The Embassy Experience

The following article was featured in the summer edition of the UCA Quarterly, a seasonal publication sent out to our international agents and contacts (soon going to alumni as well).

“International students are fully immersed in their classes for each academic subject as soon as they arrive at UCA.  They work and study alongside their American peers, meeting all of the same requirements and involved in all the same discussions.  But there is one classroom dedicated to the needs of those who have come to the United States from another country to complete their secondary education.

On the surface, The Embassy is just a classroom that happens to be assigned to the ESL program, a classroom in which international students receive supplemental help with English grammar, pronunciation, and usage.  But it is so much more.

 It is a place where students focus on increasing, strengthening, and deepening all aspects of their English language skills (vocabulary, listening, reading, grammar, writing and editing paragraphs and papers, public speaking, conversation, debate, thinking, culture, etc.).  It is where they create and design presentations to share aspects of their cultures with the rest of the school during International New Year. It is where they focus their preparation to take the TOEFL, SAT, and/or ACT.

 In the Embassy, you will often see small groups of students discussing content from a class they are taking together, with guidance from the ESL teacher, to deeper understand an assignment and/or class content.  For instance, they might be discussing a novel that was assigned in English Literature to not only gain a deeper understanding of the language but also the culture that is described.

 The Embassy acts as a haven.  It’s a place to discuss with one another opportunities they have been given that they are unsure about.  It’s a place to receive encouragement and support through the challenges of life. It’s a place to share ideas and goals and dreams. It’s a place to share food sent from home.  It’s a place to laugh and take a break and relax when the strain of doing everything in a second language is exhausting.

 It’s a home away from home.”