Millersville University recently established an English Language Institute. The first cohort of students began this fall, consisting of five Chinese students. The ELI curriculum is designed in such a way as to be a bridge for students to matriculate into academic majors at MU or other universities. The goal is that, as students increase their proficiency with the English language and advance to higher levels, they can step into continuing academic programs.
As part of Millersville’s ELI programming, the University is committed to including real-life, community engagement activities to complement study in the classroom.
In its planning, MU discussed the possibility of arranging conversation partners with a local retirement community, and on November 17, the first learning session was held at Homestead Village. Prior to the meeting, resident volunteers were able to connect with students in which they exchanged mini-biographies by email so they would be familiar with each other. Students were paired with the same residents each week, with the hopes that they could begin a friendship. The itinerary was typically one hour of conversation, and then a presentation time. In the first presentation, students taught about Chinese language and characters. In the second presentation, residents taught about the American tradition of Thanksgiving. In the final presentation students taught about the Chinese New Year.
Millersville University hopes that the residents and students can reconnect in person one more time before the end of the school semester. The students enjoyed meeting and working with the residents and they hope to continue the community engagement in the future.