Students from around the world learn English together

Jul 18, 2013

dominicans foosball
Students in the Global Academy program play foosball, with a Dominican and Chinese person on each team.
Credit APRIL ASHLAND

Logan plays host to people from around the country each summer, from church youth groups and cheer camps to the summer citizens, escaping the heat of the southwest and beyond for the relatively cool Logan summer. But on campus, there's another group with students from around the world.

There are  students from Japan,  China, Syria, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Yemen, Haiti, Tajikistan and the Congo. Why are these students here? To learn of course.

Eric Sims is the program director for the Global Academy program, and said the students who attend the program already know some English.

"They’re not coming here to learn English from square one, when they come here they already speak some English, so it's really to deepen their language skills by giving them the cultural immersion experience that they just couldn't have at home," Sims said.

Leonardo is from the Dominican Republic and is completing his bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He said he found out about the Global Academy program through an English language program in the Dominican Republic.

"There is a program in my country called the English immersion program, so we start studying English for eight months, for four hours, five days a week,” Leonardo said. “We all were good in the program, we did great so we got this scholarship for the summer, and here we are. "

"We are here for just two months to share our culture and learn about your culture," said Zoir. He is from Tajikistan. He and his friend Hosi said they knew each other before they came, but the culture shock has still been significant.

"It’s totally different. Everything is different. The culture, the climate, the people, it's totally different," Hosi said.

This week, Zoir, Hosi, Leonardo, and the other students gathered at a multicultural fair to share their cultures.

The sharing of cultures is one of the reasons Wafaa Arbash from Syria came to Logan for the summer.  

"This is a good experience for me to meet a lot of people from different cultures, that make me more open minded and more flexible, and have knowledge of people from all over the world," she said.

Many of the students said they see the global academy program as a way to diversify themselves, to set themselves apart from others in the job market- something American students can understand.

"I think I need to do English, because in my country-- not only in my country--to get a job, a good job, it is necessary to know English," Hosi said.

Wafaa said she wants to stay for just this reason.

"It’s my opportunity to improve myself and improve my skills to go back to Syria and help people there because we are in war," she said.  

Leonardo said he plans on applying to Utah State University when he goes back to the Dominican Republic.

"There is a great opportunity for us in our country, to come back here and try to get a bachelor's or a masters degree, and I really want to get all the knowledge as possible," he said.