ELI Students Share Insights on Being an International Student

When international students travel to the United States to learn English, the language barrier is just one of their challenges. Cultural differences like being overwhelmed in the grocery store, being embarrassed about not tipping a server (there is no tipping in China) or learning where to get help in serious situations are a few of the struggles they encounter.

During the 2017-18 academic year, students from Japan, China, Norway, South Korea, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia were able to put their experiences and feelings on paper.

As part of a writing project, the students were given autobiographical and creative writing prompts that encouraged them to reflect on what it means to travel abroad to improve their English language proficiency.

The project was a collaboration between Syracuse University’s English Language Institute (ELI) and New City Community Press. The ELI provides intensive English instruction to approximately 300 international students who attend the program each year. Steve Parks, Syracuse University associate writing professor and founder of New City Community Press, published their collection of stories in a book titled, “Becoming International: Musings of Studying Abroad in America.”

“At first the students did not think of themselves as authors,” says Amy Walker, an ELI instructor who wrote the book’s introduction. “They did not see the benefit of the project because their sole reason for attending the ELI was to obtain enough English proficiency for admission to an American undergraduate or graduate degree program.”

people standing in line at table

Bandar AlHoraibi from Saudi Arabia has his book, “Becoming International,” signed at book signing.

Walker adds that once the project was underway, unexpected positive outcomes started to appear for both the students and the teachers.

“The authors were brave. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable. They wrote about personal topics in a language that they had varying degrees of control over,” says Walker. “In the end, the students gained more confidence in their English and became more grounded in this U.S. collegiate environment.”

Huan-Chen Tseng from Taiwan wrote about his feelings of isolation when he first arrived in the United States. “In Taiwan, I am the oldest grandson on both sides of the family, so I have more responsibilities and benefits than the other grandchildren. However, in the United States, I’m just alone,” said Tseng. “I am nobody in the United States because nobody knows me, and I don’t have any friends here.”  During the fall 2017 semester when Tseng was on campus, he made friends and began to adapt to American habits. He acknowledged that this experience would help him in the future.

three people sitting at table

ELI students featured in book, Joakim Olsen (Norway), Yuan Cheng (China), and Amy Walker, ELI instructor, talk to the audience.

Eighteen-year-old Yongbin Yang noted one of the most difficult things about adapting to American culture is learning to be independent and manage his finances. “I came to the U.S., so I can’t rely on my parents anymore,” he wrote. “I need to take care of myself and think about every decision and its consequences. Finances will always be a big problem.” Yang said he can’t always buy things he wants because he has to balance his monthly budget. “But the process of becoming independent makes me feel better. I feel I am growing up.”

In partnership with Syracuse University Libraries, the English Language Institute hosted a book launch in September at Bird Library. Copies of the book are available for purchase on Amazon.

University College Organizes Tree Planting Project to Commemorate 30th Anniversary of Pan Am 103 Bombing

University College has organized a tree planting project with departments across campus to commemorate the 30thanniversary of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Working with Larry Mason, professor of visual communications in the Newhouse School and Syracuse University Remembrance and Lockerbie ambassador, University College responded to Chancellor Kent Syverud’s request that schools and colleges across campus consider initiating a positive project to help commemorate this significant anniversary.

In all, 270 men, women and children died in the terrorist bombing on Dec. 21, 1988. Thirty-five students studying abroad with Syracuse University were among the victims. Thirty-five trees, representing these students, will be planted on South Campus on Friday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The trees are a mix of Autumn Blaze Maples and Sienna Glen Maples. ReLeaf Syracuse, a City of Syracuse initiative, will supply the trees at cost.

A Sienna Glen Maple.

A Sienna Glen Maple.

Members of the planning committee include representatives from Campus Planning, Design and Construction (CPDC), Physical Plant’s (PP) buildings and grounds department, and Energy Systems and Sustainable Management (ESSM).

“This represents a great collaboration between the University and the City of Syracuse,” says Joseph Alfieri, director of CPDC, “and at the same time has significant environmental benefits.”

“The timing of the tree planting project coincides with Campus Sustainability Month [October],” adds Nathan Prior, ESSM director. “Not only will the trees be a living memory for the 35 students lost, the planting will help with the campus’ sustainability goals to mitigate carbon emissions. The trees will convert the carbon dioxide, about 48 pounds per year, into food and growth.”

“When professor Mason came to University College asking us to consider becoming involved in a 30th-annivesary endeavor, we were more than willing to participate,” says Eileen Jevis, communications manager and project coordinator. “So many of us remember that fateful day and the powerful impact it had on our community. What better way to commemorate this anniversary than planting a lasting reminder of those students who died.”

Jevis recounts that when she took the idea to colleagues across campus, it was met with enthusiasm and support. “From the very start, those in CPDC, ESSM and PP buildings and grounds were committed to making this happen,” she says. “Their support and involvment is testiment to our shared belief that this symbolic jesture of longevity, tranquility and life is an appropriate way to memorialize the students.”

Seventy volunteers are needed to help plant the trees. Holes will be pre-dug; however, it is suggested that those willing to help bring along a shovel and pair of gloves. Volunteer registration is online. Volunteers should park in Carriage House lot 161, Farm Acre Road on South Campus. University College will provide lunch at the Skybarn for volunteers and project partners.

For more information, contact Eileen Jevis at 315.443.3527 or

University College Wins Award for 100th-Anniversary Campaign

The marketing team that promotes University College of Syracuse University has won a bronze award in the 2018 University Professional Continuing Education Association’s (UPCEA) Marketing Awards Competition. The awards recognize the best marketing practices and promotional pieces in the field of professional, continuing and online education.

University College’s 100th-Anniversary advertising campaign took bronze in the Interactive Media category. It recognizes the significant achievements of SU’s division of part-time studies, which is celebrating its 100th year of creating opportunities for nontraditional students. The award will be presented at UPCEA’s Annual Marketing and Enrollment Management Seminar in November.

UC was recognized for a multifaceted interactive media campaign that used testimonial-driven promotions to showcase UC’s impact on the lives of part-time students. A testimonial wall installation in the UC lobby at 700 University Ave. features the words of many students and faculty, past and present. A four-minute video features UC alumni sharing individual stories of perseverance, achievement and triumph during their journey to an SU degree, which they all achieved as nontraditional students juggling numerous real-life responsibilities. The video was featured at a gala celebration held on campus Oct. 6 as a fundraiser for the newly established Centennial Scholarship for part-time students.

UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. It provides innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking and timely publications.

University College has been providing access to Syracuse University academic programs and support services to diverse part-time student populations since 1918.

A Record Season for Summer College

Summer College students explore new technologies in the MakerSpace and 3D Printing program.
Summer College students explore new technologies in the MakerSpace and 3D Printing program.

A wave of teenagers swept onto campus this summer, when Syracuse University Summer College for High School Students welcomed more than 600 students from 33 states and 23 foreign countries for the Summer 2018 session. The students, who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school, took part in the pre-college experience which offered more than 35 programs in 10 of Syracuse University’s schools and colleges.  Each program was two to six weeks long.

Waitlists started early for the most popular programs—Sound Engineering and Audio Production, Filmmaking, and Architecture.

Innovative new programs introduced in 2018 included Technology in Sport Management, Art & Craft of Animation, and Cybersecurity: Hack-a-thon Challenge.

Summer College students can take noncredit and credit-bearing programs, and explore areas of interest as they consider future college majors. They also learn independence and time management, as they navigate campus life and complete college-level assignments. “Summer College prepared me to enter college with confidence,” says Regan Talley, who attended Summer College in 2015 and is now a second-year student at Newhouse.

 A Summer College forensics class taught by SU professor Jim Spencer and Beth Burns.
A Summer College forensics class taught by SU professor Jim Spencer and Beth Burns.

Summer College leaves plenty of time for fun and socializing as well as learning. This year’s students flocked to Ernie Davis Fitness center and attended Friday Night Flicks on the Quad. There were Twilight Tours of campus and weekend field trips to Green Lakes State Park, Darien Lake Theme Park, and Niagara Falls. Students enrolled in the Team and Leadership Academy went on a white­water rafting trip in the Adirondacks.

Students who were awarded Summer College scholarships from the Charles Hayden Foundation hosted a Poster Session at Schine Student Center to display work they created in their WRT 104 class. Omar Ramirez enhanced his poster’s impact by performing a rap song he wrote about homelessness. His Summer College writing class tapped into his creative side. “My writing has improved so much,” he said. “This class has taught me to think critically and analytically.”

Joelis Paula found a community of peers at Summer College. “I was so sad to leave,” she said. “I got so close to these people.”

A Gala Event for UC’s Centennial

UC 100 Gala

Photos of Gala Recipients100 years of changing lives is worth celebrating, and we plan to do that in a big way at University College’s 100th Anniversary Gala. The event will take place on Saturday, October 6, 2018 in Schine Student Center, 303 University Place. It will feature a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and dancing to the music of Prime Time.

Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the University College Centennial Fund, which will help UC provide financial aid for tuition, fees, class materials, computers and childcare to support UC students into the future.

A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the University College Lifetime Ambassador Award, which will be given to three very deserving recipients in recognition of their commitment and dedication to lifelong learning. Alexander N. Charters, a world-renowned champion of adult education and dean of University College from 1952 to 1964, will be honored posthumously. Bea González, who served as dean of University College from 2007-2017 and has a long history of professional, political, and community service, is now Syracuse University’s Vice President for Community Engagement. Cindylou Gromny, a beloved administrative assistant at UC, will also be honored posthumously. She spent her entire working life at UC—44 years.

If you would like to attend the Gala, visit here.