Suzhou High School Students Experience NC State

In addition to its primary function of preparing conditionally admitted students for undergraduate studies at NC State, the Intensive English Program (IEP) worked with a partner institution in Suzhou, China this spring to create a custom designed eight-week English language program for high school students.

In February, the Intensive English Program welcomed eight students from Suzhou North America High School for a special language and culture program.  The goal of the program was to improve the students’ academic language and test-taking skills, while at the same time helping them to adapt to American culture and the expectations of an American university.  The program is a partnership between NC State’s IEP, an International Affairs unit, and New Mind Education.  Activities and cultural excursions were planned by New Mind Education to complement the IEP academic curriculum.  The first cohort of students left NC State on April 18.

Two regular IEP instructors, William Haselton and Olga Uzun and two part-time instructors, Timothy Ward and Joanne Rich taught the Suzhou students.

The students were accompanied by two chaperones from Suzhou, Ms. Lingling (Lynn) Liu and Mr. Tiantian (Toby) Yang.  Mr. Yang also served as the program’s documentarian by filming and photographing the students on all of their adventures and sharing them via WeChat with the students’ teachers and families back home.

The Suzhou students lived in the Wolf Ridge apartments while attending daily classes at Hunt Library.  In the afternoons and on weekends, they participated in numerous activities including a basketball clinic, tending to a community garden, taking a trip to Adventure Landing and visiting nearby universities.

For their final oral presentation, the students were asked to reflect on their time at NC State.  Students gave presentations sharing their impressions of American culture and food, the activities they attended, their instructors and NC State.

“It was incredibly rewarding watching the students grow, in terms of their language development and confidence levels, over the course of two short months,” said Karin Sandler, Director of the Intensive English Program.  “I think the students had a life-changing experience here at NC State, and I was happy to witness their individual transformations.”

The students formed strong bonds with each other and left the program with increased motivation to improve their English.  Many expressed the desire to apply to NC State in the future as they were impressed with the campus and friendliness of the people here.

The next cohort of nine students will begin classes on May 2 and will leave NC State on June 25.