NIU’s first-ever Summer Youth English Camp recently concluded in the College of Education.
The camp was an outgrowth of NIU’s partnership with Yeungjin College of Daegu, South Korea. The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in 2010 agreeing to work together to provide innovative educational opportunities such as the camp.
During the four-week session, the COE hosted 28 students from ages 8 to 15 from the Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village (DGEV).
The program’s itinerary included 80 hours of classroom instruction in reading writing, and verbal comprehension, provided by ELS under contract to NIU, as well as plenty of opportunities to experience American culture.
“The camp was all about the students learning: learning English, learning about themselves, and learning about how they interact with others was the true theme,” said Terry Borg, director of the COE’s External and Global Programs, which sponsored the camp.
In addition to the on-campus classroom work, students visited various landmarks in Chicago, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and Shedd Aquarium. They also enjoyed a day of excitement and roller coasters at Six Flags, a field trip to Starved Rock State Park, participated in a “Go Huskies Day” with the NIU football team and even learned to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the steel drum.
“They had a lot of fun while doing a lot of learning,” Borg said.
“The reason we came to NIU was to provide the students the opportunities to practice their English skills while experiencing American culture,” said JoonYoung Jang, the DGEV coordinator who accompanied the children from South Korea. “We watched football players practice and went to Wrigley Field. These types of experiences are difficult to have at home.”
Joon noted that at the start of the visit, the students were a bit shy and avoided speaking English. “But toward the end,” he said, “they spoke with everybody. We stayed here only four weeks. But now they are confident in speaking English. This is a remarkable achievement for them.”
by Eric Johnson