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Published on February 11th, 2014 | by SMUMN

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International Center helps students learn and share language and culture

Currently, there are about 60 international students who are enrolled in different undergraduate programs. They represent at least 15 countries from around the world.

CAPTION: New international students meet current students and Christian Brothers.

The International Center’s De La Salle Language Institute (DLI), located on the Winona campus, is comprised of both the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and the English Language Bridge (ELB) program.

Teaching Arabic through music.

Students teach Arabic through music.

During the fall semester, the English as a Second Language students had an opportunity to share aspects of their culture with a 4-H program representing the University of Minnesota Extension in Winona County. Groups of ESL students from individual countries prepared and presented a variety of activities for these youngsters once per week. Ying Hou, a 2011 SMU graduate now in the Master of Arts in Instruction program, was the facilitator for this experience. During the spring semester, Ying will do a similar activity involving the ESL students with the Key Kids program at Goodview Elementary.

The ESL program is designed for international students who desire to improve their English language skills while participating in the life of a North American university. Currently enrolled in the ESL program are students hailing from Saudi Arabia, Colombia, China, Japan and Venezuela. Typical ESL students are enrolled in 20+ non-credit-bearing hours of language courses; in addition, these students participate in co-curricular activities targeted specifically for personal and cultural enrichment. The majority of these students will eventually matriculate into a SMU undergraduate or graduate program.

The ELB program is offered to both international and domestic full-time freshmen who speak a first  language other than English. The ELB program consists of specialized academic advising and a succession of credit-bearing courses designed to improve academic English skills. The three ELB coded courses are completed within an academic year along with additional requisite courses standard for a first-year SMU student.

DLI offices and classrooms can be found on the first floor of the Heights building — also known as the International Center. Staff members include Becky Vogel (DLI director/ESL and ELB instructor), Molly Lohnes (ESL specialist/ESL and ELB instructor) and Jane Cyrus (ESL instructor).

For more information about our programs at the International Center, follow them on Facebook.

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