International Students Come to NMU for Language, Cultural Immersion

Lee (center) and other program participants talk with NMU students
Lee (center) and other program participants talk with NMU studentsNMU mascot visit
NMU mascot visitSmall-group discussions with NMU, TRIO and Upward Bound students
Small-group discussions with NMU, TRIO and Upward Bound students

NMU’s English Language Institute (ELI) is hosting a four-week summer program for 27 students from partner universities in South Korea, China and Japan. The participants attend daily, intensive English as a Second Language classes, complete an academic service learning project with local non-profit organizations, go on several cultural field trips and interact with community members.

“Summer programs have become really popular among international students,” said Diana Vreeland, who began serving as the director of Northern’s ELI in late April. “It is like a short-term study abroad that gives them an opportunity to improve their English language skills while also learning about American culture. There’s recruitment potential in bringing them to campus. Some may choose to return to work on a master’s degree, if not to complete their bachelor’s. NMU students also learn from them about education and culture in other countries, which might motivate our students to study abroad.”

Students from NMU’s TRIO and Upward Bound programs, along with Olson Library, recently participated in small-group discussions with the ELI visitors to enhance cultural understanding. Joon Soo Lee of Seoul, South Korea had visited the United States three times previously. He took a brief break from the conversation to reflect on his initiation to Marquette.

“I love the lake and nature here,” he said. “The teachers are letting us know everything about Marquette culture, food, entertainment, history. Speaking a lot of English is helpful for learning. I am seriously thinking of wanting to be an exchange student now that I know how U.S. universities are. Lots of us are thinking about it.”

Lee attends Hansung University, as do most of the ELI summer program participants. A few others represent China’s Xinzhou Teacher’s College and the Japan Center for Michigan Universities. They will be on campus through Aug. 7. The program will end with a three-night stay in Chicago.


Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director