Saturday, October 1, 2011

English Lessons in San Francisco

Niigata University of Management, where I teach English pedagogy, sends students to overseas schools each year. Students here have opportunities to visit campuses in China, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

Last month from September 4th to 17th, I escorted a small group of students who wanted to study English to San Francisco. They attended Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, south of San Francisco, which has an affiliated language school within the campus that offered them a two-week special language course.

I was responsible for taking care of them during the program, but while I stayed at a local motel in Belmont, the students were staying with host families in San Francisco. It was good for them to be able to meet and learn how American students spend their home and campus lives.

The language school, named TALK, offers English courses to meet the needs of a wide variety of students. My students took a placement examination at the beginning of the course, and were put into suitable small-sized classes.

Notre Dame de Namur University was founded in 1851 and is one of the oldest universities in California. ( The campus is located about twenty minutes south of San Francisco. The famous Silicon Valley, home to Google, Yahoo, Intel and Apple, is ten minutes away, and it is also a close neighbor Stanford University. Like San Francisco, Belmont’s weather is gorgeous, always mild, cool and clear, though walking around in the sun can still leave you sweaty.

The language school provided a lot of extra activities, such as sightseeing trips to downtown San Francisco, tickets to a San Francisco Giants’ baseball game and a bicycle outing that took us across the Golden Gate Bridge. As a proponent of international exchange programs, I believe programs like this truly expand a student’s knowledge and provide the kind of perspective and experience needed in today’s global society.