all based in Japan). In addition, a student from Shandong University in China will arrive to participate in the newly formed joint MATESOL degree program between our schools.

The week began with a Welcome Breakfast President Sterritt speaking for all new international students and their families. They were joined by a large Saint Michael’s cohort including faculty, staff, and members of the administration. Melissa Holzman was the emcee for the event. President Sterritt welcomed everyone with warm remarks (photo top right), and Lara Scott, Director of MOVE, shared a blessing before attendees helped themselves to the buffet breakfast. Families were then invited to the Parent and Family Information session that included panelists from various campus departments. There was time for families to connect one-on-one with these campus representatives after the question-and-answer period. International Student Orientation included information sessions on topics such as navigating the U.S. classroom, cultural adjustment issues, and the benefits and responsibilities of immigration status. In addition, students enjoyed ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop on Church Street as part of their city bus orientation, a Lake Monsters game, and a board game night with snack bar. Student Assistants from the Applied Linguistics Department joined the new international students in the Intensive English Program and Master’s Programs at select New Student Orientation activities including Convocation, Walk A Mile, and Connections.

Tokyo group adventures

Heather Battig, adjunct ESOL instructor/coordinator of TWCU English Language and Culture Program, offered an engaging account of her early experiences with one prominent group of international students: “’Ahoy, Mates!’  This was the greeting heard by students from Tokyo Woman’s Christian University this past week as they boarded the Charlotte ferry for Essex, N.Y.  students in front of the ferry But this was not a mere pleasure cruise for the nine students who took advantage of the captive crew and passengers to practice their conversational English skills in an authentic context. The charmed ferry crew and passengers readily assented to not only conversing with the students, but also posing for a picture at the conclusion of the picturesque ride. This was actually the second interview context for the TWCU students who hit Church Street on day two of their 23 days at Saint Michael’s College in a program that combines rigorous classroom study with ‘real world’ practice. The downtown Burlington trip involved seeking out specific targeted audiences (e.g. a dog owner), introducing themselves, and initiating conversation that was graded under a specified rubric. The creative TWCU English Language and Culture Program is offered as one of many teaching contexts within the English Language Programs directed by Christine Bauer-Ramazani and Assistant Director Chris Mager of Applied Linguistics.  Teachers Laura Bozarth and Heather Battig lead these TWCU students who will host the Saint Michael’s community for an international Coffee Hour this week in addition to presenting their culture in the local community, in schools, a retirement center, and a local farm, with American culture forays into Montreal and Boston. TWCU students will enjoy two more weeks of study before Saint Michael’s bids them a reluctant ‘Bon voyage!’ and they return to Japan with not only valuable academic credits, but a remarkable new confidence and skill in writing and speaking English.”

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