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Mentors help teach culture

Carson Chen, sophomore and part time IEP (Intensive English Program) student, sits with his partner, Gustavo Lang, junior, as they converse in English and Chinese. Chen and Lang have been partnered for a year, helping each other learn their native language and share their culture. "I'm lovin' it! Just copy Ronald McDonald," says Chen, when asked how he likes the program. Cayla Nimmo//The Miami Hurricane

Being placed on the opposite side of the world with no friends or family can be both scary and exciting.
Many students at the University of Miami can relate to this experience because 10 percent of UM undergraduates are international students, which come from 111 different countries.
Designed by the Intensive English Program (IEP), UM’s conversation program helps students that do not speak English fluently to perfect their language skills.
By matching each exchange student with an English-speaking student, the program works to immerse them in American culture while tending to their English language needs.
One match provided by the IEP was sophomore Carson Chen, a part-time IEP student, and junior Gustavo Lang who have been partnered for a year. Through this partnership, Chen and Lang have shared their cultures.
“It’s very different here from their country,” said Beatrice Nanni, director of IEP. “It gives international students an understanding, as well as what the American culture is really like.”
IEP functions include Talking Tuesdays, where coffee and cookies are served, and monthly events like ice cream night and bowling.
“It’s also an opportunity for mentoring,” Nanni said. “If you want to meet someone from a different country then you definitely should join.”

Rose Aviles may be contacted at raviles@themiamihurricane.com.

January 23, 2011

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Rose Aviles

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