Upper Iowa University ESL students showcase their display at the cultural fair held in conjunction with Fayette Appreciation Day at North Fayette Middle School, Fayette, Iowa. Pictured are (back, left) Yangchunyu Wang, Shihao Fei, Chenle Lan, Weiming Cui, Rongpeng He and Haoxiang Qin, all from China, and DongKyu Kim from South Korea.
FAYETTE, Iowa (April 25, 2013) - Upper Iowa University's English as a Second Language (ESL) program organized a cultural fair at North Fayette Middle School in conjunction with Fayette Appreciation Day to promote cultural awareness and diversity to the middle school students.
The UIU ESL students shared the culture and traditions of their native countries with the middle school students. The nine countries represented included Spain, South Korea, China, Pakistan, Martinique, France, Venezuela, Mongolia and Japan.
Each country had their own booth with a poster board filled with unique items and images to give the middle schoolers an idea of what it is like to live there. To make the day more interesting, ESL students conducted various games and quizzes to enable the middle school students to interact with each other more as they learned about the countries represented.
Kristine Whitsell, UIU ESL program coordinator, helped ESL students prepare for the cultural fair to develop techniques that would better engage the middle schoolers and increase their appreciation of other cultures. In addition to developing interactive games, ESL students shared popular music, did show-and-tell with traditional items and translated names and shared traditional crafts and goods.
UIU ESL Director Sarah Bjork enjoyed the cultural fair and interaction between the college ESL students and the middle school, "This is a great opportunity for exposure for the middle school children as it is a great opportunity for the ESL students to build upon global citizenship. Not only that, but it also helps them to interact better and to practice English in a practical way."
The ESL program has always prioritized helping international students build greater self-confidence and become more assimilated with American culture, according to Bjork. In addition to the opportunity at North Fayette Middle School, the ESL program also conducts other service learning programs and field trips to encourage interaction, and to provide experiences in American culture.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.