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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 August 2013

College to host prestigious international program

Students from Iraq participating in an English language study will learn and live at Columbia College.

Columbia College is one of seven American colleges, and the only private college, that will host undergraduate students from Iraq for six weeks of intensive English language study through a program administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

The college will offer intensive English language study to pre-engineering students from Iraq who are participating in IREX’s Summer English Language Study program (SELS). IREX is an international nonprofit that works with local people and institutions to build three important elements of a thriving society: quality education, independent media and strong communities.

Through a partnership with IREX and MU’s College of Engineering, approximately 10 students from the University of Technology, Iraq, will arrive on the Columbia College campus Aug. 11 and will live in the residence halls to get a true feel for U.S. culture, one of the goals of the program.

The students will be integrated into the college’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes so they can learn oral and written communication skills together with other non-native English speakers. As a way to help them assimilate into American culture, these students will participate in a number of cross-cultural learning opportunities and events, such as Lunch Beyond Borders, a weekly event every Tuesday at the Dulany Hall dining facility, and international coffee hours once per month.

With the support of administration, Dr. Miranda E. Wilkerson, assistant professor and coordinator of ESOL, Lizbeth Metscher, English instructor and ESOL program assistant, and Britta Wright, director of international services, worked to make this program a reality at Columbia College. Along with classes, the students will meet with student mentors and will go on weekend field trips around Missouri.

The students were chosen based on merit and awarded the opportunity to attend the SELS program. The state department pays their tuition and the funding given to Columbia College will go toward putting on this program, including housing, tuition and activities.

Columbia College, Georgia State University, University of Kentucky, Oklahoma State University, Michigan State University, Cincinnati University and Ball State University will host a total of 46 students from different Iraqi universities as part of the SELS program.

A welcome dinner for the students will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, at the Cougar Room in Dulany Hall. Anne Johnson, an IREX representative, and Vlad Likholetov, the MU College of Engineering’s International Partnerships and Initiatives Director, will be in attendance.

Staff and faculty members can email Lizbeth Metscher to sign up to join a Lunch Beyond Borders.