Visiting students experience Calgary life

By Amy Badry

The University of Calgary welcomed 12 students from Taiwan. The students are participating in an English for Academic Purpose program — a program that has been running at the U of C for nearly 12 years.

EAP director Anuradha Sengupta said this program is needed in a diverse city like Calgary with many immigrants and international students.

The EAP is different than English as a Second Language programs, as it goes beyond everyday language learning and focuses on what is necessary to succeed in the academic or business world.

“The reason we were created by the university is to provide academic English support services for students who are academically eligible for admission to any degree program on campus, so both graduates and professional degree programs,” said Sengupta.

Most often students will take the program and then go on to take a bachelor’s or master’s degree at the U of C.

The group from Taiwan, however, is only taking courses for 9 weeks.

“This particular group is different in that it is a blend of both bachelor’s and master’s students from Taiwan,” said Sengupta. “They are English majors so they are coming here for professional experience about how to teach English.”

For most of the students it is their first time out of Taiwan.

“Our students are kind of shy,” said Jeng-yih Tim Hsu, a professor form the National Kaoshing First University of Science and Technology where the student’s study in Taiwan. “It is a culture thing. They have to tell themselves again and again, we are going to Calgary, we are going to Calgary,” said Hsu.

The students are nevertheless excited to experience Canadian life.

When the Gauntlet talked to the group they expressed the program was a good opportunity to experience a different culture and language. “And to improve our English ability,” one participant said.

“I love everything here. It is not as hot here as it is in my country and there are a lot of trees here,” said another. “Also the drivers are really polite. In Taiwan the drivers are crazy.”

On top of taking classes at the university the program includes a home stay component.

“They really want a positive Canadian experience and to experience as much Canadian culture as possible,” said Sengupta. “That means they don’t want to live in dorms. They want to live with a Canadian family.”

The U of C hopes to continue to build relationships with international universities.

“This is a great opportunist to work with a top school in Taiwan,” said Sengupta. “It is a young university much like us, so we understand what young institutions are going through.”

Hsu says the NKFUST and the U of C have many shared research interests and are looking forward to future collaboration.

“There are many more possibilities for working together,” said Hsu. “The U of C is a very good pick, and very successful in running their EAP program for more than 10 years.”

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