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American and international students unite for English Coffee Hour

Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011

Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2011 14:02



UNI international students and their American conversation partners play a game of Jenga during the CIEP’s English Coffee Hour in January.

Members of the Cultural and Intensive English Program recently met for English Coffee Hour, organized by the Office of International Programs in CIEP. The activity is an opportunity to get to know other students and build bridges of communication.

Participants included CIEP students, staff and their new English conversation partners, who help the CIEP students practice their English.        Coffee Hour is a monthly activity held in the Center for Multicultural Education. During the Jan. 14 meeting, participants talked, ate some snacks and played some board games.

"It was wonderful to look around the room and watch students practicing their English through simple games and activities," said Sally Roos, coordinator of international programs. "Nearly every group of students I saw included an American student giving their time to be a friend to international students."

"I think it is really great that CIEP puts on programs and gets together like this with the conversation partners and the international students," said Annette Putnam, one of the American conversation partners and a freshman TESOL/English dual major. "You cannot ever have too many friends from all around the world, so I think it is really great that we can all get together, exchange ideas and learn from each other. I sincerely encourage people to come out and join the program."  

"I heard about conversation partners through friends of mine and it is my first time being over to the meetings, and I think it is a really good opportunity to meet new people and to learn about other cultures (and) where people come from," said Staci Bobbin, another American conversation partner and a freshman art major.

"I usually like to share these wonderful activities because they are good chances to get to know new friends from other cultures and to improve my English," said Barjas Alhjelan, a Saudi Arabian student in CIEP. "I notice that my English is improving through these great activities."

Most of the students who attend these activities are members of the English Corner.

"English Corner is a great opportunity for CIEP and other international students to practice their English in a casual activity setting, but more importantly, it's a way for international students to make American friends. It's a way for UNI students to meet international students," Roos said.

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