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Mar 27 2016
by Noemi Griffin

This Program Is Helping International Students Learn English and Connect to Their Campus

By Noemi Griffin - Mar 27 2016
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College is an experience that already merits some degree of anxiety. But for international students in the states who may not have that great of a grasp on the language, their anxiety can take on a whole new level. One program at the University of Missouri is trying to help international students feel more at home and at ease on their campus

According to a report by USA Today, the Language Partners Program pairs native and non-native speakers at the university. It's one of several English programs offered at Mizzou, and judging by the student responses it has garnered, it is one of the most successful. 

The coordinator of the program, Khalilah Henderson, said that “it’s definitely targeted to help international students, just to make them feel more comfortable and accepted on campus, because there aren’t a lot of resources and services to help them.”

One student, Amjad Hasan, said his partner in the program has become more like a best friend to him. Hasan and his language partner Seth Boeke have taken trips together and Boeke helped improve Hasan's English exponentially.

Hasan and Boeke (photo from Hasan's FB)

A senior at the university, Andrew Wilhite, understands how important language partners could be. Wilhite was in an extensive Spanish language program in Spain where he had a language partner. Wilhite is now partners with a student from Beijing, Yu Zhang. They've been partners since January 2015. Zhang believes it's a good project to improve relations between different cultures. 

According to the program description on the Women's Center website, the pairs get together at least once a week for an hour to practice conversational English. Pairings are on a first come first serve basis and are decided on by the program leaders. 

This program is obviously producing results and is something that should be looked into by other universities with robust international student populations. 

Lead Image Credit: Hasan's Facebook

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Noemi Griffin - Mercer University

Noemi Griffin is a Journalism and Spanish major at Mercer University. Her true passion is dogs and it is truly a great day whenever there is a dog in sight. Instagram: noemioriana Twitter: noemi_oriana

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