A group of high school teachers from Chile spent the month of July learning the English language and American culture courtesy of Troy University.
The University was selected by the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile, to host and teach the Chilean visitors English as a Second Language.
Those participating in the program were high school teachers in a system of schools in Chile run by the National Agriculture Society in Santiago. These schools have the mission of combining contemporary agricultural knowledge and skills with traditional academics.
“This is the third year in a row the National Society has sent a group to us,” said Dr. Curtis Porter, Associate Vice Chancellor for International Affairs. “They spend a relatively short period of time here, studying English four days a week, but also we take them on a series of visits to different places in Alabama and the U.S. We take them to Montgomery to see civil rights memorials and to the beaches of Florida, for example.”
It’s all part of an attempt, Porter said, to show the visitors what American culture and history is all about.
“We’re primarily teaching them about the language, and learning a little about the U.S.,” he said. “It’s kind of a language travel acquaintance thing. They’re very grateful for the opportunity, and our faculty really likes them.”
Porter said the Chilean teachers use the knowledge they learn in the classroom to compliment the hands-on work they do with their students.
“These schools are mostly residential. The kids will spend a portion of each week working in the fields, learning technologies,” Porter said. “These teachers, a lot of them live at the residential schools. They’re very dedicated people who teach and work with the students in the field. They’re among the most dedicated people to education I’ve met in my life.”
TROY’s ESL program serves more than 200 students a year with a staff of seven fulltime teachers, a special language lab and conversation programs with U.S. students, among other features.