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AAIE Conference Held at UA

In mid April, the University of Alabama hosted the 2018 Alabama Association of International Educators (AAIE) annual conference. This organization is the Alabama chapter of Association of International Educators (NAFSA), and holds at its core a mission to promote international educational and cultural exchange through the support of students and scholars who choose to study in the state of Alabama and of Alabamians who seek education abroad.

Approximately 120 professional staff from international education offices across Alabama attended. Presentation topics covered a range of topics including using technology in the office and creating culturally inclusive programs for students from different countries. The University of Alabama’s staff presented on eight different topics . Participants also enjoyed a keynote speech by Mr. Mark Jackson, Honorary Consul General of Japan, who stressed the importance of diverse cultural knowledge and travel.

More information about AAIE, its mission, and events can be found at http://aaieorg.blogspot.com/.

 

 

Spring Study Abroad Fair

On Monday, February 19, the UA Education Abroad office hosted the Spring 2018 Study Abroad Fair at the Robert E. Witt Activity Center on the UA campus. The fair was an opportunity for students to talk with UA faculty, staff, and affiliated study abroad program providers about the options they have to study abroad as a UA student.

More than 250 students attended the event, twice as many as attended last year. Students were able to earn a Greek point and spin to win prizes for attending the event. Information about how to use financial aid and scholarships to study abroad was also presented.

Students can still apply to study abroad for the upcoming summer and fall terms, as well as Spring 2019. For more information, students can attend one of Education Abroad’s “Study Abroad 101” sessions held daily at 2 pm in 135 B.B. Comer Hall. Students can apply to study abroad on the Education Abroad website at www.studyabroad.ua.edu.

Colombian student experiences Crimson Tide culture through English Language Institute

Caroline Japal

By Shahriyar Emami | 01/24/2018 10:02pm | From The Crimson White

Santiago Mejia Villegas, a native Colombian, was first exposed to American football, a rare sport in Colombia, during his time on the Alabama campus.“It is impossible to live in the campus during the football season and not getting involved in the Crimson Tide! I had the chance to go to a couple of games in the stadium as well as to the welcoming parade and live that amazing moment like a new fan of Alabama,” he said. “I have made a few friends with whom have been in some cities nearby or in some bars and restaurants here in Tuscaloosa,” he said.

Villegas’ first language is Spanish, and he’s in Tuscaloosa to study English and business through the University of Alabama’s English Language Institute (ELI).

“English is one of the most widely spoken and written languages in the world,” Emily Brown, an English Language Institute instructor at The University of Alabama said. “One of our overall goals is to try and prepare our students for academic study in an American university setting by providing them with the cultural knowledge and awareness they will need to thrive both academically and socially.”

Villegas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and continued his postgraduate studies in marketing and finance in Colombia.

“Living here in Alabama but mostly in the UA campus has been an incredible opportunity …
There are so many differences between the way we live in [my] country and the way we live here because we are temporarily a student and we have to face some situations like get used to the food, to stay at the dorm because we don’t have a car or friends to go out with… but at the end everything has become in a new valuable experience,” Villegas said.

During his time at the University, Villegas has been active in the ELI, other international student groups and community church events. This past year, Villegas attended a Thanksgiving event hosted by a local church group where he said he learned cultural pieces he couldn’t have learned in a classroom.

“There it was wonderful people and delicious food and it became in a very good opportunity to know and understand the origin of the holiday and its meaning for the American culture. It was also a place where we found good and friendly people who afterwards has helped us in some casual questions like where to find a barber shop close the campus or stuff like that,” Villegas said.

While there are many people involved in the ELI program, Villegas said he believes not enough people know about it or are even aware of what they do in the program. He said he finds it easier to talk to people in the program because they speak multiple languages.

“We designed [the program] specifically for non-native speakers who live in the Tuscaloosa area and want to improve their language skills,” Brown said.

Brown said the program provides learners with the confidence they need in the English language to pursue opportunities they might not otherwise get the chance to pursue, whether that be personally, professionally, academically or socially.

“For native speakers who don’t quite understand, I tell them [ELI] is similar to when maybe they learned Spanish or French in high school or college. It’s different, however, because our classrooms often include students who speak a variety of different languages,” Brown said.

“Everything about the culture here is different and interesting in some ways, but definitely the friendly character of the people in Alabama is something I will never forget,” Villegas said.

ELI Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to this session’s ELI Tuition Scholarship winners: Cristina from Spain and Nimian from Nicaragua!

Every session the ELI awards tuition scholarships to current full-time students. The students must attend 80% of their ELI classes and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all ELI classes. Students must also write a short essay explaining why they want the scholarship.

If you are a current ELI student and want to apply for a scholarship for next session, you can find the application on the ELI Forms page.

ELI Students Watch the National Championship

ELI students watched and cheered The University of Alabama’s American football team on to victory January 8, 2018. The football team won their 17th National Championship by beating The University of Georgia 26-23 in overtime. The exciting game was televised on the movie screen in the Ferguson Student Center. Some of the students had watched Alabama football games before coming to Tuscaloosa so that they could participate in this important part of the university’s culture. Roll Tide!

Summer 2018 Faculty Led General App Open

Summer 2018 UA Faculty-Led General Application

This is the General Application for UA’s Summer 2018 Faculty-Led study abroad programs. Once your specific program is ready to accept applications, the UA Education Abroad office will move your application to the program that you have expressed interest in via the Questionnaire in this general application. If you are interested in more than one faculty-led program, we will move your application to your first choice of programs. You will then need to start a second application for your second choice of programs (if you so desire).

If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor, please contact the Education Abroad office at 205-348-5256 or studyabroad@ua.edu or come by 135 B.B. Comer Hall and make an appointment.

15th annual Capstone International Photo Contest (Fall 2017)

Education Abroad is excited to announce our 15th annual Capstone International Photo Contest.

We know many of you captured some great shots while you studied abroad as a UA student. We want to see them!Photos will be classified into one of four categories:

  • Landscape – buildings and/or natural scenery of a city, site, or area
  • Local Color – highlights the people and culture of places visited
  • UA Spirit – UA students showing their school pride while abroad
  • Crimson Captured (International students only) – the UA campus or Tuscaloosa area as seen through the eyes of UA international students.

 

With your submission, please include your name, the category in which you are entering the photo, title of the photo, location the photo was taken, and the name of your study abroad program. Each contestant is allowed to submit no more than 4 photos total. Make sure all photos are high resolution. Winner in each category will receive scholarship prizes!

Photos must be high-resolution and be submitted via email to UAphotocontest@gmail.com. The deadline for entry is Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 11 p.m. By submitting a photograph(s) you guarantee that you are the original and sole creator of the submitted photograph(s) and that you own all rights to the photograph(s). Furthermore, you grant Education Abroad and Capstone International the right to use the photograph(s).

 

Voting Process
Entries for each category will be voted on by the UA student body the week of November 6-10 on the second floor of the Ferguson Center AND through the UA Education Abroad Facebook page.

 

Prizes
Winners will be announced during International Education Week the week of November 13-17. The 1st and 2nd place winners of each category will receive a scholarship prize that will be credited to the student’s account at UA. All finalists will receive an award certificate.

 

Rules and Requirements

  • You must be a current UA student to enter.
  • Photos must be submitted via email to UAphotocontest@gmail.com
  • Maximum of four total entries per student.
  • No inappropriate, lewd, disrespectful, or offensive submissions.
  • Repeat submissions will not be considered.
  • Images should not be digitally enhanced.
  • Submissions must include your name, the category in which you are entering each photo, title of the photo, location the photo was taken, and the name of your program.

 

Check out last years winners on our Facebook: 2016 Photo Contest Winners!

Proyecta 100,000

For three consecutive years (2015, 2016, & 2017), The University of Alabama (UA) English Language Institute (ELI) has been selected to host Mexican learners to study English as a Second Language for four weeks in the fall as part of the “Training Program for Students – Proyecta 100,000.” Each year the Mexican students have been impressed by the beautiful university campus, the diversity of students at the ELI, and the professional English instructors. In the articles in Spanish linked below, three Proyecta students describe their positive learning experiences at The University of Alabama.

“The University of Alabama” by Ulises Escobar Roman

“Roll Tide” by Karla Janet Hernandez Ortiz

“Broaden Our Horizons” by Dr. Ana Maria Guerrero Orozco

Proyecta Students at the ELI Welcome Activity

 

Proyecta students with some ELI friends at the certificate ceremony

A Sweet Taste of Culture for International Students

International students experience American Christmas traditions – decorating cookies, making gingerbread houses, and singing carols – for the first time.

See the photos and the finished products at the UA News Center.

Students with UA’s English Language Institute gathered at B.B. Comer Hall to decorate Christmas cookies, make gingerbread houses, and sing Christmas carols for the first time.

 

Abdulmosen Shunib, a 21-year-old ELI student from Saudi Arabia, said the experience was neat. “This is my first time doing this. I like it.”

 

Sojin Thoi, a 23-year-old ELI student from South Korea, said she came to UA to study abroad. “I’ve never tried to make cookies and decorate them. It is so interesting. We celebrate Christmas in Korea, but we just share gifts.”

 

Bugra Bugdayci, a 24-year-old ELI student from Turkey, said being at UA has been an experience. “Making cookies is different. It is tradition. Cultural.” 

 

Cookies decorated with the Turkish flag. “I want to know who dares to eat cookie with the Turkish flag!?” said Muath Mumani, laughing and raising his finger in the air.

 

The finished product: international Christmas cookies.

 

Mio Ueoka, a 21-year-old ELI student from Japan, said this is her first time making Christmas cookies and her first Christmas. “I like it. Here at the University of Alabama it is interesting because I meet other students from all over the world.”

 

Completed gingerbread house.

 

Muath Mumani, a 39-year-old ELI student from Jordan, said he enrolled in UA’s ELI program to improve his English so he can better serve his clients at his law practice. 

 

Dogga Demir, a 28-year-old ELI student from Turkey, said the main holiday celebration in Turkey is New Year’s so Christmas is new to him. “It is a lot of eating, resting, singing, feasting. What is not to like?”

 

Pride in the creation of first-time gingerbread homes.

 

And, of course, Santa made an appearance.

University Place Elementary Students Learn about World Cultures

Tuscaloosa News

By Drew Taylor / Staff Writer

Wearing traditional Chinese garb and a panda hat, Jing Li stood Friday in the middle of a circle of intrigued students from University Place Elementary School.

As the students watched, Li began to spin, kick and softly move across the floor, performing different martial art forms, such as tai chi and changquan.

In the midst of her performance, Li stopped.

“You want to see more?” Li asked.

“Yeah,” the group shouted with excitement.

Li’s performance was one part of a showcase at the school Friday morning that included representatives from 16 different countries to commemorate International Education Week. The showcase, which was organized between the school and the English Language Institute at the University of Alabama, was called “World Friends Day” and included people explaining their cultures and what makes their country unique.

“We want all of our students to have some kind of experience with all cultures,” said Patsy McGahey, science, technology, engineering and mathematics director at University Place. “We want them to be global citizens.”

The forum was organized after Monica Hollie, a receptionist at ELI and a parent of two students at University Place, approached the school about holding an international forum there. ELI works with University of Alabama students who come from across the globe in improving their English skills. The group normally holds forums at different schools throughout the year to teach children about different cultures.

Hollie said that as much as the forum is for the children, it also helps out the ELI fellows.

“Their first language is not English, and they are here to improve their skills in that area,” Hollie said.

Zion Doughty, a third-grader at University Place, said he liked learning about different countries, such as Jordan.

“It seems really cool,” Doughty said.

McGahey said that University Place has many students who live at or below the poverty level, and they may not have had a chance to see the world or understand how other people live in the world.

“By exposing them to other countries, it broadens their experience to what they can do later in life,” she said.

Hollie said that more than just exposure to cultures, forums like the one on Friday help children relate to others in the world, in addition to making people from other cultures feel like they are understood in the process.

“Sometimes, it can be their first time to come to the U.S.,” Hollie said. “It makes it easier for them to know that a few Americans are eager to learn, not quick to criticize.”