July 17, 2007

Taiwanese students learning English at SIUC

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — As many as 74 students from four different universities in Taiwan will spend most of their summer at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to learn English.

Cheryl Ernst, exchange program coordinator for the Center for English as a Second Language, said the students arrived in six different groups. "It's an amazing ride," she said, a little breathless but delighted at the number of students coming to learn English.

"We have a fantastic director in Marilyn Rivers," she added. "She has done a ton of recruiting for this. The main goal of these students is language learning, so there are potentially all different major areas of study for these students."

Ernst said the CESL exchange program gets out the good word to international universities about what SIUC has to offer. "Most of the students go home with a positive experience in the United States. We certainly do get a number of them who come back here for graduate work."

Part of what makes SIUC so attractive to many of the students is the beautiful campus, Ernst said. "Many of the students are from large metropolitan areas," she said. "When they come here, they enjoy Campus Lake and the trees and being able to walk around in Carbondale – they can live differently here than at home."

Another feature of the University that seems consistently popular with the exchange students is the Student Recreation Center. "That is just not common at all universities to have a facility like that," she said. "We can't schedule too many activities for the students because they'd sometimes prefer to use the recreation center."

Still, this summer's students from Taiwan will get time for a few organized activities, including visiting St. Louis and a farewell dinner at Giant City Lodge.

Several groups of students from Taiwan are here now. They will stay until the end of July or mid-August, depending on their arrival time. One more group is due to arrive on July 22.

Participating universities are: National Cheng Kung University, National University of Formosa, I-Shou University and National Yunlin University.

For more information about the Center for English as a Second Language, contact the department at 618/453-2265.