June 19, 2024

Is it not beautiful that language learning nurtures friendships and the exchange of cultural experiences? This process happens here at CBU and all students can be part of it. The Intensive English Program (IEP) at CBU provides international students with the opportunity to learn English in a short period of time before they begin their degrees. The program gathers young adults from all over the world and teaches them the American language and culture. It also gives local CBU students and people from overseas the chance to interact.

“It is not just classes — go have fun,” Heather Snavely, director of IEP, said.  “You need to learn but you also need to experience.”

Snavely encouraged English learners to get involved in college life since it is the best way to improve their language skills in a sustainable and fun way. Being locked in a room writing papers or staying inside seems to be the opposite of a way to improve language abilities. Students should instead embrace the learning process and step out of their comfort zone. 

Snavely encouraged students to participate in events and communicate in English as much as possible. 

“The IEP is a time for them to learn not only English but campus culture,” Snavely said. 

“It is a time to learn about the American lifestyle, which is thrilling and challenging for any international student. On the other side, it is also an excellent experience for local students to show all that they love and are excited about to newcomers.” 

Gabriela Tardivo, freshman IEP student from Brazil, shared that she found it fun to pronounce the phrase, “How’s it going?” and shared that it was hard to get right.

“I was really confused about what was going on my first semester. However, now I manage to have fun and learn the language more,” Tardivo said. 

Joaquin Campos, freshman IEP student from Chile, enjoys teaching Chinese students his first language, Spanish. 

“Learning another language is a very important tool for my life,” he said.

Lamiae Momouni, freshman IEP student from Marrocco, added “I appreciate the wonderful opportunity and am thankful to all the professors who contributed to developing my English skills.”

Meanwhile, Roman Zozulya, graduate student from Ukraine, shared thoughts about the IEP program that he completed four years ago. He is in his final semester of the MBA program and recalls his first semesters when he was part of the IEP with a smile.

“The IEP gave me confidence in the language. After finishing the program, I was able to take different classes and get my bachelor’s degree,” Zozulya said. “Now, I am in graduate school and feel so comfortable using the language for different projects and personal research.”

Snavely referred to international students as “small fish in a big pond.” At first, they seem confused and lonely in this big new country and university; however, it is rewarding seeing them thrive and embrace the opportunities given. 

Most aspects of American life do not seem like a big deal to most CBU students, but they are so interesting to most international students. The things some may take for granted are extraordinary new experiences for our IEP students. Some people do not even realize how much they do not know until they meet somebody born and raised in a completely different environment and interact with them. Perceiving the world from different lenses makes it shine in many different ways. Exchanging those lenses is a experience that opens up minds. 

Any CBU student can be part of this process by reaching out to the International Center and becoming a conversational partner. Also, students can attend international events and make friends there. Snavely encourages students to know about the opportunities to engage with international students. The opportunity to expand the boundaries of your mind and form friendships is here on campus.  Give it a shot. 

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